Atlanta United are your 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champions after defeating Minnesota United 2-1 on Tuesday Night at Mercedes Benz Stadium. For the Five Stripes, it’s the third trophy for their ever-expanding cabinet. For a team that’s been playing soccer for less than three years, that’s truly remarkable. An own goal and a great finish by Pity Martinez made it seem as if the home side would easily grasp the cup, but the Loons fought hard to the death and were very unlucky not to get it to extra time. Here are a few thoughts on another glorious championship night in Atlanta, GA.
- Everyone needs to take a minute and truly appreciate how good this club is. There are some MLS teams out there that haven’t won a single trophy and Arthur Blank’s mega team is out here winning three in less than 10 months. Unbelievable. Enjoy every moment.
- Now on to the game. Pity freaking Martinez. The man just shows up in big games. He may have some consistency issues, but his track record proves that when the biggest occasions come up, he steps up. He was hyper-focused from minute one, chasing down every loose ball and even seemed to cut out many of the silly mistakes we’re used to seeing. Even after his substitution he was up on the sideline the whole time rooting his team on to get the job done. You love to see it. This is how you shut the haters up, Pity.
- The first half was beautiful. I’ll give 75% of the credit to Atlanta United executing their game plan to perfection and 25% of it to Adrian Heath coming in scared. Once he decided to tell his team to come out of their shell in the second half, the match changed and became way more competitive.
- Leandro Gonzalez Pirez ... It was only a matter of time before living on the edge would cost the team. It did in this match. Whatever your opinion is on the decisions by Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s favorite referee Alan Chapman, it’s hard to not see this coming. We all know how LGP plays. He’s done it for three seasons now. More often than not he walks that edge like a gold medal-winning gymnast. Unfortunately, he stumbled on a pretty big stage. Just be thankful that the result was secured in the end.
- For the second match in a row, the back line’s total dedication to keeping the ball out of the net got the team the right result. From Florentin Pogba running himself ragged to Miles Robinson clearing everything in sight. It was another hero performance from the back line that ended up being the difference.
Feels good, man. Feels really good.