LOS BANOS — East Union is one more win away from returning to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III final.
Seeded sixth, the Lancers upended Western Athletic Conference champion Pacheco 2-1 thanks to Cristian Perez’s go-ahead goal in the 74th minute on Thursday.
Perez has accounted for three of East Union’s four postseason tallies, and he converted a late penalty kick in its 2-1 victory over El Capitan in the first round.
The Lancers (12-3-8) delivered the first blow in the quarterfinal on Fabrizio Herrera Garrido’s strike assisted by Alberto Gomez. No. 3 Pacheco (21-4-2) tied it up win the 68th minute on a set piece, finding the net off a deflection.
Noe Martinez assisted the game-winner, a chip shot over the keeper by Perez. East Union produced 14 shots against Pacheco’s two, but that did not mean the Lancers dominated.
“That is the best team we’ve played all season,” East Union coach Ronnie Green said. “They’re a strong possession team that plays wide; we just match up well with our system so we were able to counter-attack tonight.
“Their possession was better than ours, to be honest, but we were able to capitalize in transition.”
Second-seeded Patterson (15-3-2), a 2-0 winner over Valley, awaits East Union next Tuesday in the semifinals.
Natomas 5, Sierra 1
SACRAMENTO — Audie Garza finished on a pass from Francisco Becerra as sixth-seeded Sierra (10-9-2) looked to upset the tournament’s No. 3 seed.
It didn’t take long for the potent Nighthawks (15-5-3) to answer, as they scored twice in three minutes and surged to a 4-1 halftime lead. They’ll face off with No. 2 Livingston (16-2-3) on Tuesday.
“We never could regroup,” Sierra coach Joe Pires said of Natomas’ early onslaught. “We had a few good looks but they were faster and played very well on their turf field.”