Debo Akinsanya’s position switch saves T.F. United in shootout

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Debo Akinsanya thought she had won Thursday’s game for T.F. United when she scored to give her team a 4-3 lead with six minutes to go.

Instead, Eisenhower rallied to force overtime.

“It was hard,” Akinsanya said. “It was a back-and-forth game and they came back and tied it. We had to keep our heads up.”

In the shootout, Akinsanya changed positions to help make sure victory would be United’s this time. She made a key save as T.F. United won the shootout 4-2 to earn a 5-4 win in a South Suburban crossover in Calumet City.

“Debo is one of our most athletic girls and we’ve used her before in goal in shootouts,” T.F. coach Alejandro Lagunas said. “She came in and helped us out. This was an ugly game. We got lucky.”

The shootout was tied at 2 after two rounds before Akinsanya batted down Mireya Botello’s shot.

“It’s always a surprise when I play goalie,” Akinsanya said. “I just try to stay on my toes, heighten my reflexes and read the shooter’s eyes.”

Crystal Chavez scored to give United (8-6, 5-4) the lead and – after an Eisenhower shooter fired wide – Monica Munoz scored to finish off the win.

Munoz, who recorded a hat trick in regulation, misfired and Eisenhower goalie Chantal Esparza got a piece of it, but not enough as it trickled by her and over the goal line.

“I was kind of indecisive about where I was going to shoot it,” Munoz said. “I decided at the last second and I ended up hitting it right down the middle. I was shocked when it went in.”

Eisenhower (7-9, 5-6) led 3-1 late in the first half behind two goals from Cecia Esquivel and one from Maria Marin, but Munoz scored her second goal of the game with two minutes left in the first half and her third two minutes into the second half.

After Akinsanya gave United the lead, Eisenhower found the equalizer with four minutes left in regulation when Marin was taken down from behind, but was able to slip a pass ahead to Zulma Montoya, who finished.

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