190827_OpenCupRecap

ATL UTD lifts second trophy of the season after 2-1 win over Minnesota

Another unforgettable night of silverware for Atlanta United, who raised their second trophy of the season at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as U.S. Open Cup Champions after a 2-1 win over Minnesota United.

Frank de Boer kept with the same team that has been in unstoppable form over the past few weeks, with no changes to the starting lineup from the team that won in Orlando on Friday. The full Starting XI: Brad Guzan (GK), Florentin Pogba (DEF), Leandro González Pirez (DEF), Miles Robinson (DEF), Julian Gressel (DEF), Eric Remedi (MID), Darlington Nagbe (MID), Ezequiel Barco (MID), Justin Meram (LW), Josef Martinez (ST), Pity Martínez (RW).

It looked like Atlanta United had gotten off the board in the opening minute, with Josef Martinez getting behind the back line and finishing past the goalkeeper –– but the referee raised their flag to stop the party in the stands. But the Atlanta United dominance continued and it paid off in the tenth minute with the opening goal. Julian Gressel found Pity Martínez in a pocket of space, and his through ball was perfect to find Leandro González Pirez running behind the back line. The center back got all the way to the end line and his crossed was deflected over the head of the goalkeeper and in the far post.

The Five Stripes would get their second just minutes later, and it came from a moment of individual brilliance on the wing. Justin Meram got space to turn and face his man and got past him with one flick of his ankle. His cross was perfectly into the path of Pity Martínez near the penalty spot, and his first-time finish was too powerful for the goalkeeper and flew into roof of the net.

Just when it seemed Atlanta United was going to run away with it, there was a twist of fate just after the second-half whistle, with Minnesota cutting the lead in half in the 47th minute. Atlanta United’s job got even tougher in the 74th minute when Leandro González Pirez was sent off for a second yellow card offense. But with Franco Escobar and Emerson Hyndman bringing fresh legs off the bench, Atlanta United showed incredible resilience to hold off the Loons attack and keep their 2-1 lead. With a record crowd for an Open Cup final roaring them on through the final minutes, the clocked ticked past 90’ and Atlanta United were crowned 2019 U.S. Open Cup champions.

With their second trophy of the season in the cabinet, the Five Stripes now travel to Philadelphia in their quest for playoff position in the Eastern Conference. Make sure to tune in Saturday as all eyes turn toward league play.

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