PREVIEW (August 5, 2019) – The 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinals are taking place this week. First Orlando City host Atlanta United on Tuesday night. Then, in a rematch of their league game on Sunday, Minnesota United host Portland Timbers.
U.S. Open Cup Semifinals Preview: Massive for all Four Teams
These U.S. Open Cup Semifinals are massive for all four of these clubs. None of them have ever won the Open Cup. Atlanta and Portland each have an MLS Cup, having played eachother in the final last year.
All four need to finish the season strong.
Orlando and Minnesota have never been to the playoffs. With Allainz Field opening up this year, there are expectations for the Loons to make the playoffs. Adrian Heath’s men have had some exciting but unconvincing home performances. The same can be said for Portland who re-opened a renovated Providence Park earlier this summer. After Wednesday, they will play 10 straight league matches at home.
Things have not gone great the whole year in Atlanta. Frank de Boer has not adjusted well to MLS or the South American-influenced locker room. Players have been outspoken that things aren’t great and they’re concerned they might not figure it out in time to defend their MLS Cup title properly.
Orlando are on the outside of the playoff picture right now. Despite spending money and bringing in Nani, they haven’t found consistency. The club isn’t playing up to the level befitting of their support and they’ve been quick to fire managers in the past for not getting results in the second year.
All three clubs would immediately be able to claim mission accomplished for 2019 by winning the Open Cup. It would take pressure off each of the managers, save Giovanni Savarese in Portland who’s job is probably safe even if they miss the playoffs. Orlando and Minnesota would be able to say progress was made even if they miss the playoffs. Perhaps a championship would relieve some pressure on De Boer and Atlanta from having to repeat with another MLS Cup.
Orlando City have never beaten their southern rivals Atlanta in any competition. A win would be massive for their morale regardless of what happens in the final.
These U.S. Open Cup semifinals are massive for all four teams. A trophy would be a huge accomplishment and boost to the rest of their 2019 and next year as well. May the best and most desperate side become first time Open Cup Champs.