"I was just hoping I could score a goal after all that stuff," Duarte said of arriving to the game late on Sunday. "I was just happy [after the goal]. I knew we were going to win the championship and bring the Cup back."
Duarte gained confidence once teammate Christian Montillo set up the penalty kick. Duarte launched the ball toward Mariners Christian's goal on a corner kick. Montillo headed the ball at the goal, but a Mariners Christian field player slapped it away and was assessed a red card to give Rea a penalty kick.
Rea Coach Ryan Baker knew he wanted Duarte to take the penalty kick. When the score was tied, 1-1, with 15 minutes left, he was expecting the game would be decided by penalty kicks. He was hoping Duarte could make it in time, just so he could help the Sharks. Turns out, Duarte arrived a bit earlier than expected. And, made the most of his arrival.
"I just changed on the sideline," said Duarte, who led Rea with seven goals in the Daily Pilot Cup. "I put the [Daily Pilot Cup] shirt over my white undershirt. I had my tights on underneath my pants, so I just changed as quick as possible."
Duarte's arrival also gave his team a boost of energy.
"It was exciting," Baker said. "He gave a lift to the team. He showed up and sort of saved the day for us."
The Sharks were also aided by a goal in the first half. Alex Esquival scored on a free kick from about 25 yards out to give Rea a 1-0 lead.
But the Sharks weren't all about offense. Their defense, actually, is what helped put them back in the title game. Last year, they lost in the semifinals.