Rodrigo Aldana scored three goals and Christian Arteaga and Edwin Sanchez scored one apiece for the Tigers (13-5-2 overall, 9-1 WAC), who led Hilmar (11-5-5, 8-2) by two points entering the final two games of the regular season this week.
The victory also avenges the Tigers’ only blemish in league play, a 2-1 loss to the Yellowjackets at Patterson Community Stadium on Sept. 29. Since then, Patterson has rattled off four straight wins, outscoring opponents 24-4 during that stretch.
“We needed this win,” Patterson coach Greg Hartsell said. “We need teams chasing us — we don’t want to be the chasers.
“I’m really happy about this win. It puts a lot of momentum on our side.”
Patterson opened the scoring seven minutes into the game. Gustavo Molina sent a low cross to Aldana, who was unmarked in front of the goal. Hilmar’s goalie raced off his line to block the shot, but Aldana spun past him and sent the ball into the goal.
Patterson’s elation along the sideline was short-lived, however.
Hilmar’s Kurtis Bettancourt took a pass from Jordan Bettancourt from about 20 yards out, pushing a header over the reach of Tigers’ goalkeeper Luis Torres for the equalizer.
The action continued to seesaw in the first half.
Juan Delgado sent a pass over the Yellowjackets’ defense, placing it directly in front of a waiting Aldana. Aldana pulled the ball onto his right foot and shot into the top corner for his second goal of the match.
Again, Hilmar was quick to respond. This time, Kurtis Bettancourt found Adan Romo for another top-shelf header to even the match at 2-2.
Patterson eventually buckled down and dialed up the pressure on Hilmar.
Aldana took control of the ball and timed a perfect pass, placing the one-timer on the left foot of Sanchez for the go-ahead score late in the first half.
Arteaga put the Tigers up 4-2, taking advantage of Hilmar’s poor spacing and lifting a shot from about 30 yards over the fingertips of the Yellowjackets’ goalie.
The second half proved more of a defensive battle.
While both teams tried to dictate the pace of the game — Hilmar slowing things down for a more physical brand of soccer, Patterson forcing an upbeat tempo — it was the Tigers’ style that eventually won out.
Hilmar appeared frustrated and fatigued down the stretch. Patterson, meanwhile, remained on the offensive.
Molina passed to Aldana, who slid a bounding shot past Hilmar’s goalie to collect his third score and seal the win.
“This is the situation we want to be in,” Hartsell said. “We’ve got to handle our business on our end. We can’t look to other teams to lose games.
“Our destiny is in our hands right now.”
“We want the top spot,” Aldana said. “I think that we are going to finish off great.”
• Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187 or email@example.com.