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Heat breaks losing streak

Heat breaks losing streak

Beat Houston 3-1

By Zach Smith Laredo Morning Times

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

Email: ZSmith@LMTOnline.com

Editor's note: This story is available in full due to the game ending at press time.

Alex Mullet could barely remember how many goals he’s scored in his career.

“More than 10 but less than 20 or so,” he said after the Heat beat Houston 3-1 in the penultimate game of the season Tuesday night.

Mullet — listed as a defender on the official Heat roster — scored the game-winning goal in Laredo’s win, helping to snap a five-game losing streak of a team not headed to the playoffs for the first time in 11 years.

The win gives Laredo (4-7-2, 14 points) a four-point cushion over the Dutch Lions (3-7-1, 10) for third place in the Mid-South division of the USL PDL with one game left in the regular season. Both teams finish the season against division-leading Midland (6-3-3, 21).

“I’m more of a get down the line and cross the ball (player), but occasionally I like to get in and take a shot on goal,” Mullet said. “It feels really good to be back on the attacking side. We are all on the same page, want to play for pride and want to leave a good taste in our fans mouth.”

And that’s exactly what they did.

Frank Lara was fouled on the left flank four minutes in before Miguel Alvarado swung in a perfect cross that found Lara’s head on the far post. It was the first goal of the season for the LBJ graduate and just his second in the last three years with the Heat.

Alvarado earned his second assist of the game when he took a corner in the 23rd minute that hit Mullet’s thigh and went into the net. A cheeky give-and-go between Jonathan Canales and United graduate Giovanni Macias 10 minutes later nearly gave the Heat a three-goal lead but Macias sent the shot wide left.

Houston used the counter to capitalize the most in the first 45 minutes. After defender Adam Butler slipped, Houston was 2-on-1 with Laredo goalkeeper Jose Ortega but the shot was sent high.

With defender Luis Garcia on the sideline getting treatment after a hard foul, Ortega was forced off his line to punch away a Dutch Lions shot. Houston’s Jorge Contreras took advantage of the man advantage and was there with the quick rebound that deflected in the net and cut the score in half just before the break.

Lara completed his brace with his second goal of the match in the 67th minute when he let loose a screamer from outside the box that beat the diving Houston keeper and put the game out of reach.

“It’s one of those goals that I’ll always remember,” Lara said. “Scoring goals always feels good, but more importantly to get a victory for the fans, it feels good to give them something to celebrate. We talked about ending the season with a bang, and it’s not over yet, but it’s a good feeling to score some goals.”

He nearly repaid the favor after a cross to Alvarado in front of a wide open net in the final minute of the game. Alvarado poked the ball past the Dutch Lions’ keeper but the play was called offsides.

“I was going to shoot to be honest,” Lara said. “Then I saw him and he yelled and I played him the ball. It went in but they called (Miguel) offsides. I wanted to get him on the scoresheet because he played a great game.”

But Laredo didn’t stop pressing. Second-half substitute Jose Soto tried an impressive bicycle kick at the penalty spot that rattled off the crossbar one minute later. In total, the Heat outshot the Dutch Lions 19-10 and had more corner kicks (six) than Houston had first half shots (five).

Mullet started for the second straight time at forward and led Laredo with seven shots in the game. Alvarado’s pair of assists were the most by a Heat player in an outing this season. Compared to the 33 fouls in the last game between these teams, there were 14 called in 90 minutes this time around.

The Heat finish the season up at home against Midland Thursday at 8 p.m. The Sockers have outscored the Heat 10-0 this season and are undefeated in three games against Laredo.

It was the first win Laredo has gotten at home in six games this season, and Lara said it was by far the most fun game of the season so far.

“It was a high intensity game with goals and a win for us,” he said. “Starting the game, our mentality was enjoy it. Enjoy the fact that God has given us the ability and health to be able to play. That was our goal, to enjoy it and have fun.”