In the 24th minute of Monday's match between Northwestern and Laurel high schools, the Wildcats were awarded a direct free kick immediately outside the box after Spartans goalkeeper Hosea Awo handled the ball beyond the 18.
As a handful of Northwestern players approached the ball, captains Christian Romero and Sammy Kahsai couldn't decide who was going to take the kick. So they fought about it.
Which was a unique approach, considering how easily the Wildcats cruised to a 4-1 victory against the Spartans on the first truly cold day of fall.
“He's arguing for somebody else to take the free kick,” Kahsai said. “If the other guy who wants to take it, he should be arguing for himself. Not you talking to me.”
Ultimately, after the referee broke up the debate, it was neither Kahsai nor Romero who took the kick. It was Elfried Sarabria.
Turns out, Sarabria's strike was just fine, deflecting off Awo and into the goal for the second of what were four goals in Northwestern's victory against Laurel.
The win pushed the Wildcats to 8-0 on the season and spirits are undoubtedly high at the Hyattsville school.
“Laurel allowed us to play a clean game,” Northwestern coach Nigel Trim said. “I was happy, but I still want us to be more aggressive.”
The first goal of the match was fluky, to say the least. In the first minute, Awo slipped while coming off his line, allowing Dennis Pena an open look at the goal from 35 yards out. Pena, a senior, hit a solid drive into an essentially empty net to give Northwestern the early lead.
Laurel didn't have a shot in the first half, but did manage eight shots and a goal in the second half. Striker Kelly Marah, whose work rate was exceptionally high all match, finished a great service on a corner kick by Alfredo Llinas for the Spartans' only goal in the 53rd minute.
Northwestern's third goal was perhaps the game's prettiest as sophomore forward Ngeh Mbah held possession on the flank, deked two defenders and crossed to senior Selvin Jiron, who one-touched it by Awo in the 64th minute.
“I still say we're a work in progress. We don't have too many returning players, so we're still working things out,” Laurel coach Eric Ferguson said.
The final goal of the match, during which Northwestern took 21 shots and won seven corners, was scored by Kahsai on a penalty kick.
Northwestern 4, Laurel 1
Laurel (2-4-1) 0 1 — 1
Northwestern (8-0) 2 2 — 4
Laurel — Kelly Marah (53')
Northwestern — Dennis Pena (1'), Elfried Sarabria (24'), Selvin Jiron (64'), Sammy Kahsai (68')
Laurel — Alfredo Llinas (53')
Northwestern — Ngeh Mbah (64')