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Heat shut down Dutch Lions

By Matthew Goricki
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Thursday, June 14, 2012 8:33 AM CDT
With the stifling way the Laredo Heat plays defense, a two-goal lead for the Heat is far more daunting than a one-goal lead.

That’s why Juan de Dios Ibarra’s goal in compensation time at the end of the first half was so demoralizing to the Texas Dutch Lions in the Heat’s 5-0 victory, Wednesday, at the Texas A&M International Soccer Complex.

Laredo (4-1-1) has a defense that’s tough to get even one goal on, so Ibarra’s goal certainly had an impact on the way Texas was forced to play in the second half.

The Heat were set to go into halftime up 1-0 when Ibarra lined up for a free kick from about 30 yards out.

Set up just left of the center of the field, Ibarra laced a perfectly-placed ball that was out of reach of jumping Texas goalkeeper Robert Mueller, who was helpless to do anything about it.

“I scored the same way against the Dutch Lions on the same goalie (the last game in Houston),” Ibarra said.

“I was confident on the free kick. We were confident after that second goal.”

The first half ended only 30 seconds later, leaving a dejected Texas team contemplating how it was going to comeback.

Mueller walked back to the bench with his head down in disbelief before making his way to the locker room.

Just as important as Ibarra’s goal was forward Irving Villanueva’s kick midway through the first half.

On the right side of the field, the Heat’s Max Gunderson advanced near the goal and sent a pass that somehow made it through a few Dutch Lion defenders and Heat attackers.

The ball eventually found the foot of Villanueva, who immediately whacked it to the back of the net past a diving Mueller in the 23rd minute.

Villanueva had another chance about nine minutes later when he launched a shot from 20 yards out, but Mueller stopped it with a diving save.

Before Ibarra’s goal, midfielder Placide Buduri and attacker Horacio Leal each had chances near the net, though neither could capitalize.

Near the 68th minute, Mueller was issued a red card when he came out of net and collided with Heat attacker Juan Nava.

The referee ruled the contact was not accidental and awarded the Heat a penalty kick.

Goalkeeper Blake Lander replaced Mueller and was immediately charged with facing a penalty kick by Nava.

Nava kicked the ball straight on and Lander dove to his left anticipating a shot in that direction.

The ball easily went into the net, giving the Heat a commanding 3-0 lead with 20 minutes to play.

Omar Lopez added a goal in the 87th minute and Daniel Garza scored in compensation time at the end of the second half.

The Dutch Lions never threatened throughout the entire second half, allowing Heat goalkeeper Emmanuel Frias to earn one of the easiest shutouts a goalkeeper can manage.

Besides a couple corner kicks in the first half, the only real action Frias faced was in the ninth minute when he dove for a save on a shot by Texas attacker Joonas Kolkka.

The Dutch Lions put a much taller team on the field against the Heat, but Laredo’s defenders were not intimidated and rarely allowed Texas a chance at scoring.

The victory was the Heat’s second of the season against Texas, which beat Laredo 2-0 in the Heat’s opener in May.