Atlanta United begins the journey to defend its U.S. Open Cup title on Wednesday, April 20 with a third-round matchup against Chattanooga FC.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw.
The Open Cup match arrives in the thick of MLS play for Atlanta United, filling out a week with MLS matches on either end. Currently in MLS, Atlanta United is 3-2-2 with 11 points in the Eastern Conference table, good enough for fourth place.
This is Atlanta’s first mid-week match of the 2022 season. The club is coming off a 0-0 draw against FC Cincinnati at home on April 16 and will be back on the road this weekend to take on Inter Miami.
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What Is The U.S. Open Cup?
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup returns this year after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Atlanta United is the current champion and won the title in 2019.
The U.S. Open Cup is a single-elimination competition that features teams from a variety of American soccer leagues, including MLS and USL. The U.S. Open Cup is the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the U.S. and the third-longest-running open soccer tournament in the world.
More than 100 teams qualified for this year’s tournament. As an MLS club, Atlanta United enters the tournament in the third round along with 16 other MLS clubs. Rounds 1 and 2 have been completed and feature mostly lower division clubs.
The winner of the Open Cup will win prize money and earn an automatic spot in the 2023 Concacaf Champions League.
About Chattanooga FC
Chattanooga FC is a club based in Tennessee that competes in the NISA, a professional league in the third tier of American soccer. The club has a history of competing in the U.S. Open Cup. This year marks the club’s seventh appearance in the tournament.
Atlanta United enters the tournament in the third round. Chattanooga played in Round 2 and won 3-1 against Memphis 901 FC, a club that plays in USL. It was the highest-level opponent that Chattanooga FC has ever defeated in competitive play.
“They are here for a reason,” Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda said. “We have to take it as any other opponent, the best of their abilities.”
This will be the second all-time meeting between the two sides. Chattanooga FC hosted Atlanta United for a preseason friendly back in 2017 before Atlanta United’s MLS debut. The 5-Stripes won the meeting 4-0.
Playing In Kennesaw
The match on Wednesday kicks off at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Ga. home to Atlanta United 2 and Kennesaw State University.
It’s a different home venue for the 5-Stripes this year, but a place where the first team has found success. Atlanta United has never lost at Fifth Third Bank Stadium, and when it won the U.S. Open Cup in 2019, the team had two wins there against Charleston Battery and St. Louis FC.
Additionally, Atlanta United has outscored opponents 19-3 at that venue.
Kickoff for Atlanta United and Chattanooga FC is 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20.
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
As the reigning champs, Atlanta United's quest to defend its U.S. Open Cup title starts on Wednesday!