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Albuquerque Sol puts the heat on Colorado Rapids U23

The Albuquerque Sol (2-4-1) beat the Colorado Rapids U23 (3-3-2) 3-0 in Professional Development League soccer play Saturday night before an announced crowd of 1,753 fans at the UNM Soccer Stadium.

The stifling heat blanketing Albuquerque even overheated the electronic scoreboard, rendering it inoperative for much of the first half. The teams also combined for nine substitutions.

The Sol now has seven points this season — all from games against Colorado, including a 1-0 triumph at St. Pius High on Thursday night. In goal, Jason Beaulieu kept a clean sheet for Albuquerque for the second straight game.

“Getting over the mental fatigue over the last 48 hours changed the game,” Sol Manager Padraic Ferrell said.  “They showed good confidence after getting over the hump on Thursday to grind out a win. Playing a professional franchise raises our game.”

The Sol claimed the lead when Grayson Dupont made a superlative individual effort in the 44th minute by firing a near-post shot past the flailing Rapids goalkeeper, who appeared to be expecting a cross given the steep angle.

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The Rapids’ Noah Bushey then accosted the referee, and his rush of blood warranted a second yellow, and red card, thereby doubling the Rapids’ misery. They suddenly were down a man and a goal.

In the 52nd minute, defender Kareem Salem had plenty of time and space on the left channel to measure his cross. Sol striker Luke Lawrence’s far-post run enabled Jack Clancy to run in his wake and turn in the Salem cross for Albuquerque’s second goal.

The oppressive conditions combined with the man advantage heightened the Sol’s aggression. The hosts accelerated their high press, forcing Rapids mistakes and frustrating Colorado’s  efforts at establishing possession through a bunkered Sol backline.

The Sol got its final goal in the 71st minute. A slip pass from Pat Pacheco found Tommy Ramos unmarked near the penalty spot. It was the simplest of finishes from there.

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