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El Paso, TX — A return trip to a familiar field failed to yield results for the El Paso Patriots as Rio Grande rivals, the Laredo Heat, sent El Paso to its sixth straight loss, winning here 2-0 Saturday night.
It didn't take long for Laredo to capitalize as the Heat's passing from the wing yielding results almost immediately.
In the 11th minute, Serbian midfielder Ljubomir Kocic found Yair Hernandez behind the defense along the right side. Hernandez saw Patriots' Agustin Rey had come off his line and chipped the keeper from the right corner of the area. The rainbow shot found its way to the back of the net.
El Paso was able to cover up the holes in its defense for the rest of the half in part with better offensive possession, but hesitation to pull the trigger allowed the Heat's five-man backline time to recover on numerous chances.
Patriots forward Guillermo Salas, playing in his first game back in blue this season, earned a foul and a solid chance outside the Laredo area in stoppage time. But the final play of the half was El Paso defender Daniel Campos' hard, dipping shot ringing off the right post.
The Heat made the most of their next big chance. In the 51st minute a pass from right wing to midfield playmaker Juan de Dios Ibarra found the veteran unmarked. Ibarra took a step to look up, turned and fired a shot to the left corner of the goal. Rey could only get a fingertip to it as the ball sailed by, making it 2-0.
A hard foul on Ibarra by Jonathan Camarena got the midfielder ejectedin the 79th minute -- the second straight week El Paso has had at least one player ejected -- forcing the Patriots to play a man down over the final 11 minutes.
El Paso falls to 1-8-1, in the cellar of the Mid-South Division. Laredo (5-4-2, 17 points) remains on the outside of the Southern Conference playoffs looking in, but are just two points in back of second place Oklahoma City FC, and OKC must pay a return visit to Laredo in two weeks.
The Patriots hit the road for games against the Houston Dutch Lions and Laredo next weekend.
For more information, go to www.elpasopatriots.com or call 915.771.6620.
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