Robert Husseman, The Triplicate

Rec league title decided on penalty kicks - with one controversial call

Did Orvel Gonzalez score on his penalty kick, or didn't he?

That was the subject of much discussion at the Del Norte County Recreation Department Men's Indoor Soccer Championships, held Sunday evening at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds' indoor tennis facility. No. 4 seed Gordi Bros faced No. 6 seed Rob's Barbershop for the league title.

Gonzalez, Gordi Bros' goalkeeper, appeared to rattle home the team's seventh penalty kick attempt off both goalposts before referees Paul Suzuki and Israel Chavez waved it off.

On Gordi Bros' next attempt, Fernando Lira found the back of the net to give his team a 2-1 victory (2-1 penalty kicks) over Rob's Barbershop. Nothing controversial about it.

"He didn't play in the game; he was always on the bench," Gordi Bros team captain Efraim Aguilar said of Lira. "He was very confident (lining up for the goal)."

Lira delivered on the eighth penalty kick attempt for Gordi Bros. Rob's Barbershop Ruben Flores led off the best-of-five penalty kicks with a goal; Gordi Bros' Juan Pablo Hernandez tied the score on his team's second attempt.

The goal in indoor soccer is much smaller than that of outdoor soccer; the ball is placed closer to the goal. Successful conversions require accuracy from the shooter and a quick reaction from the goalkeeper.

After Gonzalez's attempt, Gordi Bros erupted in cheers and prepared to accept the first-place trophy before Suzuki and Chavez declared the attempt a miss.

Both teams argued for their respective sides; Suzuki even watched video on a spectator's phone of the attempt to determine his final ruling. Approximately 10 minutes elapsed before Rob's Barbershop attempted its next kick - a fateful miss.

The excitement of the penalty kicks obscured a thrilling game in regulation.

Gordi Bros got on the board first with a strike from Gerardo Flores midway through the first half.

"He's probably the best player we have," Aguilar said. "It was a good goal kick from long distance."

Rob's Barbershop responded with more frequent attacks on the goal, but four point-blank attempts missed, one of which Gonzalez blocked with his body.

Late in the second half, Rob's Barbershop broke through when Gordi Bros relaxed on a physical play where no foul was called. Edgar Baltazar took advantage with a strike to tie the game.

"It got a little intense," Baltazar said.

The two teams, familiar foes, were gracious in victory and defeat, shaking hands and congratulating one another.

"We're going to go and celebrate," Baltazar said. "Second place - not that bad."

The league's third-place game, held before the championship contest, saw Panchos FC defeat Pitufos, 4-3 (4-3 penalty kicks).

Jesus "Chito" Herrera of Pitufos scored his 12th goal of the indoor season in the second half, giving him the men's indoor league scoring title.

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