It may have been the ugliest goal of the season, but for the Austin Aztex, Chuy Cortes' 90th minute winner Saturday night in Midland was a thing of beauty – clinching a second straight PDL Mid South Division title with three games left in the season, and keeping the Aztex on track for the best record in the conference, and a possible home playoff bid.
The decisive goal against the second-place Midland/Odessa Sockers came on an Aztex counterattack, with Eddie Campbell putting a long cross into the box, which the Sockers goalie was unable to collect, under pressure from an Aztex attacker (Sito Seoane, I think). The ball popped loose to Cortes, and his snap shot gave the Aztex a 2-1 win, and at 9-1-1 (28 points), an insurmountable lead over the Sockers (6-4-2, 20 points) and third-place Laredo Heat (4-4-3, 15 points), who are left fighting for second place and the division's second playoff spot. The Heat, who've never missed the playoffs, didn't help their cause with a 2-1 loss Saturday at Mississippi. … The Aztex have beaten the Sockers in all three meetings this season, and each time it's been Cortes scoring a late winner. … Eddie Campbell had the Aztex' first goal Saturday; Cortes remains the team's leading scorer, with five goals and three assists.
No time to rest, though; the Aztex play again Tuesday night in Houston before returning home to host the Sockers Friday night, 7:30pm at House Park. Yours truly will be in goal for a pre-game promotion at around 7pm where lucky contestants get to take penalty kicks to win gift certificates to the Alamo Drafthouse, Paramount Theatre, and more. See the Chronicle contests page for details.
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