Atlanta, Ga. – Atlanta United have won their second trophy of the calendar year, and their second major trophy overall. Their 2-1 defeat of Minnesota United netted them the US Open Cup.
Atlanta United Win 2019 US Open Cup
Atlanta United scored two goals six minutes apart to carry them to through the 90 minutes. Minnesota United didn’t have much of an answer in the first half, but Robin Lod’s goal just 69 seconds into the second half gave Minnesota a decent amount of life.
Leandro Gonzalez Pirez picked up two yellow cards within three minutes to get Atlanta down to 10 men, setting up for a big push from the Loons over the final 15 minutes. Their best chance came in the fourth minute of stoppage time, as Ike Opara’s header back across goal was set up perfectly for Michael Boxall to smash home, but instead he sent it over the crossbar.
Atlanta United have won their third technical trophy in 226 days. While the Campeones Cup isn’t technically a major trophy, the US Open Cup and MLS Cup are, and what they’ve been able to accomplish in their first three years of existence is more than some teams who have been in the league since its inception. A legacy of success to begin though has set the tone for expansion clubs and pressured furthered the development of clubs who have long since been in the league.
One: Atlanta United were pragmatic in a final yet again. They got what they needed then conserved energy, shut up shop, and picked up whatever counter-attack came their way. They also pressured in the middle third, heavily, disallowing any fluid Loons buildup. Only until Minnesota went direct did they start to get good looks.
Two: For some reason, Minnesota United decided to keep Darwin Quintero and “The Lab” on the bench for a good portion of the match. It proved to be a fateful decision as Minnesota’s attack was disjointed and lacking in creativity for a majority of the match. By the time he joined the action, Minnesota had to go direct and couldn’t quite utilize him how he wanted.
Three: Leandro Gonzalez Pirez’s two yellow cards were more than deserved. He picked up one for diving and trying to earn a call, then screaming at the referee while standing over Molino. Two minutes later he dragged Molino down off the ball to deny Minnesota a counter-attacking opportunity. However, Minnesota were also lucky to be at full strength through the rest of the match. Ozzie Alonso, already on a yellow card, came in late and high. His tackle got nothing of the ball and planted his cleat firmly on the shin of the Atlanta United player. Somehow he escaped a second yellow. But in the end, those decisions didn’t matter as Atlanta, the deserved winner on the night, came out on top.