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RECAP: Heat Open Season With Draw

Photos by Kiara Riojas | Laredo Heat SC
Photos by Kiara Riojas | Laredo Heat SC

Laredo, Houston finish in 1-all draw

LAREDO, Texas – The Laredo Heat (0-0-1, 1 point) opened their Premier Development League campaign on Saturday at the Texas A&M International Soccer Complex by hosting the Houston Dutch Lions (0-1-1, 1 point). The match ended with both teams claiming a point via the 1-all draw.

The result deals the Heat a sense of déjà vu, after the teams recorded the exact same result in the 2013 season opener – also in Laredo. The Heat went on to finish second in the Mid-South Division – for only the fourth time in nine eligible seasons – before ending the season in the PDL Southern Conference Finals.

“We knew exactly how the Dutch Lions were going to come in and play – the same defensive game they always do,” Heat captain and midfielder Juan de Dios Ibarra said. “They came in looking for any mistakes we could make, hoping to capitalize our attacks with any counter attacks.

“That’s what happened, and we equalized but couldn’t break their defense for a winner.”

The Heat fell behind after a 14th-minute Lukas Simon strike beat Heat goalkeeper Jorge Ortega. It was Simon’s first goal of the season after the Dutch Lions fell, 5-0, to the Austin Aztex (2-0-0, 6 points) on May 10 in Austin.

The midfielder scored after a botched clearance from the Heat saw Cameron Free send a cross-box through ball to Enrique Gonzalez at the baseline – registering an assist. He headed a ball toward Simon, who volleyed it off the gloves of Ortega.

The Heat launched five first-half shots toward former Houston keeper Emmanuel “Bebo” Frias – who played for the Heat from 2011-13. Laredo peppered Frias and Houston with 12 total shots, forcing Frias into seven saves.

There was one shot – a penalty kick conversion – in the 45th minute the Frias couldn’t stop. Heat forward Esteban Bayona scored in his return to the Heat after two professional seasons with the North American Soccer League’s San Antonio Scorpions. He converted the PK after Heat newcomer Matthieu Braem was manhandled inside the Dutch Lions’ 18-yard box.

“I’ve played with Bebo (in 2011),” Bayona said. “I know his tendencies and how he plays. He’s a very high-quality keeper, so I knew I needed to go hard and low on the PK.

“It worked for the goal, but in the end, one goal wasn’t enough.”

Neither team could break the knot through the second half, although Bayona and forward Miguel Fernandez produced a pair of disallowed goals – ruled offsides.

The Heat’s Ortega finished with just one save as the Dutch Lions scarcely tested the 20-year-old Monterrey-native.

Laredo will next face the Midland-Odessa Sockers (0-1-0, 0 points) on May 21 at 8 p.m. at the TAMIU Soccer Complex, with both teams still in search of their first PDL victories. The Heat advanced to the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a 2-1 victory over Red Force FC on May 14.

Each home game – both in the Open Cup and the PDL – will see the Heat offer four fans a chance at winning $500. If the randomly selected fans can bury an undefended penalty kick at halftime, they will win $400 for themselves and $100 to the evening’s selected benefactor.

About the PDL

The top developmental men’s league in North America, the 2014 PDL featured 64 teams within four conferences throughout the United States and Canada. The PDL season consists of 14 regular season matches for each team, seven home and seven away, and provides elite collegiate players the opportunity to taste a higher level of competition while maintaining their eligibility. In addition to league play, PDL teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various exhibitions. The PDL has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top professionals now playing throughout the world.

 

For additional information on the tryouts, sponsorship opportunities, tickets, the Heat Club Card and the Laredo Heat Soccer Club, please contact the Heat Front Office at (956) 723 – 4700; visit our website at www.laredoheatsc.com , LIKE us on Facebook www.facebook.com/laredoheatsoccer or Follow Us on Twitter @LaredoHeatSC.