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RECAP: Fernandez’s Brace Shoots Laredo into Postseason

RECAP: Fernandez’s Brace Shoots Laredo into Postseason

Heat qualify for 10th playoffs with 3-1 victory at Houston

CONROE, Texas – The Heat entered their Premier Development League season finale with everything on the line, eventually closing the campaign with a 3-1 victory at the Houston Dutch Lions. The Heat needed all three points to tie the Midland-Odessa Sockers with 24 points on the season. With the win, Laredo took ownership of the deciding tiebreaker by holding the head-to-head advantage over the Sockers after winning a drawing the season series.

With the Heat’s qualification, they continue their majestic run of making the Southern Conference Championship in all 10 of the Heat’s eligibility.

Laredo (7-4-3, 24 points) kept things exciting in a swirling and wide open match. The Dutch Lions opened the score sheet in the 33rd minute when Rimario Gordon looped a low cross to a backward-falling Joe Jackson, who left footed the ball beyond a diving Heat goalkeeper and inside the far post.

Laredo responded immediately, with a similar strike in the 36th minute. A sliding Miguel Fernandez spun off his initial shot and a collision with Houston keeper Charles Schober – who made the quick save. The rebound found Fernandez’s forehead and eventually the back of the net. Schober remained on the ground for several minutes after the collision, suffering a dislocated shoulder from the 50-50 battle with Fernandez.

As the half ended in a knot, but the second began with its unraveling. Just seven minutes into the second half, Laredo’s Joao Monteiro rushed into the left side of the 18-yard box, near the corner flag, and was immediately roughed to the floor by Houston’s Jonathan Segovia. The clear penalty put Fernandez 12 yards from goal with his ball on the spot and a brace in front of him. He buried the ball past Jackson – who replaced the injured Schober in goal – into the top-left corner of the net.

Fernandez’s strike was his fourth of the season, tying him with Salvador “Chava” Luna for the team lead – but only at that moment. Luna, a 46th minute substitute, finished the match off with his fifth goal in six matches in the 73rd minute. He took on the entire Dutch Lions defensive half with a blistering run through the middle of the pitch. Second-half entrant Irving Villanueva fed him a well-weighted ball from the center circle and Luna did the rest to blitz Jackson and slot his strike.

With the victory, the Heat must now look toward the Southeast Conference-winning Ocala Stampede in the Southern Conference semifinals. Laredo will face Ocala (9-1-3, 30 points) at 5 p.m. on July 26 in Austin, as the Mid-South champion Aztex host the conference tournament and the Southwest Florida Adrenaline immediately following the Laredo-Ocala match. The two semifinal winners will then face off on July 27 to qualify for the PDL Championship the following weekend – with its location and times to be determined.

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.


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