The Laredo Heat advanced to the second round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup for the second consecutive year, downing California amateur club PSA Elite 2-0 Tuesday night at Texas A&M International University. Laredo product Danny Garza and Brazilian forward Leo Madeiros, a rising senior at NAIA Texas-Brownsville, accounted for the Heat goals on either side of halftime.
The Heat, in their third Open Cup appearance, will travel to face the NASL’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers on Tuesday, May 21, in second-round action.
Like Laredo, PSA Elite reached the second round last year thanks to an opening-round win over the Portland Timbers U23s. A team made up mostly of former California college players, Tuesday’s squad included former U.S. U-17 international and current Akron standout Alfred Koroma at forward and American Samoa international Rawlston Masaniai alongside former Charleston Battery standout Darren Spicer in midfield.
Laredo was dangerous down the flanks in the early going, and forward Ljubomir Kocic, an indoor standout who played at Division II Incarnate Word in San Antonio, rang the crossbar with a shot in the 12th minute. The Heat came close to the opening goal again just three minutes later, but midfielder Hector Vallejo fired a shot high.
PSA’s best chances came mostly from set pieces, but Laredo goalkeeper Emmanuel Frias was rarely troubled, making just two saves for the game at the same field on which he played his college soccer. At the other end, former Cal State Fullerton goalkeeper Trevor Whiddon had his hands full, stopping a shot from Medeiros in the 30th minute.
Laredo’s breakthrough came shortly before halftime, when a corner kick fell to Garza at the top of the box, and his left-footed drive slipped through the hands of Whiddon for the opening goal, deflating PSA Elite’s halftime emotions.
The Heat put the game away early in the second half, as Cuban outside back Yosmel De Armas got forward to deliver a cross to the back post, where Medeiros fired a volley into the side netting to double Laredo’s lead. Whiddon had one more big save in him, stoning substitute Alejandro De la Garza in the 70th minute to finish with four stops, but Laredo breezed to the win.
The Heat are now 2-1 all-time against USASA teams in the Open Cup; Laredo beat ASC New Stars last year but fell in penalty kicks way back in 2006 at the beginning of Dallas Roma’s Cinderella run. Laredo will get its second crack at an NASL squad next week and will hope to improve on last year’s 2-0 loss at the hands of the San Antonio Scorpions.
PSA Elite 0:2 Laredo Heat
May 14, 2013 — Texas A&M-International University Soccer Complex, Laredo TX
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup — Round 1
LAR — Danny Garza 1 (Leo Medeiros 1) 44
LAR — Leo Medeiros 1 (Yosmel De Armas 1) 47
PSA Elite — Trevor Whiddon, Joel Bagby (Mitch Boland 65), Everett Pitts, Ryan Lee, Marco Franco, Rawlston Masaniai, Darren Spicer (Brandon Mulhall 84), Enrique Cardenas, Omar Jessey (Jesse Escalante 59), Athony Hamilton, Alfred Koroma.
Substitutes Not Used: Brent Reis, Lee Nishanran, Ray Estrada.
Laredo Heat — Emmanuel Frias, Yair Hernandez, Felipe Souza, Carmilo Botero, Yosmel De Armas, Gregory Mulamba, Juan de Dios Ibarra (Omar Lopez 84), Hector Vallejo, Daniel Garza (Daniel Navarro 89), Ljubomir Kocic (Alejandro De la Garza 57), Leonardo Medeiro
Substitutes Not Used: Jesus Cisneros, Placide Buduri, Eusebio Garcia, Eduardo Gonzalez.
LAR — Felipe Souza (caution) 26
PSA — Ryan Lee (caution) 51
LAR — Hector Vallejo (caution) 74
Referee: Kyle Phillips
Referee’s Assistants: Chris Gordon; Midge Van Es
4th official: Benny Del Castillo