SAN ANTONIO FC U-16/17 TAKES DOWN PATEADORES IN WILD 6-4 TILT IN ALLSTATE WINTER CUP OPENER

By Michael Lewis

Following a nationwide Fall Group Stage, 32 teams qualified to the Winter Cup and were drawn into eight groups of four teams. The eight group winners will advance to the Spring Cup with the chance to be crowned the inaugural DA Cup champion. More information on the Winter Cup tournament format can be found here.

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. (Dec. 5, 2019)-- If you're a goal-starved soccer fan, then the San Antonio FC-Pateadores game would have satiated your appetite and then some on Thursday evening.

San Antonio FC made the most of its scoring opportunities as it survived a wild 6-4 win over Pateadores in one of the most entertaining and highest scoring games at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Boys Under-16/17 Winter Cup.

Fabrizio Bernal paced the winning side with a hat-trick that include two highlight-reel goals. Teammate Rafael Javalera added two goals, one on either side of halftime to help San Antonio to an opening Group C victory.

The opening 45 minutes were action-packed with a number of quality goals. Despite being outplayed and out-possessed, San Antonio grabbed a 3-2 halftime advantage by scoring on its three opportunities. In the seventh minute, Pateadores goalkeeper Steven Ruiz came several yards out of the penalty area and could not control the ball. Javalera took advantage of the open net and sent a two-bounce shot home for a 1-0 lead.

Six minutes later, however, Pateadores equalized at 1-1 on center back Joel Smith's penalty kick into the lower left corner after Dakota Franke fouled Jack Flanagan in the box.

Bernal then took center stage with the first of two memorable goals. He scored off a brilliant run from the midfield to the top of the area, where he connected for a 2-1 San Antonio advantage in the 26th minute.

Pateadores, based in Costa Mesa, Calif., knotted it up again at 2-2 in 31st minute. After he was fouled 24 yards out, Flanagan took a quick free kick while San Antonio was setting up for the spot piece. Flanagan chipped the ball into the upper right corner past a stunned goalkeeper Jude Bosshardt, though Bosshardt was able to keep the Texas side afloat with several fine first-half saves. Bernal then demonstrated his savvy in another way in the 37th minute, chipping Ruiz from 40 yards for that 3-2 halftime lead.

San Antonio increased its margin to 4-2 in the 55th minute as Rafael Javalera converted a counterattack when his shot was deflected by Pateadores defender Michael Best and into the net.

Pateadores refused to go quietly though as it fought back to pull within 4-3 in the 69th minute. Andrew McGee sent a right-wing cross to Flanagan at the far post. Flanagan, in turn, found an open Diego Nava, who had an easy tap-in.

San Antonio regained its two-goal cushion in the 73rd as Rowdy Fritz knocked in Trace Ibrahim's left-wing cross from point-blank range for a 5-3 margin. But Pateadores was not finished- combining sheer effort and skill, McGee worked his way from the top of the penalty area to beat Bosshardt from in close to pull the California club within 5-4.

Magee suffered an injury on the goal and was replaced by Connor Rivas in the 81st minute.

Pateadores pushed for the equalizer in the waning moments, but it was San Antonio that found the net three minutes into stoppage time. Bernal, despite cramping up near the end, converted an Ibrahim feed from the left side to put the finishing touches on one memorable match.

An interesting tidbit: Franke wore a three-digit number for San Antonio -- 150, certainly a rarity in all sports, including soccer.