It took a long time to happen, and it was bound to happen sooner or later, but Tuesday night’s match at Texas A&M International in Laredo saw Austin Aztex eventually lose their unbeaten streak in the current 2013 PDL season.
Just the one goal from Francisco Lara just four minutes prior to the half time whistle was enough for the home side to grab all three points and move into second spot of the Mid South division with just four matches remaining to play of the current regular season.
Despite chances for either side to score more goals, this match was always going to be a tight affair but both goalkeepers were in inspirational form – which would be expected from two of the regions best sides – with Laredo stopper Emmanuel Frias in particular, in top form between the sticks.
Two top class save prior to his sides goal kept the scoreline goalless and proved his worth to the side, also proving why he was chosen into the PDL all-star side for 2012.
Austins nine match unbeaten streak was made all the more difficult when half time substitute Tucker Hume received a straight red card on 69 minutes, leaving his team mates to try and salvage something from the match with only 10 men.
Devin Cook was being called into more and more action as time started running out, finally facing a total of six shots but stood big in the goal area and kept the host side at bay for the remainder of the match.
It was a big three points for Laredo who leapfrog Oklahoma City FC into second spot with both sides meeting at Texas A&M next week, July 11, which will be seen by many as the biggest game of the season with a winner takes all mantle being placed on it with so few games of the season remaining to turnaround positional spots in the division.
Laredo Heat, who have won so many of the Mid South divisional titles over the years will know this will come down to the wire and have the experience of previous years to count on to see them through to the playoffs. They will also be hoping to follow the example their super 20s side have set by clinching a spot in the July playoffs.
Austin Aztex remain top of the division but are only five points clear of second placed Laredo after the defeat and will be accutely aware of the pressure that will now be on them to finally secure the divisional title as quickly as possible. The Aztex have very little time to dwell on the defeat and Paul Dalglish will be all too aware of picking his players up for the match v Sockers FC on the evening of Friday July 5.
A win for the Texas capital cities side will move them back out in front by a massive eight points, a lead that will be very hard to catch and come the end of the season if they’re still out in front, they will emerge with their first ever divisional title in only their second year.
Final score from Texas A&M International
Laredo Heat 1 Austin Aztex 0
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