Pateadores scored twice in the final three minutes before stoppage Wednesday, dramatically claiming a berth in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-17/18 title game by the slimmest of margins.
The Mission Viejo-based club's 4-2 victory at the USSDA finals in Milwaukee was just enough to top the Dallas Texans for the No. 1 spot in their group and set up a championship game Friday with FC Dallas' academy side at Marquette University. ESPNU will televise it at 10 a.m. PT.
Pateadores, guided by former UCLA coach Todd Saldaña, was all but out of the title chase as its group-stage finale against New Jersey's PDA headed into the 88th minute. The score was tied, 2-2, and the Texans were up, 3-0, on the New York Red Bulls in the other Group A clash, which had started at the same time.
Maxwell Bauman (Manhattan Beach/Mira Costa HS) headed home a corner kick by Jose Villareal (Lawndale/Leuzinger HS) in the 88th minute for a 3-2 lead, but Pateadores (2-0-1) needed another goal to catch up to the Texans, whose goal difference (plus-4) was better than the Orange Countians' (plus-3). That strike came in the 90th from Roberto Escudero (Placentia/Valencia HS), an open-netter after Irvin Parra-Anaya swiftly fed him after collecting his own rebound.
Pateadores finished first by scoring seven goals, one more than did the Texans (2-0-1).
Parra-Anaya had two first-half goals, both from superb passes by captain Jose Rivera (Torrance/Torrance HS), but PDA (0-3-0) twice rallied to tie, the second time on Noah Sadaoui's goal in the 81st minute.
FC Dallas, part of the Major League Soccer club's academy program, went 2-0-1 in Group B.