ATLANTA — Playing with 10 men in the last 21 minutes of the match, Atlanta’s two goals in the first half propelled the team past Minnesota United to claim the 2019 U.S. Open Cup championship.
An own goal by the Loons and a goal by Pity Martinez pushed the Five Stripes to another trophy. With the win, Atlanta has sealed its spot in the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League.
“It is always nice to win trophies. I think that is why you start playing soccer, because you love it, but also because you want to win, and today, we achieved something very beautiful for the club and for the players,” Atlanta United manager Frank De Boer said. “Of course, we have a short history as Atlanta United FC, but to win the US Open Cup in our third year is a fantastic achievement and compliments everybody who made this possible.”
In a match where Atlanta looked really dominant in the first half, Minnesota United never gave up and pushed the Five Stripes until the last second of the match but at the end, it wasn’t enough for the Loons, who played a tremendous 90 minutes.
Atlanta took the lead at the 10th minute of the first half after a cross by Leandro Gonzalez Pirez was deflected by defender, Chase Gasper, and the ball ended up in the back of his own net.
With momentum on their side, Pity Martinez scored the game-winner at the 16th minute after receiving a cross from Justin Meram inside the six-yard box.
Later in the match, two minutes into the second half, Robin Lod scored for the Loons after receiving an assist from teammate Kevin Molino.
The goal by Minnesota propelled the team to move forward and look for the tying goal, but luckily for Atlanta, the goal never came.
Gonzalez Pirez would be sent off at the 74th minute, which meant that Atlanta would play the rest of the match with only 10 men, but at the end, Atlanta did just enough to win its third trophy in franchise history.
The Five Stripes are now on a seven-game winning streak and will play one more match this Saturday, against Philadelphia Union, before going on a two-week break due to international fixtures.
“Philadelphia –we’ve been neck and neck for the last two months. It’sgoing to be a difficult match. It’s always tough to play there, but we’re going to celebrate tonight and regroup tomorrow,” midfielder Justin Meram said.
The match will be huge down the playoff race, as both teams are tied with 48 points at the top of the Eastern Conference. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.