Atlanta United was knocked out of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup after a 2-1 loss to Memphis 901 Wednesday night that saw them make their earliest exit from the competition since their debut in 2017.
If you weren’t a fan of the lackluster show against the Chicago Fire last Sunday, you likely didn’t enjoy this game. Many of the same mistakes that plagued the club against Chicago came back in this game.
Gonzalo Pineda put forward a rotated lineup including a Luis Abram-Noah Cobb center back pairing, making this Cobb’s second appearance for the first team.
The three-man midfield consisted of Franco Ibarra, Amar Sejdic and Ajani Fortune. With his inclusion in the starting XI, Fortune makes his first start for the MLS club.
The Five Stripes opened the scoring early after Luiz Araujo sent a very well-placed switch of play to find Tyler Wolff who took his shot to give Atlanta United a 1-0 lead three minutes in. The goal marks Wolff’s first with the first team.
Great switch of play, and another quick diagonal from Luiz to Tyler for a composed touch and finish in off the far post! pic.twitter.com/gjWUcHHcQY— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) April 26, 2023
The rest of the first half wasn’t very encouraging, to say the least. Memphis played through Atlanta very easily and found several chances to equalize that were denied only by Clement Diop’s heroic goalkeeping. After the first 45 minutes, the Five Stripes trailed Memphis in shots (9-6) and shots on target (4-1).
The second half didn’t go much better as the visitors again outshot Atlanta 11-2 with one of those on target. Despite the Five Stripes bringing on more starting-quality players, things didn’t look much better. There were some bright spots, however. Mostly just Diop showing once again that he is a very capable keeper and that Atlanta United is in good hands with him in goal.
Just as it seemed like Atlanta United would see out the game, Juanjo Purata conceded a penalty in the last minute of second-half stoppage. Phillip Goodrum converted the spot kick to level the game 1-1 and take it to extra time.
Things only got worse in extra time as Nighte Pickering received the ball in the box and fired it past Diop to give Memphis their first lead of the game. After 10 minutes of extra time, Atlanta United trailed 2-1.
The Five Stripes were ultimately unable to make up the deficit and fell victim to a dreaded “cupset” for the first time as the match ended with a 2-1 final score.
Yikes... just yikes.
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