CLINTON, Miss. - Mississippi Brilla welcomed Mid-South Division rivals the Laredo Heat for the first match in a two-match home-stand on Thursday night. This is the third match-up between the teams after they tied 0-0 and 2-2 in Laredo over Memorial Day weekend.
Laredo opened the scoring early when Alan Reyna’s long pass was taken down perfectly by Chuy Cortes and slotted into the Brilla net in the 12th minute.
Laredo continued to press in the first half, while Brilla moved the ball well, but failed to created any meaningful chances.
The Heat doubled their lead in the 42 minute when Juan Ibarra’s cross found a wide-open Dan Johns at the top of the Brilla penalty area. John collected the pass, and placed his shot by Brilla goalkeeper Jordan Bell.
Brilla made two subs during the halftime interval that proved to change the complexion of the match. Newcomers Sergio Royo and Carlos Garces came on in the midfield and the chances started to flow for the home side.
In the 72nd minute, Garces hammered at shot which was parried by Laredo goalkeeper Jorge Ortega, but the ball fell at the feet of Brilla’s Kellen Gulley who tapped it in from close range to cut the Heat’s lead in half.
An equalizer looked all but certain when Kellen Gulley was fouled in the area in the 76th minute, but Brilla’s Eduardo Cruz had his shot saved by Ortega. Two point blank follow-up shots by Brilla attackers hit the post and were saved by Ortega.
Brilla continued to hammer at the Laredo goal for the remaining mintues, but headers from Gulley and Royo couldn’t find their target and the Heat would hold on for the narrow victory.
The teams will turn around and play again Saturday night, June 6 at 7:00 PM at Clinton High School.