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PREVIEW: Heat Control Own Postseason Destiny in Home Stretch

PREVIEW: Heat Control Own Postseason Destiny in Home Stretch

Home finale vs. Brilla carries Southern Conference implications

LAREDO, Texas – The Laredo Heat’s postseason campaign began three matches earlier than expected, starting with Thursday’s 3-2 whiplashing victory over the Mississippi Brilla. Sitting three points behind the second place Midland-Odessa Sockers – and the Mid-South Division’s final Southern Conference tournament’s qualifying position – the Heat (5-4-3, 18 points) face a rematch with Mississippi on Saturday at 8 p.m. in their final home match at the Texas A&M International University Soccer Complex.

The Heat and Brilla (3-6-3, 12 points) have split their home-and-away series thus far this season with both matches decided by one goal – both coming after the 70th minute. In Clinton, Miss., on July 5, the Brilla edged Laredo, 2-1, with the deciding goal coming by way of a late-game penalty kick conversion. In Laredo on Thursday, Yair Hernandez braced the Heat to a 3-2 victory.

The rubber match at TAMIU is sure to feature the open attacking style seen in the teams’ previous two matches. Other than Hernandez’s brace, the matchup’s six combined goals were scored by six different players. For Laredo, Irving Villanueva scored just seconds after entering as a substitute on Thursday and Rafael Ferreira conjured a moment of magic with an equalizing volley in the 5th minute on July 5.

Mississippi’s Tom Gavin, Leonard Smith III, Phillip Buffington and Stephen Robertson each scored a goal apiece in the previous matchups.    

With Thursday’s victory, the Heat maintain their outside-looking-in pace in the Mid-South. With only the top two Mid-South teams qualifying for the Southern Conference tournament, the Heat sit three points behind the Sockers and 13 behind the already clinched Austin Aztex. The Aztex hosted the Sockers on Friday in a pivotal match that went final with a dramatic 2-2 scoreline. 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 a maximum of 24 points if they win their final match – also against the Dutch Lions.

In the case of a points tie at 24 points, the Premier Development League’s tiebreakers follow head-to-head records between the tied teams, then by the highest 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.