Austin, Laredo, Austin, Laredo, Austin, Laredo.
With every passing match in the USL PDL Mid South Division, the lead seems to change hands more often than the baton in a 100 meters relay race, but as the race hots up as we gallop towards the end of the playing season, it becomes more and more apparent that the title winner will only be resolved come the last day of the playing season on July 14.
After Austin Aztex retook top spot on Wednesday evening with their fabulous victory over Laredo Heat, it was only 24 hours later that the South Texas side managed to wrestle back their rivals with a hard fought 1-0 win over West Texas Sockers, showing that they won’t give up on the championship title without a fight.
So it came to the Saturday evening match and with Laredo having the weekend off, it gave Austin another chance to retake first place should they overcome New Orleans Jesters on their road trip to the Louisiana city side.
The Jesters have had some rollercoaster results over the last 10 days. A 6-1 victory over Texas Dutch Lions was followed by a 5-1 loss to El Paso and then the 3-3 draw with Laredo Heat saw a topsy turvy three matches lead up to this one with Austin so boredom was not going to be a factor in this match.
The game did not start well for the home side at the Pan American Stadium, as they found themselves a goal down after only 10 minutes to a freakishly unlucky back pass that bypassed their own goalkeeper and into the goal, which although amused many of the travelling support, it was hardly the start that either side had envisaged for this match and perhaps gave us a prelude of what was to come in the remainder of the game.
The visitors added another on 22 minutes to double the grief placed upon their hosts when Tyrpak met a Manneh cross perfectly to make the scoreline 2-0 and despite some valiant efforts from both sides in the remaining 23 minutes of the first period to add some more goals, the half ended 2-0 for the Austin side.
Soon into the second half Tyrpak added his second and his teams third after making some nice movement in the box to create an opening for himself before being substituted on the 69th minute for Cortes.
At three to zero, the game was by no means out of reach for the home side but with 16 minutes remaining, substitute Cortes added his first to make the score 4-0 in favour of the Aztex and less than one minute later Riley latched onto a pass from Garcia, slotting home to make it 5-0 over the shell shocked Jesters.
Within that one minute the game had ended as a competition and with 10 remaining Manneh added insult to injury to the Jesters when his spectacular individual dribbling effort added a sixth to the ever enlarging score line.
To their credit, New Orleans fought back almost instantly to grab a goal back through top scorer Patrick Mullins, but it was too little too late for the home side and the match ended this way at six goals to one for the Austin side.
Austin now have three remaining matches to play. At home to West Texas before making two road trips to El Paso and New Orleans.
New Orleans perhaps have the toughest run in with two away matches to Laredo Heat in the next week of play before welcoming Austin back on July 14.
Laredo Heat have the advantage going into the run in as they have a match in hand. With two home matches v New Orleans coming in the next week before ending with away trips to West Texas Sockers & then El Paso Patriots which will eventually decide title deciders and play off spots.
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