Defending City Section Division I soccer champion Birmingham, seeded No. 8 in the tournament, upset No. 1-seeded Granada Hills, 2-1, on Thursday in a quarterfinal game behind freshman Aldo Perez, who scored both goals.
The Patriots had lost twice to Granada Hills in West Valley League play, but strong defense and the ability to take advantage of a couple scoring opportunities propelled Birmingham into a Tuesday semifinal against Bell. It will be a rematch of last year's final won by the Patriots, 2-1.
Birmingham Coach E.B. Madha has been impressed with Perez, who has braces on his teeth and looks like a freshman when he smiles. He has 11 goals this season.
"He shows great composure on the ball," Madha said. "The thing about Aldo is if he's going to score, he's always going to score two or three. Otherwise, he doesn't score any. In two or three years, that kid is going to be phenomenal. He's just got a knack for the goal."
Granada Hills had cut its deficit to 2-1 in the second half on a goal by Mariano Pantoja off a penalty kick.
In the other quarterfinals, Bell defeated Huntington Park, 5-1. Monroe defeated San Fernando, 5-1. El Camino Real received goals from Borna Hashemi, Chris Attanasio and Kayvon Parsa in a 3-1 win over South Gate. El Camino Real will face Monroe in the other semifinal.