The Laredo Heat concluded their two-match road trip Saturday with a 3-1 loss to Lone Star Conference leader Denton Diablos. With the defeat, the Heat went 0-1-1 this week as they tied Fort Worth 1-1 on Thursday.
With the win, Denton swept Laredo in their regular-season series. Earlier this season, the Diablos handed the Heat their first defeat of the year and first National Premier Soccer League regular-season loss — which was a 2-1 result.
Despite the defeat, Laredo (3-3-1) remains in fourth place in the conference with 10 points. Denton (7-2-0) extended their lead to 5 points over Midland-Odessa. The Diablos now have 21 points on the year while Midland-Odessa has 16.
Things started out fine for the Heat as they took an early 1-0 lead in the 11th minute. Jeremiah Egujie buried the shot after dancing around a couple defenders in the box and bending the attempt into the upper-left hand corner. With the goal, Egujie is now tied with Ivan Sakou for most goals on the year with three.
From there, however, everything started to crumble for Laredo. Denton has been known to score quickly this season. The Diablos entered the matchup Saturday after defeating Midland-Odessa 4-0 on the road Thursday.
The Heat had an opportunity to extend their lead to two goals in 28th minute off a free kick. Despite Ryan Birchfield placing the attempt in a perfect position in the box, no Laredo player was there to receive the pass.
Three minutes later in the 31st minute, Denton tied the game up at one apiece. The Diablos got their first goal off a free-kick ricochet that bounced off the crossbar. From there, it was all Denton.
The Diablos took the lead in the 42nd minute as former MLS and United States Men’s National Team member Sam Garza found Heat goalkeeper Marc-Antoine Huzen — who was making his second start with Laredo — out of position. Denton almost scored again in the 45th minute as Huzen was out of position. However, the Diablos’ chip attempt sailed over the goal.
Denton came out attacking to begin the second half. The Diablos extend their lead to two goals in the 50th minute, but their attempt went to the side of the goal. Laredo almost tied the game up in the 55th minute as Sakou had the Diablos in a precarious position. Yet instead of taking the shot, he passed it which allowed Denton to get back into position to block the shot.
Later in the 71st minute, Johan Portales almost knotted the game up at two apiece for the Heat. But his attempt sailed just left of the goal.
Denton got its third goal of the night in the 76th to go up 3-1. Despite the two-goal lead, the Diablos remained on the offensive and kept attacking. Luckily for Laredo though, most of Denton’s shots went left, right or over the goal.
Laredo returns home in search of its first win in over two weeks as its last came against Tyler FC on the road on June 2. The Heat will host Dallas City FC at 8:15 p.m. Friday. Dallas City is fifth in the conference with four points as it is 1-4-1 on the year. It is also ranked No. 74 out of 91 NPSL teams in the latest power rankings according to the league’s website.