Atlanta United’s Open Cup campaign is set to begin with a blast from the past. The Five Stripes are on a collision course with Stephen Glass’ Memphis 901 in the Third Round, along with a trio of ex-Atlanta United players and its 2020 interim manager.
Memphis plies its trade in the USL Championship, where it sits 11th out of 12 teams in the Eastern Conference on 5 points through 5 matches. Stephen Glass’ debut campaign has gotten off to a rough start, especially compared to the success of the past few seasons in which Memphis finished 3rd and 2nd, making it all the way to the semi-finals last year. Glass has managed an unbeaten April so far, including a 2-1 win over One Knoxville in extra time in the previous round of Open Cup action and Memphis’ first league win this past weekend, a 3-0 thrashing of RGV Toros.
Memphis’ starting eleven in that game featured a quartet of familiar names to the Five Stripes. Bill Hamid is Memphis’ number 1 in goal after departing DC over the winter, while the Tennese side’s attack was almost entirely composed of ex-ATL UTD 2 players - Luiz Fernando (at Atlanta in 20/21), Laurent Kissiedou (At ATLUTD 2 in 18/19) and Philip Goodrum, who was Memphis’ top scorer last season with 22 goals and wanted a transfer to MLS or Europe this offseason only to be forced to stay.
Atlanta’s performances have been up and down of late, but its first-ever meeting with Memphis gives it a chance to get back on track ahead of another two-game road stint. Injuries and a visit to Nashville this weekend mean Gonzalo Pineda will have to go to the depths of his roster against Memphis to keep everyone fresh, which means we could see some first starts of the season for the likes of Machop Chol, Ronald Hernandez, and Luis Abram.
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Atlanta United 3-1 Memphis 901
Atlanta will handle Memphis fairly easily with goals from Machop Chol, Miguel Berry, and Derrick Etienne, although the Law of the Ex will rear its head once again when Goodrum snags a consolation goal for the visitors.