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Vako scores twice, including game-winner, as San Jose advances to Fifth Round

June 12, 2019 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - San Jose Earthquakes News Release

Vako and the San Jose Earthquakes celebrate a goal against Sacramento Republic FC in the U.S. Open Cup
Vako and the San Jose Earthquakes celebrate a goal against Sacramento Republic FC in the U.S. Open Cup
(San Jose Earthquakes)

SAN JOSE, Calif. - The San Jose Earthquakes defeated Sacramento Republic FC 4-3 in the Fourth Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Saturday evening at Avaya Stadium. With the victory, the Quakes advance to the Round of 16 and will find out their opponent in a draw on Thursday morning.

The two teams traded goals in the first half, heading into the locker rooms at halftime 2-2. San Jose scored two goals late in the match to pull away before Sacramento scored their third of the night to make things interesting just before the final whistle.

Quakes midfielder Vako scored twice, including the game-winner, while Magnus Eriksson and Cristian Espinoza each tallied one. The Earthquakes improved to 3-0 vs. Sacramento all-time in U.S. Open Cup play.


Midfielder Magnus Eriksson scored the Quakes' first goal of the match. It marked his first career goal in U.S. Open Cup play and fourth goal across all competitions this season.

Midfielder Cristian Espinoza scored the Quakes' second goal of the match. It marked his first career goal in U.S. Open Cup play and third goal across all competitions this season.

Midfielder Vako scored two goals, including the game-winner. It marked his first two career goals in U.S. Open Cup play.

San Jose advanced to the Round of 16 for the third time in the last five years (2015, 2017).

The Quakes now hold a 18-15 all-time record in the U.S. Open Cup, including a 16-3 record against non-MLS teams.

San Jose now holds a perfect 3-0 record against Sacramento Republic FC, having defeated the side in 2014, 2015 and 2019.

Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup - Fourth Round

San Jose Earthquakes 4 - 3 Sacramento Republic FC

June 11, 2019 - Avaya Stadium in San Jose, Calif.

Attendance: 7,543

Scoring Summary: SAC - Sam Werner (Villyan Bijev) 2; SJ - Magnus Eriksson (unassisted) 10; SAC - Villyan Bijev (unassisted) 14; SJ - Cristian Espinoza (penalty) 38; SJ - Vako (unassisted) 78; SJ - Vako (Cristian Espinoza) 90+1; SAC - Drew Skundrich (unassisted) 90+3.

Misconduct Summary: SJ - Eric Calvillo (caution) 18; SAC - Matt Mahoney (caution) 45; SAC - Haris Chantzopoulos (caution) 52.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES: Andrew Tarbell; Marcos Lopez, Francois Affolter, Florian Jungwirth (Vako 55), Tommy Thompson; Eric Calvillo (Jimmy Ockford 81), Magnus Eriksson, Siad Haji (Cade Cowell 69), Luis Felipe, Cristian Espinoza; Chris Wondolowski.


SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC FC: Josh Cohen; Shannon Gomez, Haris Chantzopoulos (Mitchell Taintor 65), Matt Mahoney, Jordan McCrary; Ray Saari (Hayden Partain 83), Drew Skundrich, Jaime Villareal, Sam Werner (Stefano Bonomo 68), Villyan Bijev; Cameron Iwasa.



On how he thought the match was played out:

"We knew it was a going to be a difficult match because we studied the opponent and they played really well. Their style put us in tight spots. They came back in two instances. We were trailing, but we were patient to get the ball and find spaces. I really value the younger players who had not been playing and today they got the chance to play in this tournament, in which every match can be our last. Our only option is to win. It's one step at a time, we're onto the next round and it's positive for us, the players, the club and its fans."

On how the penalty awarded to San Jose affected the outcome:

"I always have faith in this team. I'm not waiting for one play or anything particular in a match. I trust in the work the players put in, and I trust our players were prepared for this match. Aside from players with injuries and others travelling with their national teams, I had to make some changes. I made some of the changes because there were some players I wanted to see in action."

On his approach to the U.S. Open Cup and how it affected his team selection:

"We need to be serious about every match we play. We need to do that out of respect for the fans who paid for tickets. This coaching staff lives this sport through passion, and we respect the team directors who gave us this opportunity. From that point, we want to feel accomplished even in training sessions."


On overall play of tonight's win:

"I think that it was a character builder. I didn't think that we played our prettiest or our best, we didn't execute our game plan as well as we would like, but I was very proud of our grit and our grind. I was very proud of the guys that just stepped in and did a great job. You have Cade Cowell making his first meaningful minutes and doing well out there. You have guys like Luis [Felipe] stepping up. I am proud of guys like Magnus [Erikson] and Cristian [Espinoza] in where guys of that statue may take the day off or a minute off but those guys were grinding the whole time. Vako comes in and shows his skill and that was impressive as well".

On Almeyda taking a serious competitive approach to this match:

"I think sometimes coaches use it to get guys minutes, to keep guys in the loop and I think Matias does that on a regular basis. He always does next man up. He wants to win and I think that's very contagious and something that I love and he wants to win this cup and so do I. I think again that is contagious and taken very seriously".

On high momentum heading into layover of league play:

"I think it's great. Again it's a long season and it's been a roller coaster. As we mentioned from the start, even when things weren't going well at the beginning, we had faith but now it's great to see results that are going our way. To see things clicking, see things work, just makes you believe it that much more and you believe in the practices and you want to work harder and again we have a very deep team and I think that breeds competitiveness. Each day some of the hardest but best practices are Thursday when we are going against each other. It's a battle and it's fun and it's making us better."

On the message of halftime that led to the win:

"Matias got into us, but at the same time told us you have nothing to fear with me, you guys have the freedom to play the game. People who have pressure is the person looking for a job, has a family that is sick, those are the people who have pressure. You guys don't have pressure, so go out and enjoy this game, play with that freedom. I think that we didn't underestimate them, but we were tense and that made us a little slow. Matias had a great message and helped us right the ship a little bit".


On his penalty goal:

"I'm glad I was able to score and get the penalty. I'm happy with the confidence of the team, to know their confidence behind me and to score the goal. When I grabbed the ball (after the penalty), nobody had a problem with me kicking it. That shows the unity in the group."

On playing in his first U.S. Open Cup, chemistry change and rotation of players:

"It felt good. It's similar to what happens in the Copa de Argentina. It's the same thing, you always go with teams in a lower division, and sometimes it's the hardest game to prepare for. This team had a focus on every game so there aren't any issues, an issue like today's situation. First few minutes they scored a goal, then they scored again to take the lead later on. These games are probably harder, but we knew that if we were focused and we concentrated, we can win."

Images from this story

Vako and the San Jose Earthquakes celebrate a goal against Sacramento Republic FC in the U.S. Open Cup
Vako and the San Jose Earthquakes celebrate a goal against Sacramento Republic FC in the U.S. Open Cup


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