For the third year in a row, Atlanta United will take on the Charleston Battery in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup. For the first time, though, it will be a road matchup as the Battery will host at MUSC Health Stadium.
Atlanta has won the previous two matchups between the teams. In 2017 - a match played in Kennesaw that was delayed by three hours due to weather - it came back from a 2-1 halftime deficit to defeat the Battery 3-2 behind Brandon Vazquez’s match winner in the 72nd. A year later, it enjoyed a more straightforward 3-0 victory thanks to goals from Andrew Carleton, Ezequiel Barco and Romario Williams.
The match comes in the midst of the international break, so it presents an interesting situation for Atlanta coach Frank de Boer with the team not set to have a normal training schedule.
“We take everything very seriously and want to go very far in the U.S. (Open) Cup,” de Boer said on Wednesday evening after Atlanta’s win over Minnesota United. “We’re probably going to miss some players, so other players need to be ready. Of course, I will rotate some players, but we have to be in shape also. Normally it’s week after week, so they can’t have a normal break and still be prepared for that game.”
Charleston currently sits in ninth place in the USL Championship standings with a 4-2-5 record. It punched its ticket into the fourth round after drawing Nashville SC 1-1 before winning 3-0 in penalties. Before that, it needed a stoppage-time winner from Ian Svantesson to eliminate USL League 1’s Greenville Triumph 2-1 in the second round.