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Heat ends run

Heat ends run

Loses in Southern Conference final

By ADAM GEIGERMAN
LAREDO  MORNING  TIMES

AUSTIN — In the Laredo Heat’s nine consecutive ventures into the Premier Development League postseason tournament, it has seen the ball bounce both in their favor and in the opposition’s.

Since 2007, Laredo has spilt wins and losses in penalty shootouts, winning in win-or-go-home matches that went that far in both 2007 – for a national championship – and in 2011 in a conference match.

It fell in a national title match in 2008 and again in a conference match in 2010.

Things didn’t advance as far as a shootout on Saturday in Austin, but the Heat did see seemingly every bounce float against them in the 2-0 loss to the Austin Aztex in the Southern Conference Championship final.

Sito Seoane and Khiry Shelton were the two goal scorers for the Aztex, scoring in the 25th and 86th minutes, respectively.

Laredo, a team that plays all its home matches on natural grass, never appeared to wrangle in its possession on the Aztex artificial- turf pitch. Outside of the match’s opening 15 minutes, Laredo was chasing the ball as it flicked from Aztex foot to Aztex foot.

Austin outperformed Laredo in virtually every statistical category – except fouls, which Laredo led by an 8-2 tally – through the first half.

In that initial 45 minutes, Austin peppered Laredo goalkeeper Emmanuel Frias with seven shots and four corner kicks. Laredo opposed that with six shots but no corner kicks.

It was Austin’s fourth shot of the first half that mattered most. Seoane was put in for the goal after Frias was pulled off his line by Shelton. As Shelton streaked down the far touchline, he fed a low cross to Seoane seconds before Frias arrived; all Seoane had to do was redirect his shot into Frias’ net for the eventual game winner in the 25th minute.

The second half began much as the first half ended for Laredo, with the referee’s whistle blowing constantly and frustration mounting.

Less than 90 seconds after the start of the final 45, Laredo’s Yair Hernandez was cautioned for dissent and Felipe de Souza was yellow carded six minutes later.

Seoane was cautioned in the 52 minute as well. Austin pounded the final nail in Laredo’s 2013 season with an 86th minute net bulger by Shelton off an in-stride feeding via Tucker Hume’s boot. Frias had no chance for a save in the 1-on-1.

The match ended with Laredo shooting 13 times, committing 18 fouls, winning no corner kicks and Frias made two saves.

Austin assaulted Laredo with 10 shots, 10 fouls, seven corner kicks and goalkeeper Devin Cook made no saves.

Laredo finishes its season 9-3-4 (28 points) after defeating the Southeast Division’s Ocala Stampede in the conference semifinal round on Friday night. Laredo won 2-0 in that match.

Austin heads into the PDL Final Four at 13-1-2 (35 points), advancing that far for the first time in its short two-year existence. Details for the PDL Final Four will be announced as early as Monday, including site, times and fixtures.

A record 2,673 spectators – including several hundred Heat supporters packed House Park, a venue typically filled for Austin ISD high school football.