"I was trying to score," Molina confirmed, although he also said it was his first time ever scoring a goal off a corner kick.
His play helped overcome the steady play of Andersen midfielder Brett Greenlee, who also had a hat trick in a wild, back-and forth game.
"Everyone played really well," Andersen Coach George Logan, Jr. said. "We just didn't spread out as well, and we didn't mark up on players."
Andersen did get the first goal of the game, as Greenlee struck on a long kick that was assisted by Justin Hanson. But Rea responded just three minutes later, when Molina scored his first goal off a nice centering pass from Diego Herrera.
After constant back-and-forth action, Rea's Arturo Gonzales just missed a shot to the left of the goal late in the half. Greenlee immediately responded, giving his team a 2-1 halftime lead on his long, lofted goal over Rea goalie Jesus Silva.
"It was hard," said Silva of the game, although he held his own with 12 saves. "I had to get up really fast, and dive, and jump really high."
Molina struck again on an impressive goal early in the second half. His long, bouncing shot from around midfield skipped off the hands of Andersen goalie Brett Schisler and in, tying it at 2-2.
Schisler also did a good job in goal, finishing with 11 saves of his own.
"I told them to pass it to me so I could score a half-field goal," Molina said.
Greenlee scored in the very next minute, giving his team a 3-2 lead. But Rea wouldn't be denied. In the 32nd minute, Jacob Chavez' goal off an assist from Johnathon Neri tied the game at 3-3.
Then, Molina's electrifying corner kick came 14 minutes later, the last good scoring opportunity of the game for either team.
"It was exciting," Rea Coach Flavio Cuevas said of his team's opening game. "I already knew who was going to do most of the work and who was going to score, but I feel happy.
"I'm proud of my goalkeeper, and I think we're going to do great (in the tournament)."
Andersen, which finished 1-1 in three-team pool play, lost despite having its second straight hat trick. On Tuesday, it was Areya Aresh who had scored three goals.
Rea (1-0) plays its final pool play game on Friday against Mariners Christian (0-1) at 4 p.m. at the Farm Sports Complex, field No. 6.dpt.01-dpcup-1-kt-CPhotoInfoSS1RHKGE20060601j05yawncKENT TREPTOW / DAILY PILOT(LA)Rea's Juan Perez, left, fires a shot as Andersen goalkeeper Brett Schisler goes for the save attempt during the teams' Daily Pilot Cup match at Costa Mesa High School on Wednesday. Rea prevailed with a 4-3 victory.