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Dallas Soccer News - PDL, El Paso Patriots, DFW Tornados, Brian Sarber, Jon Uriarte, Jeff Denski, Jorge Briones

PDL - El Paso take 3-2 thriller against DFW

Published 6/9/2007 5:29:32 AM by staff from uslsoccer.com
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Carlos Martinez scored the game-winner in the 84th minute and the El Paso Patriots held on to win a see-saw game against the DFW Tornados, 3-2, here Friday night.  Patriots head coach Salvador “Chava” Mercado talked his old friend and former teammate, El Paso native Michael Griego, into returning to play for his hometown team, and the move paid immediate dividends.

In a Patriots uniform for his first game in four years, Griego, a solid 6-1 forward, was the physical, aerial presence Mercado hopes he would be, ranging unmarked to the right edge of the six-yard box to take a beautiful far-post cross from Enrique Cervantes on the left wing. Griego headed home to open the scoring in the 35th minute, also opening the offensive floodgates in the process, as El Paso would go ahead 2-0 just four minutes later.

Rodrigo Morín took a nice back pass from Omar Mora and in a nifty bit of one-touch soccer laid it off to Man of the Match Jorge Briones. Briones quickly settled it at the edge of the 18 and proceeded to rip a far-post shot past a diving Brian Sarber in goal for the Tornados, earning the Patriots a 2-0 lead that suddenly looked very safe.

Though DFW had dominated possession and the offense through the first 25 minutes, El Paso fought their way back into the game and turned the tables on the Tornados who could do no right until added time in the first half.

DFW turned the tables on their hosts just as quickly, though, as midfielder Jon Uriarte found himself alone with Patriots keeper Jorge Muñíz after a missed clearance attempt by El Paso, beating him low to cut the lead in two just before the half.

Then, just two minutes into the second half, another bit of bad defending left substitute winger Jeff Denski behind the defense. Denski’s closed in on Muñíz before beating him near post to tie the game in the 47th.

Paul Robinson’s squad would certainly have been happy with a point on the road, playing counterattacking soccer to great effect. Finally, a flurry of second half subs yielded the pressure Mercado wanted for the home side, though it was two players who played the full 90 minutes who tallied the match-winner.

El Paso earned a corner in the 84th minute and Briones, so often the restart man for set pieces, took his familiar post. The wind, which had been building as a storm system wound its way up the Rio Grande, had played havoc with much of what both teams had tried to set up most of the evening, but Briones’ cross was resolute, finding a jumping Martinez at the far post. The center defender for the Patriots headed the ball straight down in front of a surprised Sarber, who was rising to meet Martinez’s challenge. The ball bounced underneath the keeper and high off the back of the net for the game-winner.
El Paso improves to 4-3-2 on the season, earning its 14th point, closing within one of the Mid-South Division leaders, Laredo. The Heat were idle Friday but host New Orleans Saturday night. The Patriots and the Tornados (2-4-2, 8 points) will play again Saturday evening at 8 p.m. MDT. The match will be shown live on the web at www.elpaso-patriots.com. KLAQ and MetroSports Southwest sports director Duke Keith has the play-by-play.

Label: PDL, El Paso Patriots, DFW Tornados, Brian Sarber, Jon Uriarte, Jeff Denski, Jorge Briones
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