Mission Viejo-based Pateadores opened U.S. Soccer's Development Academy finals in Milwaukee with a victory, and Southern California's other two entrants -- the Galaxy and Real So Cal -- played to a draw.
Pateadores started U-17/18 play Saturday with a 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls as Jackson McCracken (Manhattan Beach/Mira Costa HS) and Jose Rivera (Torrance/Torrance HS) scored on long-range blasts four minutes apart late in the game.
The Galaxy and Woodland Hills-based Real So Cal finished 1-1 in their opener Sunday in the U-15/16 division. Guatemalan forward Ludwing Vargas (Los Angeles/Salesian HS) gave the Galaxy a 34th-minute lead, and Real So Cal defender Brandon Vincent (Santa Clarita/West Ranch HS) evened the scoreline in the 68th.
Pateadores counted on goalkeeper Jose Cervantes (Lennox/Animo Leadership HS) to keep things even, making three diving or one-on-one stops, before Loyola Marymount-bound McCracken cracked a 25-yarder that fluttered in off Red Bulls goalkeeper Jake Wagmeister's hands in the 76th minute. Rivera's swerving 30-yarder made it 2-0 in the 80th.
“The second half we showed a little bit more of our quality,” Pateadores coach Todd Saldaņa said in U.S. Soccer's news release. “In the second half we made a commitment to make sure we didn't get scored on and hoped as time went on the goal would come.
“Obviously, in an event like this, where you want to get to a final, the first three points and getting off to a good start gives you a lot of confidence the rest of the way.”
Pateadores plays Monday against the Dallas Texans, who topped New Jersey's PDA in the other U-17/18 Group A game. On Tuesday, the Galaxy faces the Dallas Texans and Real So Cal meets the Seattle Sounders. The Texans and Sounders drew, 1-1, in the other U-15/16 Group A game.
The tournament runs through Saturday.