PATTERSON — A free kick midway through the first half was the difference in East Union’s 1-0 loss to third-seeded Patterson on Thursday.
The early cushion allowed Patterson (14-3-3) to go into a defensive shell and stifle the Lancers’ quick-striking forwards for the remainder of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III quarterfinal. The Tigers head to No. 2 Oakdale next Wednesday in the semifinal round.
“We played to win and we played a good game,” East Union coach Victor Polanco said. “But Patterson defends the goal really well. They had nine guys on defense in the second half.”
Patterson has surrendered just 17 goals in 20 matches and one in its last five. East Union (12-4-2) did manage to test Carlos Moreno, Patterson’s standout goalie. Lino Cerda had East Union’s best chance, but his well-struck free kick from 20 yards out was saved by Moreno.
The Lancers had one last shot with a late direct kick, but Gerardo Romero was off target on the attempt. There were several other opportunities in the final minutes on corner kicks and long throw-ins but East Union couldn’t capitalize.
“(Patterson) played very smart in the second half and was defensive,” Polanco said. “They also have a very good goalie.”