Atlanta United return to U.S. Open Cup play against tonight looking to get past the Round of 16 for the first time. The first two years of existence saw them crash out of the tournament as this stage. In 2017 they fell to Miami FC and last season the Chicago Fire came to Mercedes-Benz Stadium and won. Will this year be the year they get over the hump?
Frank de Boer will be without at least three important players for this one. Josef Martinez is still on international duty, while Julian Gressel and Tito Villalba aren’t fit to take part yet. However, the team could get a big boost with the possible return of Ezequiel Barco to the matchday squad. After taking parting in the U-20 World Cup, the Argentine playmaker trained on Monday according to the AJC’s Doug Roberson.
Will he play a role in the match and if so, how big? My opinion? De Boer is taking this competition seriously and doesn’t want to lose. I’d expect Barco to play and probably even start if he’s up for it.
On the other side, the Crew are without two U.S. internationals in Wil Trapp and Gyasi Zardes. They’ve also said goodbye to perennial thorn-in-the-side Zack Steffen.
If ever there was a time to go to Columbus, this is it. Just because the match-up looks favorable on paper doesn’t mean it’s a guaranteed win. The team must perform much better than it did last week against Charleston to go through to the last eight.
Atlanta United’s Lineup:
Columbus Crew’s Lineup:
How to Watch
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium
Advertised Kickoff Time: Tuesday, June 18, 2019, 7 p.m.
Available TV: None
Available Streaming: ESPN+ (Free Trial)
Available Radio: None
Pre-match coverage: None
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