Thursday, July 25, 2024

Atlanta United shocked in U.S. Open Cup by USL side Indy Eleven as MLS team falls in quarterfinals

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Atlanta United’s spiral deepens as the Five Stripes have become victim to a cupset in the U.S. Open Cup, falling 2-1 to USL Championship side Indy Eleven in the quarterfinals of the tournament. With only eight MLS sides taking part in the tournament this year, the USL Championship has ensured that they’ll have a representative in the semifinals of the Open Cup, but they could have up to three representatives based on how things are going.

After dismissing Gonzalo Pineda, Atlanta have been selling assets sending Giorgos Giakoumakis to Cruz Azul and Thiago Almada to Botafogo. Even Caleb Wiley, who started this match, is on his way to Chelsea. Because of that, it’s no surprise that Atlanta are out of a playoff spot in MLS play despite winning the MLS Cup in 2018 and the U.S. Open Cup in 2019.

Indy Eleven got off to a fast start in the match with Augustine Williams scoring in the 31st minute of play but it took until the 83rd minute for Dax McCarty to supply an insurance goal by scoring an own goal. Atlanta would score in stoppage time via Nicolas Firmino but it was too little too late. The defense has been a strength for Indy Eleven as this goal is the first that they’ve allowed in the tournament so far.

Starting their strongest available team, it was an Atlanta side that gave it their all but after losing so many players this season, they were no match for an Indy Eleven side that has improved. They’ve risen to third in a competitive Eastern Conference in the USL Championship and their balanced attack has been a strength scoring 12 goals from dead-ball situations in USL play. 

This is the first time that Indy Eleven have made it to the quarterfinals in the U.S. Open Cup, so this team is creating history each time that they kick a ball now. They’ll face the winner between FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City on Aug. 27 for a place in the U.S. Open Cup final.

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