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Similarities Stack Up Between Heat, Dynamo

Similarities Stack Up Between Heat, Dynamo

Houston boasts attacking tactics kin to Laredo’s

LAREDO, Texas – The Laredo Heat’s next opponent in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup avoids all clichés, except one: David versus Goliath. Laredo will line up and kick off against history in the form of the Houston Dynamo on June 11 in Houston for a fourth round Lamar Hunt U.S. Open cup match at 9 p.m.

The Dynamo compete in Major League Soccer, the nation’s highest level of professional soccer, featuring a lineup with world-class athletes like Brad Davis (USA) and Boniek Garcia (Honduras) – who are headed to the FIFA World Cup. The Heat are a fourth-tier development team with just five former professionals on the 23-man team sheet.

The Dynamo boast a 2014 salary of more than $3.2 million; The Heat are made up of primarily NCAA – only one currently at the Division I level – and other collegiate level athletes, receiving a $500 housing and food stipend each month.

Houston has appeared in four MLS Cup finals, going 2-2, and have advanced as far as the Open Cup semifinals. Laredo, nor any other Premier Development League side, have ever advanced beyond the fourth round in the domestic cup.

Those are just the differences; the competitor’s similarities are significantly more staggering.

Houston (5-9-2, 16 points) sits sixth in the Eastern Conference, having left goals for the wanting – blasting 65 shots on goal in just 16 matches with only a goal per game to show for it. The Dynamo have dominated possession as well, especially in their last contest, a 2-0 defeat to the defending MLS champion Sporting Kansas City on June 6. In that match alone, Houston held the ball for nearly 70 percent of the time (66.9).

The Dynamo completed 82 percent of their passes – including 70 percent in their opponent’s half and 68 percent inside the final third of the pitch. They won the corner kick battle (7-3), tackles (13-7) and 50-50 ball duels (57-48) against Kansas City, but failed where it counts – in the back of the net.

If those numbers were presented without a team affiliation, one could safely guess that they belong to the Heat. Through five matches, Laredo just clawed from fourth place to second in the Mid-South Division table with a 2-1-2 (8 points). They lead the Mississippi Brilla (2-2-2, 8 points) on a plus-5 goal differential.

But until recently – as recent as June 3, in fact – the Heat have constructed an abundance of scoring chances, minus the scoring. Before hanging a 4-0 defeat on the Houston Dutch Lions on June 3, Laredo had peppered opponents with 54 shots in four games, with only three ruffling the net.

The scoring scarcity was oversaturated in that breakthrough 4-strike success, as homegrown forward Felix Garcia braced his way to his first two goals. Last season’s scoring leader, team captain Juan de Dios Ibarra, broke through as well.

The Heat will need a performance of almost perfect quality by both Garcia and Ibarra to dispel the Dynamo, but it isn’t impossible. The Dynamo failed to qualify beyond the fourth round in 2013’s campaign – falling to lower-division competition – and they bowed out of the 2012 tournament in the fifth round.

The Heat are just the 11th PDL team to advance beyond the third round, while none has advanced beyond the fourth round in the modern professional era. The stage is set as the Heat will travel to play in the Dynamo’s two-year-old soccer-specific BBVA Compass Stadium with a capacity of 22,000 screaming supporters.

The Heat face Houston on June 11 at 9 p.m. at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston in the fourth round. The draw for the fifth round decided the winner of the Dynamo-Heat match up will host the winner between FC Dallas (MLS) and the San Antonio Scorpions (North American Soccer League).

The fourth round match will be streamed live and for free at www.YouTube.com/LaredoHeatSC and 8:55 p.m.

Each home game will see the Heat offer four fans a chance at winning $500. If the randomly selected fans can bury an undefended penalty kick at halftime, they will win $400 for themselves and $100 to the evening’s selected benefactor.

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.