U.S. Open Cup Recap: Atlanta move on to the Semi-Finals and face Orlando

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Saint Louis FC at Atlanta United FC
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Atlanta United and Saint Louis F.C. met at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw as the Quartefinal matchups of the U.S. Open Cup took place on Wednesday.

Atlanta was looking to advance to their first Semi-Final appearance in team history as they are coming off U.S. Open Cup victories in the previous rounds against the Charleston Battery and Columbus Crew.

Meanwhile, Saint Louis F.C. were coming off impressive performances over MLS teams in the previous cup rounds including victories over F.C. Cincinnati and the Chicago Fire.

This match would be more challenging and difficult for United as Saint Louis have made a deep run already in the competition and having already beat two MLS teams, they must be taken seriously.

The starting XI was not much different from the one on Sunday’s in the 3-3 draw vs. the Red Bulls except that Emerson Hyndman would make his debut in the United starting XI. Recently acquired on loan from English Premier League AFC Bournemouth, Hyndman has played in the Premier League and Scottish Premier League with Hibernian and Rangers Football Club so he has experience playing in European Leagues and including appearances he’s made with the U.S. Men’s National Team and Youth Team sides.

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The first half of the match was a pretty frustrating one for United as the 5-Stripes had numerous opportunities to take the lead over Saint Louis, even possibly scoring up to two or three goals. Pity Martinez had a shot that just went wide of the post and another chance that was saved by the goalie, very active in the first half but just could not find the back of the net heading into the half.

Saint Louis also had a chance to take the lead in the 36th minute from a corner kick as the cross was floated into the box and the header from a Saint Louis player hit the post, narrowly giving the away side the opener. In the second half, Pity Martinez would score in the 52nd minute off a ball won by Hyndman giving him his first assist as a United player and Pity Martinez’s second goal of the season in all competitions and it was a curling beauty, similar to the one he scored against Orlando, in my opinion though the one against Orlando was a lot better, but who cares United scored that’s all that matters.

Pity Martinez embraced his goal as many unaccredited reports claimed he might be sent out on loan somewhere else for the rest of the season, glad that he silenced the haters for now and Head Coach Frank De Boer denied those claims as well. Pity also refused to give comments after the game to the media for two obvious reasons. One, in Argentina where he previously played they don’t interview players often if at all like they do hear in the States. Two, the media and journalists have been giving him a hard time anyway with all these rumors about him getting loaned out so he likely was just not in the mood at all to give feedback, which in my opinion is totally reasonable and his choice to do so, I would do the same if I were him.

The second and final goal came in the 95th minute late in stoppage time as United were awarded a penalty for a foul on Dion Pereira in the box. As usual, Josef the goal scoring king buried the penalty and gave United the 2-0 lead and victory to close out the night in a finishing way. Atlanta United will head down to Florida and take on Orlando in the Semi-Finals of the U.S. Open Cup either on August 6th or 7th, official date TBD. If Atlanta were to advance to the Final, the Final would be at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The Final, according to multiple sources would likely take place in Late August and if Atlanta were to defeat Orlando, they would host the winner of the other Semi-Final meeting between Minnesota and Portland. Atlanta United’s next match is on Sunday, July 14th against the Sounders in Seattle. Kickoff is set for 4:00 and the match will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. VAMOS UNITED!

Stay with ATLSportsHQ all season long for the best ATLUTD coverage and all other things Atlanta Sports, for the fans, by the fans.

Edin Pelja |@Julio_Goat Twitter | @ATLSportsHQ Twitter/IG

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