After his third overtime goal hit the back of the net, Valcher Leao Jr. finally felt as though he had done enough.
Both of the Mission junior’s previous two goals had given the Bears overtime leads against Fremont of Oakland in the third and deciding game of the Transbay boys’ soccer series. But each time, he had taken the ball out of the net and raced it back to midfield.
But after Leao completed his hat trick and scored the final goal in Mission’s 4-2 win over the Tigers in the final seconds of the 20 minute overtime, he allowed himself a smile and celebrated with his teammates.
For the second consecutive year, Mission was Transbay champion.
“That was a beautiful moment,” said Leao, a junior transfer student from Goiania, Brazil. “I was still a little nervous after each of the first two goals, but after the third I thought ‘OK, we’re almost done.’”
Mission (23-6-2) danced with its fans in the near-darkness after the final whistle, but the afternoon almost ended much earlier and on a far less festive note for the Bears.
Fremont went ahead 1-0 on Eder Aregon’s one-touch goal in the 35thminute and held the lead until late in the second half. Mission began playing more and more aggressively in search of the equalizer, which finally came when Juan Aguilar headed home Marvin Jimenez’s perfectly placed corner kick in the 68th minute.
“I think the whole team was getting a little nervous,” Aguilar said. “I was hungry for that goal and we got encouraged by it.”
And when neither team could score in the remaining 12 minutes of regulation, it set up an overtime that was dominated by Jimenez and Leao.
Jimenez assisted on each of Leao’s first two goals, sending perfect crosses from the right wing on each one. On the first, the 6-foot Leao went to the ground to volley a shot home in the 82nd minute.
But after Fremont’s Ubaldo Orona scored a spectacular goal from the left wing in the 92nd minute, more heroics were needed. Jimenez calmly sprinted down the right wing again, placing another perfect centering pass on to Leao, who put it home in the 96th minute to put Mission ahead 3-2.
“This is actually the first time my crosses have ever been that accurate,” Jimenez said. “It was senior year, my last game. My right leg knew it had to come through.”
Leao added his final goal in the 100th minute off a pass from Roberto Escobar to set off the Bears’ celebration.
Mission 4, Fremont 2 (OT)