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Heat shut out in New Mexico

Heat shut out in New Mexico

2-0 final score

By Zach Smith
Laredo Morning Times

The 750-mile drive from Laredo to Albuquerque seemed to take all the wind out of the  sails  of the Heat on Thursday night as they fell 2-0 on the road to Albuquerque.

The Sol scored 12 minutes into the game  and  doubled the score just after the half hour mark by outrunning the back line. Laredo, meanwhile, had just three good chances on goal — two coming fromKean Lewis in his Heat debut.

Despite the loss, Laredo (4-4-2, 3-2-2 Mid-South) is still on top of the USL PDL Mid-South standings, one point ahead of Midland. But the Sockers have one less loss and tie sitting at 3-1-1 in the division.
 
The Sol (7-1-1) put in across from the left corner and the Laredo back line couldn’t handle the clearance. Albuquerque capitalized on a sitter from the top of the box to take the early lead at the 12-minute mark. They continued to work the leftside of the field and put in four more crosses which the Heat dealt with.

For the majority of the first half, Laredo couldn’t complete any combination of passes to get into a solid attacking position. Forward Dan Johns got free in the 18th minute but fell down and at the beginning of the attacking third.

After a short sprinkler delay midway though the half, the Sol sprinted past the Heat defenders on the wet grass and squared a ball in front of the net for the open one-timer to double the score.

After scoring four goals against Houston last week and earning PDL Player of the Week honors, Johns was non-existent throughout the first half. He was subbed out before the halftime whistle blew and made way for another Heat debutant, Beto Godinez, in the 41st minute. Lewis had the best chance of the game for Laredo just before the break when he went one on-one with the Albuquerque keeper only to see his shot roll just wide.

Right out of the gate in the second half, Albuquerque had a wide-open goal after Ortega came out to defend but the shot sailed just wide. The Sol continued to press the Heat defense and could’ve had another goal if it weren’t for a first touch that was too hard.

Jose Ortega, who saved two penalty kicks this season, made another big save to keep it a two-goal game with 20 minutes left. Albuquerque won a corner and got a head on the  ball in the middle of the box but the Laredo keeper dove to save the shot that was headed upper 90.

Albuquerque continued to press even in the final moments of the game. In the last three minutes, the Sol had three offside calls, drew a foul from just outside the box and missed a shot from right in front of the net.

The biggest positive to come out of the game for the Heat was Lewis.

When he had time, he didn’t hesitate to take on two or three Albuquerque defenders at a time.

Chuy Cortes and Leon Taylor showed flashes of what they’ve done over the first half of the season but the three never linked up in the final third.

Laredo will try to get back in the win column when they wrap up a sevengame road trip against the Sockers Saturday night before finishing the season with five straight games at home.

Follow @Zach_Smith_ on Twitter for the latest updates on the Heat and other local sports.

Email: ZSmith@LMTOnline.com