No Josef, No Problem: Atlanta advance to the U.S. Open Cup Final with victory in Orlando


Atlanta United came into the U.S. Open Cup Semi-Final without their best player and goalscorer Josef Martinez as he was out with an abductor injury suffered in training the day before, well lets just keep it short and sweet, it didn’t matter because United’s dominance over Orlando continued Tuesday night with another solid performance at home away from home. Coming into the night, Atlanta advanced from the Quarterfinal round of the U.S. Open Cup by defeating Saint Louis 2-0 with goals by Pity and Josef Martinez in Kennesaw on July 10th which set them up with Semi-Final match in Orlando.

The match started out with early chances for Orlando to take the lead. Dom Dwyer thought he scored the opening goal in the 5th minute with a chip shot over GK Brad Guzan, but it was ruled offside and the score remained 0-0. Then in the 18th minute Nani received and sent a pass into the box for Dwyer to have another opportunity to score, but his shot went way over the bar, two good chances missed for Orlando. In the 37th minute United would find the opening goal that came from midfielder Eric Remedi when his first shot was saved by the goalkeeper, the ball went off to the side and Gressel was there to immediately pounce on it, send the ball back in the box towards the feet of Remedi and this time he finished the job with a right footed shot into the back of the net giving United the lead going into halftime.

Early in the Second Half Orlando started out once again pumping chances towards United’s goal with Dwyer and Kljestan having opportunities to equalize early on but could not capitalize. In the 78th minute Atlanta would double their lead and seal off the game with a goal from Emerson Hyndman, his first for the team since arriving on loan form Bournemouth in England. The play started out with Remedi, who was the Man of the Match in my opinion floating in a cross towards fullback Franco Escobar who tapped the ball towards Hyndman who was in the box unmarked and finishing the job with a left footed shot past the goalie making the result 2-0 and ending with another victory down south in Disneyland and continuing United’s unbeaten run of games with Orlando including six victories and two draws all-time in eight matches.

Atlanta will meet with Orlando again for another clash on Friday, August 23rd down in Orlando. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s next match will be on Sunday, August 11th at the Benz vs. New York City F.C. in a Eastern Conference Showdown. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 and will be live on ESPN. 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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U.S. Open Cup Match Recap and Preview


Atlanta United began their U.S. Open Cup quest in Charleston, SC as they were supposed to face off against the Charleston Battery, but things did not go to plan that evening as United refused to play on the poor pitch and surface due to obvious injury concerns and other circumstances. Lets be honest, that field, from the images and pictures, looked in a pretty unfit and bad state to play a match on, even for a USL team like Charleston. They should still have average to above average pitch playing conditions and for those reasons the match was rescheduled to be played in Kennesaw where previous Cup games have been hosted. This match though would be played behind closed doors due to this unexpected change, numerous factors would come into play like security, concession and other concerns so there was no time for organizing any of that.

Atlanta and Charleston finally got things underway on Friday as things got off on the wrong foot for the 5-Stripes as Charleston found the opener in the 20th off a goal from Ian Svantesson. Charleston would maintain this lead going into the half and for most of the second half until the 79th minute when Jamaican international Romario Williams found the equalizer and after 90 minutes the result was 1-1 and the match would go into two 15 minute extra time halves. In the 110th minute Brandon Vazquez would score to make it 2-1 for United and then 10 minutes later in the 120th minute Vazquez would double his tally to seal the deal and give Atlanta United the 3-1 victory over the Charleston Battery for the 3rd year in a row in the U.S. Open Cup.


Atlanta’s next opponent in the round of 16 of the U.S. Open Cup will be the Columbus Crew. Atlanta look to get past the Crew as United have never made it past the round of 16 in the competition losing previous times to Miami F.C. in 2017 and to the Chicago Fire in 2018 and this year won’t be any easier against the Crew. The match is scheduled for this Wednesday June 19th at 7:00 P.M. at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus and will be available to watch on ESPN+.

What is Copa America?


Copa America is back! South America’s most exciting international tournament is in action as the host country of Brazil is set to host the 46th edition. Now for those who do not know much of the tournament or have never heard of it before, we’ll explain the basics in how it works and how everything unfolds leading up from the tournament starting at the beginning with the draw for group pairings and the all the way to the end when the Final takes place at the Estadio de Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

First, the 3 groups consist of 4 teams with 10 teams being from South America and 2 invited teams from across the world chosen by CONMEBOL. This year Japan and Qatar were chosen to participate in this years tournament. Once all teams play each other for a total of 3 games played, the top 2 teams in the group advance directly into the quarterfinals for a one legged affair while the third place teams will be determined for advancement by who has the most points or better goal difference. Out of the three, two will advance to the quarterfinals and one will be eliminated from the competition and all last place teams in the group stages are automatically eliminated.

In terms of venues in which the matches will be played at six venues in five cities: SalvadorRio de JaneiroSão PauloBelo Horizonte and Porto Alegre.

Matchday 1 will be played between June 14th-17th

Matchday 2 from June 18th-21st

Matchday 3 from June 22nd-24th

The Knockout Stage matches are scheduled to last from the 27th of June beginning with the quarterfinals and all the way up to the final on July 7th.


In the knockout stage, if a match is tied after 90 minutes:

Quarterfinals: Extra Time is not played and the match goes directly to a penalty shootout.

Semi-Finals, 3rd Place and Final: Extra Time is played, where a fourth substitute will be allowed for each team.

If still tied after extra time, the match is decided by a penalty shootout. In terms of history of Copa America here are some interesting facts of the tournament since its foundation way back in 1916 over a hundred years ago. Chile are the 2 time defending champions having won back in 2015 in their home country and 2016 in the United States where they defeated their neighboring rivals of Argentina twice in both finals. Eight of the ten CONMEBOL national teams have won the tournament at least once in its 45 stagings since the event’s inauguration in 1916, with only Ecuador and Venezuela yet to win. Uruguay has the most championships in the tournament’s history, with 15 cups, while the current champion, Chile, has two cups. Argentina, which hosted the inaugural edition in 1916, has hosted the tournament the most times (nine). The United States is the only non-CONMEBOL country to host, having hosted the event in 2016.

On three occasions (in 1975, 1979, and 1983), the tournament was held in multiple South American countries. Since the 1990’s, teams from North America and Asia have also been invited to participate. Mexico’s two runner-up finishes are the highest for a non-CONMEBOL side.

Qatar will be making their debut appearance in the Copa America becoming the first Arab nation to play in the tournament, while Japan will be making their second appearance, their first since 1999.

This will also be the first Copa America to not feature any team from CONCACAF since teams have been invited; in particular, Mexico, which have competed in all ten editions since 1993 as an invited team, will not participate in this tournament. United States have competed in four tournaments, including the 2016 event as host.


For this years Copa America 2019 in Brazil, the slogan of the 2019 Copa América is “Vibra el Continente/Vibra o Continente” in which Spanish/Portuguese translate to “Rocking the Continent”. The mascot of the tournament is Zizito, a capybara whose name pays homage to Zizinho, the Brazilian footballer who shares the all-time goal-scoring record in the Copa America (17 goals with Argentine Norberto Doroteo Méndez). For viewing and watching all 26 matches in the United States they will be available to watch on ESPN and ESPN+ for English and Portuguese Commentary and Telemundo for Spanish Commentary.

What is the Gold Cup?


The Gold Cup is back! CONCACAF’s most anticipated and exciting international tournament returns as the defending champions and co-host United States look to defend their title against the favorites and powerhouse of Mexico who look to retain the trophy of being CONCACAF’s best.

The tournament is primarily being hosted in the United States, with Costa Rica and Jamaica also hosting double-headers in the first round of matches in groups B and C, respectively. The United States are the defending champions, having won the 2017 tournament. With the abolition of the FIFA Confederation Cup, the CONCACAF Cup is annulled and the Gold Cup will not qualify the winner to a major tournament for the first time since 2009.

15 venues in the United States will host matches: Pasadena(Rose Bowl), Denver, Cleveland, Phoenix, Houston (2 venues), Charlotte, Philadelphia, Nashville, Chicago, Harrison, NJ, LA, Dallas, Minneapolis and Kansas City while the other venues of Kingston, Jamaica and San Jose, Costa Rica will host double header’s.

The tournament consists of 4 groups each having four teams, the top two finishing teams will advance to the knockout stage while the bottom two will be eliminated from the competition. Group Stage matches will take place between the 15th and 26th of June. In the knockout stage, if a match is tied after 90 minutes, extra-time is played, where a fourth substitute will be allowed for each team. If still tied after extra time, the match is decided by a penalty shootout.

Quarterfinals matches will take place between June 29th-30th, Semi-Finals matches between July 2nd-3rd and the final will take place at Soldier Field in Chicago on July 7th. The CONCACAF Gold Cup was founded in 1963 with the Mexico having won the most titles at 7 and United States the current defending champions with a total of 6 titles and Canada having won once back in 2000.

The CONCACAF Gold Cup will be available to view and watch in the United States on Fox Sports (FOX, FS1 Fox Sports GO) for English Commentary and Univision Deportes for Spanish Commentary.

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MLS Match Preview: Real Salt Lake vs. Atlanta United

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Photo Credit:

This Friday, Atlanta United end their three game road trip in Salt Lake City as they get ready to take on Western Conference opponent Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium Friday at 9 P.M. ET which can be seen broadcasted live on the Univision Deportes Network or UniMas. Atlanta United look to get back to winning ways as their 5 game shoutout winning streak came to an end against eastern conference rivals New York Red Bulls on Sunday at Red Bull Arena. Real Salt Lake are coming off a big win at home vs. Toronto F.C. by a score of 3-0 and are on a two game win streak. Atlanta sits in 4th place of the Eastern Conference table with 20 points, one behind the Montreal Impact and four behind table toppers D.C. United and Philadelphia Union. United have games in hand against all teams so they still have a chance to climb up the top of the standings. RSL are 7th place in the Western Conference table with 16 points, so far most wins have come from opponents with losing records so not much too impressive, but after their dominating performance over Toronto F.C last week they will be a tough competitor to beat especially at home. All-Time Atlanta has had the edge over the Rocky Mountain team with two wins in two matches, one at Rio Tinto Stadium and one at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. With Copa America and Gold Cup approaching the question remains is how the team will be affected by the loss of players like Josef Martinez and maybe others, that’s what makes these next matches for United so important to get as many points as they can pick up against RSL, Minnesota United and the Chicago Fire, all teams are beatable but it is much easier said then done.

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Photo Credit; Gwinnett Daily Post

For the most part though, United will not be very busy in the month of June with only 3 total games scheduled. The first match in Atlanta vs. the Chicago Fire on June 1st, June 26th in Toronto and the third at home vs. Montreal June 29th. Atlanta has done a lot of traveling on the road so this long break might be useful for the team, even though we know some of our players will be off on International Duty. Tito Villalba will likely be out for this match as he picked up an injury on Sunday vs. the NYRB so that brings up the question of who will now replace him on the left side with him out for an uncertain amount of time and Barco off playing with Argentina in the U-20 World Cup. The answer will likely be either Dion Pereira or Justin Meram on the left attacking midfield position. Pereira has been very bright in the matches that he’s played in especially on the left side with his quick bursts of speed blowing past defenders and quality passing and dribbling efficiency. In my opinion, he should get the nod over Meram mainly because he deserves it and should get a chance in the starting team, this is Dion’s time now to show off what he’s got to his coaches and five-stripe fans. Most of the starting lineup should as well be the same from the last match with only one question being if Break Shea or Michael Parkhurst start at Left-Back and since Parkhurst played most of the last game on Sunday, Brek Shea will likely get the start over Parkhurst. Atlanta United will look to get a third straight win over Real Salt Lake and hope to get a statement victory at one of the most difficult and beautiful places in MLS. Trust me, if you have ever been there before Rio Tinto Stadium has a beautiful back drop of the Rockies especially in the spring or winter when there is still plenty of snow on them. Anyway like always, 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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Atlanta United trades for Justin Meram

Atlanta United head coach Frank de Boer had hinted on possibly aquiring an attacking piece especially since Ezequiel Barco is leaving for the U-20 World Cup and Josef Martinez participating with the Venezuela national team as well. Today, United is trading for Justin Meram. Meram currently is on the Columbus Crew and also played for Orlando City. Meram originally played for the Crew for 7 seasons and played for Orlando some last season, but ultimately was traded to the Crew in August of last year. In his MLS career, Meram has scored 39 goals and has started 159 games in 223 games played. This is an interesting move made, but one that needed to be made. However, there is no word on what Columbus will be receiving from Atlanta.

Follow @SSSATLUTD on twitter for more updates on this trade and for all things Atlanta United!


By: Stewart Zwald  @SDZwald041599

MLS Cup Finals Preview: Atlanta United vs. Portland Timbers

As the 5 Stripes get set to host a locked on Portland Timbers team, soccer in the South is more present than ever this Saturday in Downtown Atlanta.

Almiron celebration
Almiron celebration

For the first time in Atlanta sports history, the city will host the MLS Cup finals in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium with the hometown team participating. Who would’ve thought that the Benz would have futbol finals played inside of it and not football?

The work and determination that Atlanta United has clocked in over the last 2 years has been enough to cause a rumble within the entire league of the MLS, in a positive manner. Hiring the executives and higher ups that they did in order to establish a solid idea and have that idea trickle down the totem pole worked for Atlanta’s advantage.

Securing Tata Martino as Head Coach, a highly influential coach with connections all over the world, was a main selling point in finalizing many player transfer deals like Almiron’s or Ezequiel Barco’s. Everyone wants to go where Martino goes.

With this being Martino’s last match in the A, there’s no doubt in my mind that tributes will be played and recognition will be given to the mastermind behind the Starting XI every week that’s led us to the MLS Cup Finals.

Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great

MLS: D.C. United at Atlanta United FC
Mar 11, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta United forward Andrew Carleton (30) celebrates with midfielder Darlington Nagbe (6) after their game against the D.C. United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

ATL UTD is coming into this MLS Cup Final with no notable injuries from the main players that have being seen action throughout the season. Greg Garza has been up to  100% for over a month and has been playing beautifully, as if he’d never left. Martino is likely to use Garza in the regular Left Back position to X out any Portland attack from that side.

The Atlanta attack is notable for having the faces of the franchise (Almiron, Martinez, Villalba) but the Atlanta backline has played a very important role in their playoffs victories. By keeping the goals against to a minimum, Atlanta has been able to outscore the opponent and secure the W.

Seeing as we’ve only lost in the Benz twice this entire season, it’s going to be very hard for the Timbers to get any sort of momentum going, to say the least, especially with an expected 72,000+ Atlanta fans making their presence known tonight.

Draw is not an Option

Andy Polo Portland Timbers
Andy Polo Portland Timbers

With the immense amount of pressure on both teams, things can go either of two ways: 1. They tighten up the defense and both teams end up scoreless.

2. It’s a tight game – one team edges out the other by the minimum margin.

With that being said, anything can happen in the Finals. I wouldn’t be surprised if one team completely blew out the other. According to statistics, however, Atlanta has a 70% chance of winning it all, and while Portland has been great on the road (taking out Seattle and Sporting Kansas City both as visitors) this may be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The midfield is where the Timbers look the most deadly. With the experienced Diego Valeri aka El Maestro pulling all of the strings, and their ridiculously fast wingers like Andy Polo, Portland has no trouble getting into the opponent’s upper third. Atlanta has to be prepared for fast-paced attacks and counter-attacks that have gotten the Portland Timbers this far into the game.

Arturo Principe | @ArturoPrincipe1