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RECAP: Heat Steal Crucial 3 Points At Austin

RECAP: Heat Steal Crucial 3 Points At Austin

Laredo Dishes Aztex 2nd Loss in 2 Years

AUSTIN, Texas – With the 2014 Mid-South Division teetering  and tangled in a three-team race, the third place Laredo Heat and the first place defending Premier Development League champion Austin Aztex met in Austin on Saturday. The Heat, needing three points and a moral-inflating road victory, delivered the Aztex just their first loss of the season with a 1-0 result. Salvador “Chava” Luna netted his third goal in as many matches with a beautifully played breakaway, keeping his composure to bury the rebound after Austin made the initial save.

 

The Heat are the only team to beat the Aztex since 2013, having done so in Laredo on July 3, 2013, with an identical score line and on Saturday.

The match began with Austin dominating possession until about the 10th minute, when Laredo found its footing and created chances of its own. The match appeared stacked against the Heat as Luna was dealt a yellow card 45 seconds into the match for a retaliatory tackle, and a 17th minute Felix Garcia chipping of Aztex keeper Devin Perales was disallowed and ruled offsides.

But Luna pushed the Heat ahead in the 39th minute as he broke beyond the Austin backline, facing a 1-on-1 with Perales. With two center backs on his heels and Perales spread in front of him, Luna launched his strike from 20 yards out. Perales gloved the save, but the ball ricocheted into Luna’s forward run, primed for his tranquil tap in.

With the Heat ahead, the match turned physical, as the Heat had to substitute their captain out of the match twice. Starting captain Greg Mulamba entered the match off a tender ankle, and a 50th minute tackle from behind was too much for him as Irving Villanueva replaced him. He passed the armband to Juan de Dios Ibarra, who was removed in the 70th minute after receiving a soft yellow card. Yair Hernandez finished the final 20 minutes with the armband.

The Heat nearly doubled their advantage in the 88th and 94th minutes when late substitute Esteban Bayona’s 1-on-1 challenges versus Perales both went for the wanting.

After Saturday, the Aztex (7-1-1, 22 points) still lead the Mid-South, clearing the second place Midland-Odessa Sockers (5-3-2, 17 points) by an intimidating margin. Only the division’s top two finishers qualify for the Southern Conference playoffs, a tournament the Heat have never failed to appear in since 2005. But the Heat (4-2-3, 15 points) can overtake second place with a win at home on Tuesday against Austin and dropped points by the Sockers – who play on Sunday.

Since Austin joined the league in 2012, the Heat have offered the most challenges, with a 4-0-5 head-to-head record and a minus-3 goal differential – as both teams claimed the division crown since then. With Austin departing in 2015 for the United Soccer League’s Professional Division after this season, both state powers will look for the edge in the rivalry on Tuesday.

Laredo remains just two points behind the Sockers – albeit with a game in hand.

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.