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Prekrap - US Open Cup: ATLUTD 2.5 vs St. Louis FC - This’ll be something

A madness followed by a mystery

SOCCER: JUL 07 MLS - New York Red Bulls at Atlanta United FC Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Was there a game that epitomized the Atlanta United season more than the Red Bulls one? It was like the entire season wrapped into one big dumb broken package. Atlanta looked... OK? I mean they got the lead and survived the Red Bulls coming at them. Pity wasn’t great, Barco was gone still and it was clear missing him was a problem, then there was an injury, then the plane crashed into the mountain for a little while. But the team found its spirit and fought back. Jeff Larentowicz went full prison rules and body slammed everyone he could get his hands on, Josef was blowing kisses at obnoxious NYRB players and Atlanta had the lead. And then the defense completely fell asleep and Bradley Wright-Phillips scored and Atlanta lost 3-3. It was extremely bad and just very MLS as the string of games has now gone - bonkers ending in Toronto - solid win against Montreal - horrible and embarrassing capitulation in CHICAGO - and almost greatest win in regular season history... Almost.

Since this is MLS, it kinda wasn’t a big deal. The draw catapulted Atlanta into third in the East. Mission Accomplished? Anyway, Atlanta United will try to avoid being eliminated in the US Open Cup by a second division team for the third straight year as they take on Honolulu Torpedo St. Louis FC in the quarter-final. It’s a little weird to think that the team is a win away from making the semi, but that’s where things stand.

Saint Louis F... or cripes sake I know nothing about this team

So I’ll just tell you facts about StLFC as I’m sure they’re known as.

  • Their fans are the best fans in baseball
  • They are managed by a Tony Pulis
  • Not that Tony Pulis - but the progeny of Tony Pulis
  • Formerly the progeny of Tony Pulis played for Orlando City and coached Orlando City B so we’re playing Orlando City essentially
  • They sit in 10th place in the USL Championship
  • Ricky Garbanzo does not play for them
  • They beat the Fire 2-1 to get here, so Atlanta will probably lose 10-2
  • The team has scored 19 goals and let in 17 in 15 games - so they’re bad at scoring and OK at defense - expect well organized banks of four in this one
  • St. Louis thinks this is how you should eat a bagel which is an abomination and a crime against food

That doesn’t look so bad, but consider that the crust is unleavened, the thing is covered in oregano, and then slathered in processed cheese - to consume it you have to apparently cover it in ranch dressing. I’m saying it’s a cracker with chez wiz on it.

HOW DO YOU SCREW UP PIZZA? Anyway, St. Louis is mostly known for having no football team, a terrible hockey team except for this year, an arch that nobody cares about, the most grating, self-important, and obnoxious baseball fans in the entire country and apparently the second division soccer team thinks it should be able to join MLS so that it can replicate the first year success of FC Cincinnati. They have that and Tony Pulis.

Please sir, may I have some more?

Objectively speaking, this should be a gimmie for Atlanta United. The team is in MLS in third in the East and has Josef Martinez on the roster. But wait, it’s not that simple. If there’s one thing that the team struggled with before the Gold Cup break, it was fatigue. Julian Gressel was tired, Tito Villalba got hurt, Ezequiel Barco was gone, Pity Martinez was invisible, and the break was well needed. The team is in the middle of a 9 game stretch played over four weeks. Needless to say, some guys will need rest and with the USOC roster rules it’ll open up the roster for some players.

We know Emerson Hyndman is going to start, but some guys might be brought in from ATLUTD Too also.

That means as the guy whose job it is to write previews I can definitively tell you I have no idea what’s going to happen. Atlanta has a game against the Seattle trash cowards over the weekend then is back home against Houston midweek. On top of that the team has been struggling. It seems like Frank de Boer has a couple of options - let the stars rest or trot them out against the 10th place team in USL, hopefully crush them, and remember what it’s like to be a good soccer team again - or rest the stars and let the USL guys sprinkled with the MLS players and hope that ATLUTD 2.5 can get the job done.

I don’t have a meme, but this is the best highlight in Atlanta United history

In 50 years when the Atlanta United International Best Soccer Team to Ever Play The Sport Museum opens in Orlando the first thing you’ll see is this playing on repeat forever like an eternal flame.

History beckons

Usually here I say how I think the game is actually going to go... but this time I got nothin - I don’t have a single clue what to expect out of this game. A win would put the team on the doorstep of a US Open Cup final and that should be an exciting enough prospect to get the team fired up after an embarrassing performance followed by one that ended in a let down.