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Ibarra's first-half goal lifts team over Aztex

Ibarra's first-half goal lifts team over Aztex

Heat win in fourth shutout

By Matthew Goricki 

Laredo Morning Times
Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 3:06 AM CDT


Recently, Juan de Dios Ibarra has proven to be the difference in 1-0 games involving the Laredo Heat.

Just like in Friday’s win over El Paso, Ibarra again provided the lone goal in Laredo’s 1-0 victory over the Austin Aztex, Tuesday, at the Texas A&M International Soccer Complex.

In the first half, which was played mostly around the midfield, Ibarra capitalized off of one of the few set pieces Laredo (6-1-1) had the luxury of possessing.

On a free kick from about 30 yards out, a little left of the center of the field, Ibarra unleashed a hard shot that deflected off an Aztex defender.

The ball then carried high in the air, took one big bounce and rolled in the net past Austin’s helpless goalkeeper Devin Cook.

The goal, scored exactly 20 minutes into the contest, was all the Heat would need.

In the first half, neither Cook nor Heat goalkeeper Emmanuel Frias recorded any saves.

The few shots that were attempted were off the mark or blocked by defenders.

Frias only faced one shot in the opening half, a weak shot in the 13th minute by attacker Kekuta Manneh from eight yards out that hit the outside of the right post on a bad angle.

Shortly after Ibarra’s goal, Frias was slightly out of position when Zach Pope shot from about 10 yards out.

Max Gunderson bailed out Frias by deflecting the shot away from the net to preserve the Heat lead.

Near the end of the half, Manneh had another opportunity to threaten Frias one-on-one, but Carlos Ordaz kicked the ball out of bounds from behind.

On the ensuing corner kick, Frias smacked the ball out of the air to keep Austin away from his net.

The second half belonged to the Austin offense, but Frias and his defense didn’t let the ball in the net.

Much of the half was played in the Laredo zone with the Aztex recording many chances, especially in the final 15 minutes.

In the 53rd minute, Manneh had a golden chance when he faced Frias one-on-one from the left side after he got past the Laredo defense.

Manneh’s shot bounced off a sprawling Frias from seven yards out, giving the goalkeeper his first save of the night.

Three minutes later, Frias was bailed out when an Austin shot cranked off the left post.

In the 77th minute, Will Morse attempted a bicycle kick from 10 yards out that rolled past Frias beyond the right post.

Even with most of the activity being dominated by Austin, the Laredo offense managed a chance near the 80th minute when Horacio Leal ripped a shot aimed for the top left corner of the net.

Cook leaped to make the save to keep the game a 1-0 affair.

Manneh, Austin’s star player and leading goal scorer, was bottled up most of the night by Martin Moreno and Ordaz.

Besides his one-on-one attempt in the second half, he rarely challenged Frias due to Laredo’s stifling defense.