SOCCER: Garza's Twin Kicks Cap Big Night for Texans, Pasadena ISD Teams

SOCCER: Garza's Twin Kicks Cap Big Night for Texans, Pasadena ISD Teams
Posted on 03/08/2014
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Sam Rayburn soccer players join with Texans fans in celebrating their shootout victory over Memorial on Friday night.
0635The record will show that Sam Rayburn’s boys soccer team posted a 5-4 shootout victory over Memorial on Friday night in a crucial District 22-5A contest that had stalled out as a 2-2 tie. But don’t blame the Texans’ Alexis Garza for forever recalling the shootout score as 6-4.

Garza was forced to repeat what appeared to be the decisive penalty kick. His second kick followed the first – into the net – sealing an intense game that ended with a pinch of controversy over whether Garza should have even been allowed the second kick.

It all boiled down to a breakthrough performance for the Texans, who now sit in the driver’s seat for what would be the first district championship in school history. The showdown with Memorial, which held first place by a mere point going in, was witnessed by a raucous crowd of about 500 at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The Mavericks jumped to an early 2-0 lead, but the Texans evened it with a goal late in the first half and another early in the second. Then, with the tie in the books, the crowd was treated to one of the most memorable shootouts in the history of Pasadena ISD soccer – complete with a concluding rush to the rule book to confirm the legality of Garza’s second kick.

When it was all squared up, each team had picked up a point in the standings for the tie. But the Texans earned an additional point for the shootout victory.

And with that extra point, Sam Rayburn managed to tie Memorial atop the 22-5A standings, each with an 8-0-3 record and 28 points. If the race had ended Friday night, the Texans would have claimed the district title on the basis of their goal differential (goals scored versus goals allowed) in district games.

Sam Rayburn has a plus-19 differential. Memorial is at plus-16.

Still, the Texans have the rougher road over the final three games of district play. Sam Rayburn must still play Dobie and Pasadena. Both the Longhorns and Eagles – along with the Texans and Mavericks – are playoff-bound. Pasadena is only four points back in the standings and the Eagles have the best goal differential in the district at plus-25.

Memorial concludes the regular season with Pearland, South Houston and Alvin -- none of which will qualify for the post-season.

The Texans-Mavericks shootout could hardly have been more dramatic. The first eight penalty kicks hit their mark. But with the count at 4-4, Sam Rayburn goalkeeper Matthew Gutierrez lunged to his right and collared a kick by Memorial’s Damian Guerra.

That put Garza in a situation where he could win the shootout with a successful kick. He rammed it off the crossbar and into the net, setting off a celebration by his teammates in front of the Texans’ contingent in the stands. The head referee, however, waved off the kick and instructed Garza to come back and try again.

Garza, the referee said, had paused in his approach to the ball, a feint that nullified the kick. Garza calmed lined up again and made his do-over, setting off a second Texans celebration.

Memorial Coach Scott Macneish objected, saying that Garza’s first kick should have been disallowed completely and that the shootout should have continued with the count at 4-4. Macneish asked for a check of the rules and the officials complied. After a quick consultation of the rule book in the locker room, the outcome was confirmed.

For Pasadena ISD soccer, overall,  it was a night to celebrate. Even with three games to play, both the boys and girls playoff slates are now set – and for the second year in a row, Pasadena ISD boys teams have claimed all four playoff slots.

On the girls side, Memorial and Dobie will be in the 22-5A post-season field along with Pearland and Alvin. Memorial and Pearland appear headed for a district championship showdown next Tuesday at Pearland High School. Game time is 5 p.m.

The Memorial boys tied Sam Rayburn 1-1 last month with a shootout victory tacked on. The Mavericks appeared to be on their way to an outright victory in the rematch.

Memorial scored two goals in the first 15 minutes andn appeared to be in control. Omar Torrez scored on a header and Santiago Gonzalez made it 2-0 with a breakaway down the left side.

But the Texans seized the momentum late in the first half. Freshman Johnny Almendarez broke through and put up a chip shot into an open net for Sam Rayburn’s first goal. Early in the second half, Jose Hernandez scored with a rocket from 60 feet out to tie it up.

Sam Rayburn goalkeeper Matthew Gutierrez leads the Texans fans in cheers after his save on a shootout penalty kick.

Memorial's Nahum Sanchez (6) and Sam Rayburn's Ivan Rosales (10) fight for control of the ball in the first half.

Sam Rayburn's Jose Hernandez celebrates after his second-half goal tied the game at 2-2.

Texans fans rejoice in their team's comeback.

Memorial's Nahum Sanchez (6) hangs close to Sam Rayburn's Ivan Carrillo.

Sam Rayburn's Allen Batres (23) pushes a shot on goal as Memorial's Raymundo Guajardo defends during second-half action. Memorial goalkeeper Eliazar Ojeda came through with the save.

Sam Rayburn (in white) sets its defense with the game deadlocked midway through the second half.

Airborne in their attempts to head the ball are Memorial's Nahum Sanchez (6) and Sam Rayburn's Alexis Garza (8) and Miguel Elizondo (14).

Sam Rayburn goalkeeper Matthew Gutierrez (1) chases down the ball as teammates rush in to assist.

The Texans pose for a team photo after the game, with five-finger salutes for LaTrone Williams, the Sam Rayburn sports standout killed in a car crash last fall. Williams wore No. 5 during his career at Sam Rayburn.