Mississippi Brilla and the Laredo Heat played to a 0-0 draw in a rain shortened contest on Saturday. Monday’s rematch in Laredo had the same end result, but was a much more entertaining 2-2 tie.
In sharp contrast to Saturday’s slow pace, Monday’s match was played at a more intense pace as each team fought for their first victory of the season. Laredo pressed early and often, but Brilla goalkeeper Josh Christensen was able to turn away the attack each time. Laredo’s Leon Taylor was finally able to break through the back line in the 35th minute and slot home the first goal of the game. The half ended with the Heat in front 1-0.
Brilla came out firing in the second half and had an excellent chance to even the score in the 48th minute. Kellen Gulley was played in for a one-on-one with the keeper, but Laredo’s goalkeeper denied the chance with a great save.
The visiting team’s fortunes took a turn for the worse a minute later when a Laredo defender played a long ball that took an unlucky bounce over the head of Christensen. Christensen retreated in pursuit of the ball but was unable to keep it from crossing the goal line. Laredo appeared to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the 49th minute.
Brilla was not finished fighting, and began to claw its way back into the game when Eduardo Cruz blasted a shot past the Laredo goalkeeper from close range in the 55th minute. James Gulley was credited with the assist on the goal that drew the game closer at 2-1.
Following chances for both teams, Brilla earned the equalizer when Cruz played the ball across the front of the goal and found the right foot of Louis Tambini. Tambini’s strong shot equalized the match at two goals a piece in the 78th minute.
Both teams pressed hard for a game winning goal, but in the end the two Mid-South Division rivals settled for a point a piece with the 2-2 tie. Both Laredo and Mississippi stand 0-0-2 on the young season.
“This type of game can define a team’s season,” said Head Coach Mark McKeever. "Although we always want to win, I am proud of the fight to come back from two goals down.”
Brilla returns to action at home on Friday, May 29. Kick-off against the Cajun Soccer Club is at 7:00 pm at Clinton High School.