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PREVIEW: Regional Rivals Meet for High-Pressure Saturday

PREVIEW: Regional Rivals Meet for High-Pressure Saturday

Austin hosts Laredo with Mid-South chase on the line

LAREDO, Texas – The curtain will raise Saturday in Austin as the pressure in the Mid-South Division will be at a paramount peak with a rematch of the 2013’s Southern Conference Final between the region’s fiercest rivals. Four-time Premier Development League finalist Laredo Heat will seek revenge against the team that eliminated them last season: the defending division, conference and national champion Austin Aztex.

The match will kick off at 7:30 p.m. and be live streamed by the home-team Aztex at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PnwmF6AJZg.

After a heartbreaking 1-0 fourth round elimination from the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup by way of Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo on Wednesday, the Heat (2-1-2, 8 points) will now shift their focus entirely to the Mid-South Division. They lead the Mississippi Brilla on goal differential and trail the Aztex (5-0-1, 16 points).

The unbeaten Aztex were last defeated by the Heat on July 3, 2013 by a 1-0 scoreline in Laredo. Since the Aztex joined the PDL in 2012, they barely edge the Heat in head-to-head matchups (4-3) in the regular season.

Both sides offer more similarities than differences, through their primarily possession-based and oft-attacking offenses. The opposing backlines lay the foundation for those precision passes by coolly evicting the ball from oncoming strikeforces. All in all, Laredo and Austin rank Nos. 2 and 3 in the PDL, respectively, in goals allowed.

Laredo’s 20-year-old goalkeeper Jorge Ortega mans the net in front of the league’s best goal-preventing team, seeing just a pair of goals bulge the net. Both goals came against the Houston Dutch Lions, while Ortega ranks 12th in the PDL with two shutouts – he’d have three if he weren’t substituted out of the Heat’s 4-0 thumping of Houston on June 3.

Austin offers a near-duplicate keeper in Devin Perales, a student-athlete at Coastal Carolina University. He’s featured in all five victories for the Aztex, allowing just three goals.

Team play and scarce goals appear to be in order as the chase for the Mid-South crown and the division’s two playoff spots will steepen depending on Saturday’s result. If Laredo claims all three points, it will leapfrog Midland-Odessa Sockers FC (3-3-1, 10 points) for second place; if Austin wins, it will accelerate to nine points clear with seven matches to play. A draw won’t change the standings, other than adding a point apiece to each team’s total.

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.

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.