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Heat falls to Aztex

Heat falls to Aztex

Aztex pull even with Heat after Wednesday rally

By Matthew Goricki

Laredo Morning Times
Published: Thursday, June 28, 2012 5:22 AM CDT
The Austin Aztex knew the importance of their fourth game against the Laredo Heat when the teams met on Wednesday at the Texas A&M International Soccer Complex.

For that reason, it wasn’t surprising that the Aztex didn’t hang their heads when they fell behind early. Rather, they rallied to a 2-1 victory.

With the win, Austin (6-4-2) tied Laredo (6-3-2) for first place in the Mid South Division with 20 points.

Just as in Austin’s 1-0 win over the Heat on Friday, 17-year-old Kekuta Manneh proved to be the difference.

With the game tied in the 74th minute, Manneh took a pass in the right side of the box from Jesus Sanchez.

With defenders in front of him, Manneh squeezed the ball into the right side of the net past diving goalkeeper Emmanuel Frias.

“Laredo still hasn’t seen the best of him,” Aztex coach Paul Dalglish said of Manneh. 

“Today they saw what he’s all about. The kid is a top player.”

Laredo still had a shot to tie the score shortly before extra time when Juan de Dios Ibarra had a free kick from just outside the box.

Ibarra’s shot was aimed to the right side of the net, but Austin goalkeeper Devin Cook sprawled to swat the ball away with one hand.

That chance was Laredo’s best after Manneh gave the Aztex the lead, though Laredo was able to maintain pressure in the final 16 minutes.

Manneh’s goal wouldn’t have meant as much had Kris Tyrpak not scored in the 51st minute to even the score at 1-1.

On the right side of the field, Khiry Shelton sent a slotting pass to Tyrpak, who was waiting from about six yards out.

Tyrpak was easily able to get the ball past Frias, who had no chance at a save.

Unlike the second half, the opening 45 minutes belonged to Laredo, which had numerous chances to pad an early 1-0 lead.

Horacio Leal’s goal in the 10th minute came courtesy of a pass from midfielder Ibarra, who sent the ball past everybody to within 20 yards of the net near the center of the field.

Leal beat Cook to the ball shortly after it took a high bounce.

Leal then sent a high, slow kick into the net while Cook could only stand and watch.

Exactly two minutes after his goal, Leal nearly scored again when he took a pass from Daniel Garza in the left side of the box.

Leal’s shot hooked just inches wide and high of the right post.

Garza had a chance of his own in the 14th minute when he launched a shot at Cook from about 15 yards out in the middle of the field.

Cook leaped and barely reached the ball with one hand to send it over the net.

Austin’s victory evened the series at 2-2 after Laredo walked away from the first two games with wins.

The Heat still have to play one more game than Austin, so the Mid South is still Laredo’s to lose.