On Wednesday night Atlanta United continue their 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup run as they travel to the southern tip of Florida to face off against NASL side Miami FC in the Round of 16. The matchup at Riccardo Silva Stadium is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. EST and will be streamed live online at atlutd.com/live
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup was founded in 1914 and is the oldest soccer competition in the United States and the third longest-running soccer tournament in the world. Open to all amateur and professional soccer teams in the United States, the annual tournament is knock-out style meaning single elimination through each round. This year’s field includes 99 teams from 30 different states making it the largest field the tournament has ever seen.
Miami FC and Atlanta United both received automatic qualification to the tournament and round “byes” because their leagues are classified in the top two tiers of the U.S. Soccer system (MLS, USL, or NASL). Wednesday Miami will host Atlanta in the Round of 16 of this year’s tournament.
The winner of the U.S. Open Cup qualifies directly for the CONCACAF Champions League (formerly the CONCACAF Champions Cup) -- a tournament of the league champions and cup winners from North, Central America and the Caribbean.
For more information regarding the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, click here.
Atlanta United (MLS)
Atlanta United are in the midst of their inaugural season as a 2017 expansion club in Major League Soccer (Tier 1 in the U.S. Soccer system). Currently 7-7-3, Atlanta sit in 6th place in the Eastern Conference standings above the playoff mark. With a total of 33 goals through the midpoint of the season, the expansion side lead the entire league on the scoring charts. Spearheaded by their attacking South American trio in Miguel Almirón, Josef Martinez and Tito Villalba, Atlanta are turning heads and stamping their name in MLS in year one of their existence.
Atlanta hosted the Charleston Battery in the previous round of the U.S. Open Cup and defeated their USL affiliate 3-2 in a late midweek battle. The win marked their first-ever cup victory for the franchise, and the MLS expansion side will hope to continue their undefeated record in cup play as they travel south to Miami.
Miami FC (NASL)
After joining the North American Soccer League (NASL) in 2016, Miami FC has quickly risen from zero to hero. Finishing dead last in the table in last year’s spring season, climbing to fifth in the league’s fall season and now, sitting in prime position to win the 2017 NASL spring season.
Miami has not only boasted the best record and captured the most points thus far, but the south Florida side has also scored the most goals (23) and conceded the least (9) among all eight teams in the league through 13 matches. The championship is within their grasp and a victory at North Carolina on July 4th would allow them to clinch the title.
Behind a hat trick from Brazilian forward Stéfano Pinho, Miami FC took down MLS side Orlando City 3-1 in the previous round of the U.S. Open Cup. Led by head coach and former Italian international player Alessandro Nesta, Miami will hope to shock another MLS opponent in their conquest for the Cup as they host Atlanta on Wednesday night at Riccardo Silva Stadium.