SAN JOSE, Calif. – Cordell Cato gave a blunt assessment when asked how he thought his San Jose Earthquakes debut went.
“Personally, I didn’t do anything,” Cato (above) told MLSsoccer.com. “And that’s not good for me.”
It wasn’t good for the Quakes, either. Coach Frank Yallop brought on second-year midfielders Sam Garza (in the 72nd minute) and Cato (79th), plus rookie forward Adam Jahn (83rd) in his attempt to wring a point from the team’s season-opening game last weekend.
None of the three made a substantial impact in what eventually went in the books as a 2-0 loss to Real Salt Lake.
“Joao Plata comes on and makes a difference for them,” Yallop said, referring to the RSL substitute who delivered a game-winning assist just six minutes after coming on the pitch. “And I’m not having a go at the guys that come on [for us], but no one made a difference.”
With the ability last season to summon seasoned attackers from the bench, San Jose scored 40 goals in the 60th minute or later, 22 in the or beyond the 75th, and nine in second-half stoppage time. Even with attackers Marvin Chávez, Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart unavailable Sunday, the Quakes were still happy with the number of significant scoring chances they generated in the first hour against RSL. One could argue that, with better finishing from Chris Wondolowski and Mike Fucito, San Jose would have been up by two or three goals at halftime.
But if the Quakes were able to mask their injury problems in the opening 60 minutes, the absences robbed Yallop of any chance to influence the outcome in the last half-hour.
Cato, acquired this winter after spending last season with Seattle, wants to change that. The Trinidad & Tobago youth international originally spent several weeks in San Jose during the tail end of the Quakes’ disappointing 2011 season, but the Sounders won his services by virtue of holding a Discovery claim.
The Sounders allowed Cato to train with the Quakes during preseason, and after San Jose sent their fourth-round pick in the 2014 Supplemental Draft for his services, the 20-year-old hopes to prove Yallop’s faith justified.
“It’s way harder than it seems,” Cato said of making an impact as a sub. “Coming into the game, the speed of the game is so fast. ... It’s really difficult. But then you’ve got to come in and calm your nerves down and just settle as quickly as possible and do the things that need to be done in that game for the team to win.”
Can that happen this coming Sunday against New York?
“It was the first game, so all the mistakes, we let them out,” Cato said. “Hopefully we go forward and do a lot better.”