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Heat ties second game

Heat ties second game

Mississippi comes from behind to take 1 point

By Zach Smith

Laredo Morning Times


Sometimes a draw can seem like a loss, and that was the feeling Monday for the Laredo Heat as they tied the Mississippi Brilla 2-2 in their first full game of the PDL season.

Leon Taylor scored the first goal 10 minutes before halftime and Martin Moreno doubled the score with a lucky goal in the second half.

Then the Heat took their foot off the gas pedal and Mississippi answered with a pair a goals, including one 10 minutes from the final whistle, to secure the draw.

“We started not playing our game,” midfielder Francisco Lara said. “We kind of backed away from the intensity that we started with and let them get back in it. We let go of the chances that we had one-on-one with the keeper two times.”

The tie means the Heat and Brilla are tied for second place early on in the Mid-South division, four points behind the undefeated Midland/Odessa Sockers.

The first game of the series ended 0-0 after 45 minutes Saturday night due to lightning and pouring rain.

Even before the game started, it was clear Laredo was going all out on the attack. Strikers Salvador Luna and Leon Taylor both made their first starts of the season in place of midfielders Chuy Cortes and Angel Hernandez. The Heat also came out in a 4-3-3 formation rather than their usual 4-4-2.

It didn’t take long for the fresh blood to have an impact. Martin Moreno played a beautiful ball to Luna just outside of the box eight minutes in, but his shot was saved by a diving Mississippi keeper. Taylor collected the rebound in front of the net and sent a shot over the bar.

A couple minutes later Adam Butler was shown a yellow card for a hard foul on a Mississippi player. Pushing and shoving soon followed and the Brilla also picked up a caution after arguing the play. Jose Soto showed some speed midway through the period when he raced past the Brilla center back and forced the goalkeeper to make a diving save near post.

It took more than 30 min utes for Mississippi to get its first good chance on goal, but captain Yair Hernandez made quick work of former Chicago Fire homegrown player and U.S. U-17 prospect Kellen Gulley.

Taylor snuck in past the Brilla back line and smoothly put away the goal, the first from the run of play in four games this season for the Heat. He also scored the game-clinching penalty in Laredo’s season opening U.S. Open Cup win against NTX Rayados.

“The midfield does a good job of seeing balls in, and (head coach) Danny (Galvan) tells the front three to keep attacking and eventu- ally they’ll find you,” Taylor said. “I’d been making runs the whole half and wasn’t getting fouled. And then I got fouled and scored the goal.”

Taylor was a force to be reckoned with all game. His goal came from the right side of the box, but he spent most of the game playing down the left hand side.

Even getting back on defense, he was determined to not let Mississippi take advantage on the counter.

Five minutes into the second half, Moreno sent a ball forward. His shot took anawkward bounce over the Mississippi goalkeeper ’shead and rolled into the net for what would be the game-wining goal.

“It tends to happen when the pitch is a little wet. The keeper doesn’t always read the bounce well,” Lara said.

“That speaks of what we have to work on becauseour goals want to come from the mistakes that they’re making. We can’t rely on those situations.”

Gulley was one-on-one with Heat goalkeeper Jorge Ortega after a nifty move to get around Butler and Hernandez in the center of the defense, but Ortega made himself big and pushed the shot wide.

Mississippi pulled one back less than 10 minutes later when Eduardo Cruz based a shot from close range into the top of the net. The Laredo players looked for an offsides call to no avail.

Laredo continued to push the envelope after Mississippi scored a goal, bringing on attacking midfielders Juan Ibarra and Chuy Cortes. But the Brilla started to press for an equalizer with 20 minutes left, and the Heat adjusted by putting 10 men behind the ball.

Mississippi capitalized on the counter, and Ortega was there again to save a close shot near post. But he didn’t hold on to the ball and it popped out in the middle of the box giving Mississippi’s Luis Tombini an easy tap-in to tie the game.

The Heat had two golden chances in the last 10 minutes of the game. Taylor sent a dangerous free kick from just outside the 18-yard-box just over the bar, and Cortes couldn’t finish a chance from the right side.

Laredo will now go on a one month, seven-game road trip beginning with a game against division leaders Midland/Odessa Sockers on May 30 before finishing the season with five straight games at the TAMIU Soccer Complex.

“On and off the pitch, we’re becoming closer,” Lara said. “On the pitch, we’re understanding each other a lot more. But it’s going tocome with the season. It’s kind of hard to get a team chemistry in two months, but it’s coming along.”

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Email: ZSmtih@LMTOnline.com