US OPEN CUP – Quarterfinals
Who: (USL) Saint Louis FC at (MLS) Atlanta United
When: July 10th, 2019 at 7:30 PM ET
Where: Fifth Third Bank Stadium, Kennesaw
David and Goliath, Atlanta United look to continue their run in the 2019 US Open Cup as they take on USL team Saint Louis FC. The match up comes at a pretty good time for each club really with Atlanta United are coming off a last-minute draw against Red Bulls and St. Louis FC came back from being a two-goals to earn a 2-2 draw against Loudoun United this past weekend. But it’s Cup time and both sides must understand that each are three wins away from silverware.
The two teams will be unfamiliar with each other as this is the first match between them
MATCH PREVIEW ROUND UP:
For Atlanta United are making their first appearance in the quarterfinals after failing to get through the Round of 16 in the past two seasons. A win against the Columbus Crew was much needed for the club and manager Frank de Boer to continue to challenge the team that returned a bulk of the squad that won MLS Cup. Against the Crew United won 3-2 on the back of youngster Brandon Vazquez’s brace. In fact, Vazquez, who is only twenty years old, has scored six goals in his nine appearances in the US Open Cup and was crucial in the absence of Josef Martínez while away on international duty. Also, for United and USMNT fans we will all get a chance to see new signee and US international Emerson Hyndman make his Atlanta United debut against Saint Louis.
- A little more on the Hydnman, he is a 23-year-old midfielder from Dallas, Texas. He is a product of the FC Dallas academy and on loan from AFC Bournemouth of the Premier League. At 15 he joined English club Fulham, then joined AFC Bournemouth and spent the last two seasons on loan with Scottish clubs Rangers and Hibernian. He is also a former U20 Captain for the Youth national team.
- Hyndman is known to be tidy on the ball and enjoys leading attacks. He’s typically described as a Box-to-Box midfielder.
- With his loan on Atlanta at the end of the season United has an option to purchase. Atlanta traded a 2019 and 2020 international roster slot, as well as $200,000 in guaranteed allocation money, to FC Dallas in exchange for his discovery rights.
For Saint Louis FC, they have had and up and down season where they have shown to be capable of beating anyone, but also capable of losing to anyone. They sit in 10th place of the USL Western Conference. Saint Louis has already knocked off 2 MLS team in FC Cincinnati and the Chicago Fire, the same Chicago team that beat Atlanta 5-1 recently. They are 1 of 2 USL teams left in the competition, and will look to move past United into the semifinals.
St. Louis is a team that is all about hard work and fighting for everything. For many reasons but it starts at the top with their Head Coach Anthony Pulis, the son of Premier League manager Tony Pulis who in his own right has the same principles in how the team sets up and plays. Looking to be physical and take the fight to the opposition and try to balance out the difference in talent by keeping things simple and doing the little things right, especially against a team as talented and deep as Atlanta United. Their leading goal scorers are tied with 4 goals apiece from winger Cicerone, who is very tricky and looks to find ways to buy balls into the box by getting wide and supplying their Captain, defender Sam Fink who is capable in the box. Fink scored off a set piece in 2nd stoppage time against the Fire which was ultimately the knockout blow. St. Louis is a team that lives off of goals from set pieces where they have scored almost 1/4th of their goals, and Atlanta will have to stay focused in those situations throughout the match.
Atlanta United comes in with 1 win in their last 4 matches, but 9 wins in the last 11 matches. Jeff Larentowicz picked up a red card against the Red Bulls but will be available for in this match as well as Leandro González-Pirez who returns from his 1 match suspension.
Atlanta will have to find away to block out the “hype” and whatever else would take them off their game. The team can not allow themselves to think that they can coast through this game. They will have to stay locked in and match St. Louis’ intensity that allowed them to eliminate 2 MLS teams in their last 2 cup matches.
Atlanta will need to do what they can to limit set pieces. No silly fouls and limit turnovers which would put them in awkward positions. Only foul when they need to. That is imperative if they want to move on to the next round.
Finally, Atlanta needs to find a way to allow their defense to lead their attack. In almost every sport you hear the phrase “defense wins championships” and since the Gold Cup break and suspensions we have seen that solid defense breakdown time and time again, and in order to win that solidity needs to come back. The more together the defense plays it will allow us to command the game and then trust our forward options the opportunity to get our and do what they do best.
- OUT: George Bello (D) – right adductor injury
- OUT: Hector Villalba (M) – knee injury
- OUT: Kevin Kratz (M) – quad injury
- OUT: Ezequiel Barco (M) – knee injury
Saint Louis FC:
- OUT: Joaquín Rivas (M) – Knee Surgery
Follow on me on Twitter; @QBlaiseNdewaXIV