Kentucky moves to 2-0 in C-USA play
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Freshman Aimé Mabike fired home his first career goal, a penalty kick two seconds before halftime, and that proved to be enough for No. 13-ranked Kentucky men’s soccer team’s stout defense as the Wildcats won 1-0 at the vaunted New Mexico Soccer Complex on Saturday night.
Kentucky has taken a maximum six points from two Conference USA matches and improved it’s 2017 record to won 5, lost 1, drew 1. The Wildcats broke New Mexico’s 14-match unbeaten run in Albuquerque dating to October 27, 2015. UNM was 12-0-2 in that stretch.
UK also broke a UNM four-match winning streak as the Lobos dropped their C-USA opener and are now 4-3-0 overall.
Mabika stepped to the spot when the referee pointed to the penalty spot after a New Mexico defender handled Kevin Barajas’ free kick inside the box with seconds remaining in the first half. He sent the goalkeeper diving the wrong way to his left and smashed the ball into the back of the net with the last kick of the opening stanza.
“I think the team is feeling pretty good,” senior captain Landon Souder said. “Obviously we were a little shaken up by the Cincinnati loss (on Tuesday), but we regrouped and came back here. Big win on the road and a shutout. We’re 2-0 in the league and ready to keep it rolling.”
The other action
The goal came after neither goalkeeper was troubled much in the first half. New Mexico had the better of the run of play on balance, certainly looking dangerous on some early set pieces, but UK goalkeeper Enrique Facusse was only called upon to stop a shot once.
Kentucky bossed the early going of the second half, and then New Mexico looked dangerous the last couple dozen minutes of the 90, but like so many times before Kentucky remained resolute in defense.
Kentucky won at New Mexico for the second game in a row and extended its regular-season (not including conference tournament) win streak against the Lobos to four. New Mexico and UK drew 2-2 in the C-USA Tournament last November with the Lobos advancing on penalties although that match is recorded as a draw by the NCAA.
Kentucky leads the series 4-1-1 all-time. UK now has a 2-1 advantage in games played at UNM.
All four of Kentucky’s wins in the series have been by 1-0 a score line.
Kentucky made three changes from the starting 11 from Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to Cincinnati. That said, Kentucky began the match with the same lineup that won the C-USA opener against UAB.
Kentucky was coming off its first loss of the year (1-0 to Cincinnati on Tuesday at The Bell).
Kentucky is off to a 2-0 start in C-USA for the first time since 2015.
Kentucky improved to 3-0-1 on the road this season.
UK has scored eight and conceded four goals this season. UK has won each of its first two C-USA matches by scores of 1-0.
UK has yet to concede a goal in weekend matches.
Two-time reigning C-USA Defensive Player of the Week Enrique Facusse kept his fourth clean sheet of the season.
The next one
Kentucky will host Xavier at The Bell on Wednesday.