Albuquerque Sol FC clinched yet another win to beat the Laredo Heat 2-0 at home Thursday evening, gaining three valuable points to remain in first place in the Premier Development League and Mountain Division as well. Ronaldo Teixeira, center midfielder for the Sol, opened the scoreboard at the 12th minute with an assist from Manuel Campos. The Heat failed to find an equalizer as the Sol dominated possession, finding another opportunity just before the half from Luke Lawrence, securing the win.
“We felt like we could get at them in transition,” explained Sol head coach Matt Gordon. “We made one change to the lineup, putting Manuel Campos in midfield as a wide-out.” The change for Campos, traditionally playing as a forward, provided the difference in creating the opportunity for the first goal.
Shortly before halftime, the Heat replaced Daniel Johns, their top scorer and reigning PDL Player of the Week, with Rodolfo Godinez – signaling a possible defeat with many minutes left to play.
The second half saw continued pressure and dominance by the Sol with several attempts on goal. Trying to increase the lead, Gordan chose to sub Luke Lawrence with Matt Ball.
A frustrated Laredo later revamped their attack with fresh substitutes to no avail. The Sol countered, installing midfielders Patrick Pacheco and Tamino Kroeger. There would be further attempts on goal, with impressive saves by the goalkeepers on both ends. Lucas Champenois, the goalkeeper for the Sol, was able to shut them down, retaining the clean sheet for the team.
It was a combination of an organized attack and an almost impenetrable defense that earned the Sol the win. “I think coming in Daniel Johns was talked about, he was the player week and scored four goals in the last game, but he hadn’t played our defense,” stated Sol defender and team captain Travis Campbell.
The Sol have come a long way since last season, after failing to secure a spot in the playoffs in their division, to leading the entire league holding the best record (7-1-1) with a few weeks left.
“The big one for us right now is managing the work load,” explained Gordon. “But I’m really proud of the way the guys who haven’t played big minutes are reacting to things. The guys doing sprints after the game because they didn’t play, that’s the culture of what we’ve built here. They know that nothing comes easy in this league, nothing is given to them.”
Sol defender Yuri Domiciano agreed.
“I think the secret to a champion group is to be humble about the reality so if we think a lot about our wins, then it’s going to hurt us. We have to stay humble and just focus on the next game.”
Following a friendly this Saturday against the Colorado Rapids, they hit the road to face the Laredo heat once again, before the final challenges of the regular season against FC Tucson, Midland/Odessa, and Real Colorado.