TUKWILA, Wash. – David Estrada knows a thing or two about seizing an opportunity when it’s presented.
The third-year Seattle Sounders forward got his big break when he started up top against Santos Laguna in CONCACAF Champions League action earlier this year, responding with a goal. Since then, he’s scored five more goals in MLS and now has a team-leading 14 starts across all competitions.
So it was with particular satisfaction that he watched teammates Cordell Cato and Sammy Ochoa have breakout performances in Wednesday’s US Open Cup match. Ochoa scored his first two competitive goals of the season and Cato had an assist on the eventual game-winner, while also dazzling fans with some impressive footwork and crossing ability.
“I’ve been harping on Sammy Ochoa and Cordell Cato, two guys that I’ve trained with a lot,” Estrada said. “You could kind of see what they bring to the table and some of the fans were able to see that.”
Ochoa scored both of his goals with his left foot, one coming from close range, the other a curling effort inside the far post.
“I don’t know if he can remember the last time he scored two goals with his left foot in a game,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said afterward. “They were well finished, both goals. That’s the way he can play. We just need him to come out like that all the time. It was a good opportunity for him.”
Cato’s performance was a little harder to appreciate just by looking at the scoresheet. The 19-year-old’s speed has always been obvious, but the extended runout allowed him to showcase some on-the-ball and passing skills that haven’t been quite as apparent. He easily could have had one or two more assists, constantly created dangerous opportunities on the right side and nearly scored his first Sounders goal with a shot around the 60th minute that rebounded off the far post.
“I think their left back now knows his name,” Estrada said about Cato.
Next on the list: Making sure the rest of the league knows it as well.
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.