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April 20, 2024, | Courtesy of

The stars of ECNL Texas were out on Friday night at Round Rock Multipurpose Complex as the East and West squared off in the Continental Tire ECNL National Selection Game.

The game was back and forth throughout the opening half, with both teams creating chances and looking to open the scoring on the night.

In the 43rd minute the West broke the deadlock when Alexis Lopez (California Odyssey) got behind the East defense on a ball played over the top and put it past the keeper to put the West up 1-0.

“We had the ball on the wing, there was space in the middle, and they played the ball into the space and I was able to put it in,” Lopez said. “I’ve never played in front of this many people before and when I scored and celebrated with my team, I won’t forget it.”

The East cranked up the pressure in the second half as they pushed for the equalizing goal, but the West defense held strong most of the way, anchored by a backline that included a strong performance from Jackson Stubbs (Rise SC).

In the closing moments though the East’s efforts paid off when Michael Rios (Rio Rapids SC) fired home a shot from inside the box with the last kick of the game to send it to penalties.

In the penalty kick shootout, Brandan Thomas (Classics Elite SA), Lopez, Julian Walby (Palm Beach United), and Devon Garza (Solar SC) all converted their penalties for the West team, while Julian Tototzintle (San Francisco Elite) and Jareth Mejia (DKSC) converted their attempts for the East team.

The difference maker though was West goalkeeper Gonzalo Gurrola (San Diego Surf) who was named the Player of the Match after saving two penalty kicks to win the game for the West. Gurrola saved the first and last attempts from the East to give the West the 4-2 win in penalties.

Going into the penalties, Gurrola said the coaches told him to just remain confident and believe in himself as he went to warm up for the shootout. He also said the support from everyone who came out to the game made the experience extremely special for all the players.

“This means a lot to me,” Gurrola said after the game. “It’s such a blessed feeling having not only my teammates, but everyone out here. “Not only did I save two PKs, but the atmosphere was just incredible.”

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