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Slow Start May Not Be So Concerning

Slow Start May Not Be So Concerning

Laredo’s 1-1-1 season may offer sense of déjà vu

LAREDO, Texas – Through three Premier Development League games, the Laredo Heat are in a familiar but threatening position. With a loss and draw against the Houston Dutch Lions and a victory over the Midland-Odessa Sockers, the Heat find themselves 1-1-1 (4 points) and behind both the defending national champion Austin Aztex (3-0-0, 9 points) and the Mississippi Brilla (2-1-0, 6 points) in the Mid-South Division table.

As strange as it may feel for the Heat and their supporters alike, it’s a spot Laredo has succeeded from before in it’s sparkling 10 year history. For a team that’s never missed a playoff qualification in the Mid-South, the Heat kicked off their Southern Conference finalist 2013 season much the same. Last year – a season that saw Laredo finish second in the division before eventually falling to the Aztex in the national quarterfinals – the Heat drew Houston, beat Midland-Odessa and fell to Austin, respectively.

Adding to the eeriness, the results were exactly the same then too. The season opener was a 1-all knot; the Heat downed the Sockers 2-0; and the third affair was a 1-0 edging that could have crumbled for either team.

Laredo went unbeaten in 11 of 14 matches the rest of the way, including the postseason, with a plus-16 goal differential and the only loss the Aztex suffered all season. Six of those 11 were defensive shutouts and clean sheets for Laredo.

Although the Heat’s 2014 personnel is much different, the situation is the same. A new goalkeeper in Jorge Ortega and his all-new backline of collegiate teammates Matthieu Braem and Kaique Fernandes have yet to buckle – allowing just one run-of-play goal and one set piece strike.

But for the defensive dominance to  shine, the Heat’s point of attack must finish inside the net. Through the trio of season-starting matches, Laredo’s applied 43 shots on target, but just three have bulged opponent’s nets. Esteban Bayona, a Colombian-born striker formerly of the San Antonio Scorpions, leads the team with a pair of goals – one off a penalty conversion.

The Heat will take a break from league action this week to participate in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup – a national tournament similar to Spain’s Copa Del Rey or England’s Football Association Cup.

The Heat next travel to face the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League – a second-tier fully professional division. The match is the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, a domestic tournament featuring the U.S. Soccer Federation’s five tiers of amateur and professional soccer.

The winner will face an opportunity against Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo on June 8.

The match will be streamed live and for free at www.YouTube.com/LaredoHeatSC at 6:40 p.m.

The Heat’s next home and PDL match will be May 31 against the Albuquerque Sol at the Texas A&M International Soccer Complex. The match kicks off at 8 p.m.

Each home game 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.

Mid South Division

Pts

GP

W

L

T

GF

Austin Aztex  

9

3

3

0

0

12

Mississippi Brilla  

6

3

2

1

0

4

Laredo Heat  

4

3

1

1

1

3

Houston Dutch Lions  

4

4

1

2

1

2

Midland/Odessa Sockers FC  

3

3

1

2

0

3

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.