Burroughs soccer wins title in dramatic fashion

BURBANK — It was a dramatic way for the Burroughs High boys' soccer team to end its summer league in the championship game of its own event Thursday evening.

Although the Indians might not have liked the manner in which they had to win the match against Chavez High from San Fernando, they had to be pleased with the eventual outcome.

PHOTOS: Burroughs wins Burroughs Summer League Championship 

Despite having a two-goal lead in the first half, the Eagles came back to tie the contest, 2-2, and that's how regulation ended. Forced to decide the winner on penalty kicks, the Indians seniors stepped up and were perfect, giving the locals a 5-4 victory and a championship in the Burroughs Summer League finale at Luther Burbank Middle School.

The stage for the dramatic ending to the contest was set after the teams began to take their penalty kicks. The first eight players made good on their attempts, with Burroughs' Michael Conrad, Milosh Petko, Brandon Gerlach and Victor Salazar all putting the ball past the Eagles keeper.

But on the ninth attempt, a Chavez player banked his shot off the far post for a miss that opened the door for Burroughs. Nolberto Alcantar then stepped up for the Indians and blasted a shot high and to the right of the goalkeeper to give Burroughs the win.

"I like to be up last in a situation like that because I can see where the goalie likes to throw himself and then I get a better chance with my shot," Alcantar said. "So when I go up there I usually just pick a side and stick to that side. Because if you go up there with second thoughts, that's when you can miss it.

"When I took the shot I didn't know it was in until I saw the ball in the net."

Burroughs assistant coach Gus Gomez said he didn't have to choose which Indians would take the penalty kicks.

"I asked who wants to step up and take it," he said. "If you're confident and say 'I want it,' then I will let you have your chance. All five of my seniors stepped up and told me that they wanted it and they were all able to knock their shots in."

Perhaps the make by Conrad was the most redeeming of the contest. That's because with the score tied at 2 in regulation, Burroughs was awarded a penalty kick with four minutes left when Petko was dragged down in the box. Conrad stepped up and took the shot, but his attempt missed wide left.

"Conrad was the first one who said he wanted to take the first shot in PKs," Gomez said. "He was able to put his shot in and I think he made up for that miss late in the game."

Burroughs opened the game by dominating in the first half. The Indians' offense picked apart the Chavez defense, which led to a flood of shots. However, the Eagles were kept in the game by the fine play of their goalkeeper, David Orellana, who made seven saves in the opening half, many from point-blank range.

Despite the opportunities, the Indians weren't able to capitalize on five good shots in early going of the first half.

But that finally changed in the 29th minute, thanks to a huge effort from Gerlach. The ball bounced toward Orellana on the right side and the keeper came out to make a play. Instead of giving up on the ball, Gerlach battled for it and was able to knock it away before Orellana could secure it. The ball squirted toward the Chavez goal where Alcantar was there to put it in.

The Indians made it 2-0 in the 34th minute when Petko caught up to a pass down the middle, outran two Chavez defenders and powered a shot past the sprawling keeper.

After enjoying a 2-0 lead at the half, Burroughs struggled in the second half, as it created little scoring chances.

"I felt that [Chavez] really turned up the heat in the second half and we didn't play very well," Gomez said. "It was very uncharacteristic of how we usually play. We were coughing up the ball in the middle and that's where both of their goals came from. Maybe it was a little unlucky, and maybe a little sloppy, on our part."

Chavez's Andy Acuchi scored in the 44th minute to make it a one-goal game and Pedro Patino tallied the equalizer in the 62nd minute.

"We will learn from this, and hopefully the guys will be able to get something out of it," Gomez said. "I'm just glad that we won."

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