Aztex Clinch Playoff Spot
Win streak at four for high-scoring squad
By Nick Barbaro, 4:54PM, Mon. Jul. 9, 2012
The Austin Aztex secured a playoff spot Sunday night in El Paso with a 1-0 win over the host Patriots, who've come to be a bitter rival this inaugural season. That game came just two nights after the Aztex treated home fans to a glorious 7-0 romp over the West Texas Sockers.
Friday's goal-fest against West Texas was highlighted by Kris Tyrpak's hat trick and assist, but Khiry Shelton also got in on the act with his first two goals of the year. Kekuta Manneh and Callum Riley scored as well. This one was over early, with Tyrpak starting the barrage after 10 minutes, and the score ballooning to 4-0 by halftime. The final shot count: 26-4.
It was Riley, a substitute in both games, who created the game-winner in El Paso; he stole the ball from a defender in the box and nudged it across to William Morse who poked it home for his fourth goal of the season. That result evened the season series with the Patriots, knocked them out of playoff contention, and ensured that the Aztex and Laredo Heat will be the Top 2 finishers in the PDL Mid South and go on to the playoffs. The Aztex finish the regular season this weekend in New Orleans, while Laredo has two games left, both on the road.
The playoffs will start the weekend of July 20-22, with Austin, Laredo, the Ocala (Fla.) Stampede, and probably the Orlando City U-23s playing a regional final-four format in one of those four cities.
Stat Line: The Aztex lead the entire 73-team Premier Development League in goals scored (40), and goal differential (+28). Manneh and Tyrpak are among the league leaders with 10 goals apiece, and Tyrpak's additional three assists put him also among the overall scoring leaders. Jesus "Chuy" Cortes leads the team in assists, with six.