BY JIM MISUNAS
Garden City converted its break into the game-winning goal. Great Bend missed an opportunity to play with a man advantage when a yellow card for whistled for an aggressive foul against the Panther goalie.
The Buffaloes escaped with a hard-fought 2-1 Western Athletic Conference soccer victory Tuesday over Great Bend on Jesus Macias’ penalty kick at the 30:19 mark of the second half. Panther Alberto Hernandez was whistled for a foul in the penalty area on Macias.
The next break also swung the Buffaloes’ way when Macias collided with Panther goalie Ishmael Rodriguez with 9:43 left to play. A yellow card was called when a red card could’ve been whistled.
“The player can make a full effort to the ball,” said Great bend coach Jesus Loera, Jr. “His momentum didn’t slow down and our goalie had the ball in his hands. He didn’t make an effort to avoid that impact. That should’ve been more than a yellow. But that’s the call he made.”
The game was tied 1-1 at halftime. Garden City’s Alonso Vera fed Brian Carrera with a perfect pass at the 21:31 mark. Great Bend’s Oscar Martinez, the Panthers’ chief offensive threat, capped a strong run with a goal against Joe Betanco at the 20:54 mark.
Garden City strikers Salvador Bustos, Brian Carrera and Macias kept the Panthers busy with a nice mix of passing and attacking in the Panthers’ defensive end.
Great Bend defenders Junior Franco, Luis Zamarripa, Alberto Herandez and Josue Rodriguez backed up their goalie time-after-time with strong defensive plays. Their scrappy play and alert help assisted Rodriguez, who made several solid saves.
“We need to keep our intensity for 80 minutes,” Loera said. “We kept it close without much control of the ball in the second half. We’ve got to create more offensive opportunities.”
The Panthers (3-6, 1-3 WAC) played a clean game with few fouls and no yellow cards, which pleased Loera.
“We kept battling,” he said. “I’m proud of our discipline and character. We’re not picking up silly yellow cards and that helps us keep the momentum.”
Great Bend’s offensive rallies were few and far between as the Buffaloes dominated time of possession. Panther Oscar Martinez led the offense with Jesus Sanchez and Humberto Alonzo.
“Garden City plays well and this league is tough,” Loera said. “If we address our issues, we can come out with some wins.”
BUFFALOES 2, PANTHERS 1
GC 1 1 — 2
GB 1 0 — 1
GC—Brian Carrera, Alonso Vera, assist, 21:31; GB—Oscar Martinez, 20:54; GC—Jesus Macias, penalty kick, 30:19.
Gaolies—GC, Joe Betanco, GB—Ishmael Rodriquez.
Records—GC 6-3, (3-2 WAC); GB 3-6 (1-3 WAC).