SAN FRANCISCO -- Cordell Cato, Mr. Kezar Stadium.
Cato scored the winning goal for the second time in three years at the venue, giving the Earthquakes a 2-1 win over upset-minded Sacramento Republic FC on Wednesday night in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup.
The speedy midfielder from Trinidad scored for the Seattle Sounders to beat the Quakes 1-0 in the Open Cup quarterfinals in 2012. Cato was traded to San Jose from the Sounders in March 2013.
"I've played three games here, and I've scored twice. It's been fun," Cato said.
This time, Cato shot through a crowd in the 73rd minute to break a 1-1 tie. The ball came in from the left, and when Sacramento failed to clear it, Cato caught Republic goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek well off his line.
Next, the Quakes will play the winner of the Sounders and PSA Elite of Tustin game in the fifth round on June 24.
Coach Mark Watson said the Quakes reminded Cato "a couple times" that he owed them one after scoring for Seattle. Quakes fans did, too.
"Cordell had a good memory here with another team, and he did well for us," Watson said. "He was dangerous, especially in the second half."
Otherwise, Sacramento, the Quakes' determined USL Pro affiliate club, gave them a lot of trouble in front of a crowd of 3,788 on a cool night.
"They pressed us, and they worked hard," Cato said. "We knew it was gonna be a tough game. But we kept pressing. We kept pushing. We kept talking on the field and letting each other know that we've got to win, we've got to score, and it happened."
Cato got extra satisfaction from the goal because the keeper denied him with a brave kick save on his rocket shot five minutes earlier.
Sacramento, coming off a 6-0 thrashing of Fresno Fuego in the third round, got the better of the possession for about a 25-minute stretch of the first half.
Things got wild late in the first half.
First, Sacramento's Justin Braun, a noted Quakes killer in his MLS career, gouged them again with a header goal in the 42nd minute on a cross from the left by Chad Bartlome.
But the Quakes equalized on a Khari Stephenson penalty kick in the 45th minute, capping a crazy sequence. The Quakes' Clarence Goodson thought he'd scored on a header off a Cato corner kick, but referee Juan Guzman waved it off and instead awarded the penalty kick.
Steven Lenhart initially stood ready to take the penalty kick before the Quakes coaches intervened.
"Lenny said he had it," Stephenson said, "and I said 'Are you sure?' I gave it to him, and there was some screaming from the bench, 'Khari, Khari,' so I went and took it."
Stephenson said it was "very important" to get the equalizer right after Sacramento scored.
June 24 game
Earthquakes vs. Seattle Sounders or PSA Elite, TBA