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RECAP: Hernandez’s Brace Boosts Heat to Home Victory

RECAP: Hernandez’s Brace Boosts Heat to Home Victory

Laredo edges Mississippi with pair of 2nd half strikes

LAREDO, Texas – With their postseason hopes hanging before them, the Laredo Heat hosted the Mississippi Brilla at the Texas A&M International Soccer Complex on Thursday night with hopes of avenging a 2-1 loss on July 5 in Clinton, Miss. Heat do-it-all dynamo Yair Hernandez bookended the scoresheet with a brace in the 3-2 victory, scoring in the 44th and 73th minutes.

After dropping behind in just the 35th minute to Mississippi (3-6-3, 12 points), Hernandez produced perfection off his left boot in the 44th for the equalizer. After settling a wild rebound just two yards outside the 18-yard box and right of center, Hernandez cut one touch toward goal and bent a beaut over the sprawling hands of Brilla goalkeeper Addison Watson. Irving Villanueva entered as a substitute in the 63rd minute before a stretch of three Heat corner kicks, shattering the 1-all match with a rocket in the 68th minute.

Hernandez completed his brace just five minutes later, in the 73rd minute, with a right-footed rocket from the right edge of the 18-yard box. Hernandez has featured in every outfield position for the Heat (5-4-3, 18 points) through different points of the season, but the most impressive aspect of his performance on Thursday was that he found the net despite manning a backline position.

The Brilla opened the scoring just after the half hour mark when Stephen Robertson was found streaking into the Heat’s penalty box between the center halves. He took one deft touch before slotting his shot under Heat keeper Jorge Ortega. The Brilla’s final goal came in garbage time, in the second of four added minutes beyond the 90. Leonard Smith III struck from 15 yards out, just right of the penalty spot.

With the victory, the Heat maintain their outside-looking-in pace in the Mid-South Division. With only the top two Mid-South teams qualifying for the Southern Conference tournament, the Heat sit just two points behind the Midland-Odessa Sockers and 13 behind the already clinched Austin Aztex. The Aztex host the Sockers on Friday in a pivotal match that will affect the final markings. If the Heat win their final two matches – against the Brilla on Saturday and at the Houston Dutch Lions next week – they have a chance to finish with 24 points on the season. The Sockers would finish with 26 points if they win out, while a win and a draw could knot Laredo and Midland-Odessa at 24 points.

In the case of a points tie, the Premier Development League’s tiebreakers follow head-to-head records between the tied teams, followed by amount of wins and finally goal differential. If the Heat and Sockers tie, Laredo would advance via a 1-0-1 record against Midland-Odessa.

The Heat have never failed to qualify for a postseason in nearly a decade, and will continue their push toward the 2014 tournament with their home finale against the Brilla on Saturday at 8 p.m. The match will be live streamed at www.YouTube.com/LaredoHeatSC.

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.