Late Goal Lifts FC Brownsville to 1-1 Draw with Laredo Heat SC

Playoff hopes for the Gateway City Boys depend on several scenarios this weekend

By Laredo Heat SC

A late foul just outside the box against the Laredo Heat SC led to it giving up the equalizing goal in added time Wednesday in a 1-1 draw with FC Brownsville which left Laredo’s playoff hopes hanging in the balance.

“It is gut-wrenching. I know the boys did more than enough to take all three points,” Heat head coach John Powell said. 

The Heat (5-2-2, 17 points) could still finish anywhere from the top of the table to out of the playoffs altogether depending on Saturday’s matches to close out the regular season.  Another draw on Saturday would lock up a playoff spot for Laredo, and a victory would guarantee hosting a match in the opening round of the playoffs.  The Heat could also claim the top seed with a victory if West Texas FC loses against the Lubbock Matadors. 

West Texas FC (6-2-1, 19 points) climbed to the top of the table with a 6-0 win over Fort Worth Vaqueros FC (0-8-2, 2 points).  Lubbock Matadors (5-3-1, 16 points) kept its playoff hopes alive with a 2-0 victory over Denton Diablos FC (5-3-2, 17 points).

Laredo could still qualify for the postseason with a loss if Lubbock loses.  If the Heat lost and the Matadors had a draw, it would force a three-way tie with Denton for the final two spots.  Since all the teams would be level on wins in conference competition, the tiebreaker would come down to goal differential.  The Heat have a two-goal advantage over Lubbock in that category, so a loss by one goal would put Laredo into third place.  With three-way tiebreakers treated like a separate table, Laredo would only need to avoid losing by five or more goals to stay ahead of Denton. 

Regardless of the scenarios, the Heat set out to win every match and will take the same approach Saturday as they hope to extend their season.

“Game No. 1 and Game No. 10, it is all the same,” Powell said. “I know the implications are obviously bigger because you have time when you play the first couple games, but this group wants to win every single game.  So it’s not going to change anything for Saturday.” 

The Heat controlled the tempo early Saturday and broke through in the 19th minute.  Oscar Govea carried up the middle and sent a through ball to Gianluca Fiorini at the right edge of the box.  Fiorini crossed it inside to Jordan Mase whose header hit the crossbar and bounced off the line.  Govea charged in and headed the rebound into the left side of the net for a 1-0 lead. 

“The boys were great. I’m so lucky to get to coach them,” Powell said. “They executed and they listened, and they did everything we asked.  The trainings came out.  Where we had possession and how we defended, I thought they were excellent.”

Laredo controlled much of the possession and limited chances until late when Brownsville earned several free kicks in the final 10 minutes. The game turned on a foul call just outside the box in the 92nd minute. 

A Brownsville forward fell forward while competing with Gabriel Claudio for a header, and he secured the free kick from 20 yards out and just right of center.  The free kick was a left-footed shot that curled to the top right corner of the net to even the match at 1-1.

Brownsville (5-1-3, 18 points) secured a spot in the playoffs by securing the draw.  It can secure a home playoff match with another draw or a win, and it would need help to get back to the top of the table.

Laredo and Brownsville close out the regular season at 7:15 pm Saturday in Brownsville at Lopez High School.

Wednesday’s match also served as an Independence Day celebration.  The Heat presented a fireworks display and provided free hot dogs after the match.  Laredo also held a special halftime presentation honoring a child from the Make-A-Wish Foundation who was unable to attend the match but is hopeful to make it if the Heat earn a home match in the playoffs. 

Visit youtube.com/@LaredoHeatSC for live streams of the Heat’s matches.  For ticket information and to stay up to date on all things Laredo Heat, please visit laredoheatsc.com and follow @laredoheatsc on all major social media platforms.  

 

Photo Credit: Andy Gonzalez Photography/Laredo Heat SC

 

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