SAN FRANCISCO -- A tense U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match between the San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders finished 1-0 in favor of the visitors, when Sounders midfielder Cordell Cato scored through the legs of Earthquakes goalkeeper David Bingham in the 19th minute.
The match played at historic Kezar Stadium in San Francisco drew a crowd of 7,219, but the majority in attendance went home unhappy when the Earthquakes were unable to continue a season of late-game magic with an equalizing goal.
With the setting sun shining directly into their eyes, the Earthquakes found it difficult to muster anything on offense to start the game. By the 9th minute San Jose finally found a seam in the Seattle defense, when Rafael Baca carried the ball into the top left corner of the area. He squared the ball to Shea Salinas 15 yards from goal, but his shot was weakly taken and Sounders goalkeeper Andrew Weber made the easy save.
The Sounders began to turn the momentum to their advantage over the next quarter hour, and were rewarded for their efforts in the 19th minute when they broke through for the games opening goal. A pass across the top of the Earthquakes penalty area was misjudged by defender Ike Opara and fell to the feet of Sounders midfielder Cato. With Justin Morrow stabbing at the loose ball, Cato rounded the Earthquakes defender and drove the ball to the endline. He elected to shoot to the near post, and managed to sneak the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Bingham for the Seattle goal.
The remainder of the first half saw the intensity on the field increase as both teams tried their best to wrest control of the game, but the score stayed 1-0 in favor of Seattle to the interval.
The second half brought even more physical play and the behavior from both sides tested the patience of the referee. In the 49th minute, the referee produced the first yellow card of the game to Alan Gordon.
The Earthquakes went to their bench in the 53rd minute and inserted the first-team forward tandem of Chris Wondolowski and Steven Lenhart. The match immediately turned in San Joses favor, but the ability to finish on a host of scoring opportunities went by the wayside.
In the 82nd minute, a yellow card was awarded to Seattle midfielder Andy Rose for a hard tackle on substitute Marvin Chavez. The resulting free kick was well struck into the area, but punched away from Weber. On the play, Lenhart was knocked hard to the grass, which caused an uproar from his teammates toward the referee, but no call was given.
As the match entered six minutes of stoppage time, the Earthquakes continued to press for the equalizer. A throw-in from Steven Beitashour in the 95th minute was flicked toward the mix of players and popped out to the top of area. Defender Victor Bernardez stepped into the loose ball and unleashed a volley that took a deflection off a defender. The Earthquakes claimed a hand ball against Seattle, but the referee did not agree. The match ended less than a minute later.
Having been eliminated from the Open Cup, the Earthquakes will now turn their attention to their next league match on Saturday, June 30, when they host the Los Angeles Galaxy at Stanford Stadium.