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RECAP: Heat Pull Even In 2nd Place With 2-0 Win

RECAP: Heat Pull Even In 2nd Place With 2-0 Win

Laredo beats Mississippi for second time in three days

LAREDO, Texas – The Laredo Heat closed their 2014 home season with a touch of first-half flair, defeating the Mississippi Brilla, 2-0, at the Texas A&M International University Soccer Complex. With the victory, the Heat re-enter the Mid-South Division’s postseason qualification position, holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Midland-Odessa Sockers with each team facing the Houston Dutch Lions in their respective season finales.

Forward Felix Garcia and midfielder Miguel Fernandez both bulged the net in the first 45 minutes on Saturday, while goalkeeper Jorge Ortega and his backline clinched the cleansheet in the rubber match between the two teams. The Brilla and Heat split the season series before Saturday’s match, with the home teams standing victorious in each affair.

The Heat (6-4-3, 21 points) control their playoff destiny, securing qualification if they win at Houston on July 19. The Heat will also qualify if the Sockers lose at Houston on Sunday night with the Heat’s regular season finale holding no consequences. If both teams draw, Laredo qualifies by again holding the tiebreaker. If the Heat fall in their finale and the Sockers win or draw, then Laredo would be left out of the postseason for the first time in its decade-long existence.

Against the Brilla (3-7-3, 12 points) on Saturday, Laredo opened with an onslaught on goal as Garcia tried chipping Brilla goalkeeper Carl Blundell but floating it over the crossbar. Blundell made two saves in the first 11 minutes of the match, but Garcia finally finished a chance for the early lead in just the 16th minute.

Joao Monteiro blazed the left touchline and delivered a skipping cross to the near post, where Garcia flicked it into the nylon for his fourth goal of the season. He nearly nailed a brace in the 33rd minute, but saw the strike sail inches over the crossbar again. Garcia later sustained an ankle injury that forced his removal from the match in the 58th minute.

In the 42nd minute, the Brilla fouled Heat left back Frank Lara just outside the 18-yard box and slightly left of center – creating a tantalizing free kick within striking range. Lara stood over the ball, but rather than launching a left-footed laser, he laid off an alternate-angle ball for Fernandez – who sent a right-footed strike inside the far post from about 20 yards.

With the 2-0 advantage at home, Laredo increased its pressure throughout the final 45 minutes. The Heat peppered Blundell with nine of their 15 total shots in the second half, forcing three of his five saves. If not for the high activity of the assistant referee and his six second-half offside stoppages, Blundell may have faced more.

The Heat will close their season at Houston on July 19 with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. That match will be streamed live on YouTube at www.YouTube.com/LaredoHeatSC.

The Southern Conference Championship will be played at the Austin Aztex’s House Park on July 25-26 with the Mid-South champion Aztex facing the Southeast Division’s second place finisher, while the Heat – if they qualify – would face the Southeast champion. The Ocala Stampede (8-1-2, 26 points) currently sit atop the Southeast table with a game in hand over the Southwest Florida Adrenaline (6-2-4, 22 points). The Adrenaline have one match remaining while Ocala has two.

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.