In an atmosphere of 35,709 fans, the final whistle blew and cheers erupted from the crowd. The team on the field rejoiced as they had just become the 2019 U.S. Open Cup Champions.
Atlanta United won the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday, August 27 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The team beat fellow MLS opponent Minnesota United 2-1 to lift its second trophy of the season.
The opening goal of the match came from defender Leandro González Pirez when his cross deflected over the goalkeeper’s head and into the goal. Atlanta United’s second goal was scored by Gonzalo “Pity” Martínez just minutes later. Minnesota cut the lead in half before the first half was over. Even more troubles were brought when Leandro González Pirez was sent off with a red card before the end of the game. Luckily for Atlanta’s fans, the team held on for the win.
“It is always nice to win trophies,” said Atlanta United Head Coach Frank de Boer, “I think that is why you start playing soccer, because you love it, but also because you want to win, and today, we achieved something very beautiful for the club and for the players. Of course, we have a short history as Atlanta United FC, but to win the US Open Cup in our third year is a fantastic achievement and compliments everybody who made this possible.”
Atlanta United Head Coach Frank de Boer on winning a second trophy in less than a month. [Source: atlutd.com]
The U.S. Open Cup championship win came only two weeks after the team raised their first trophy of the season. Atlanta United won the Campeones Cup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on August 14. They defeated North American soccer giant Club América 3-2.
With this Campeones Cup win, Atlanta United made history becoming the first MLS team to ever take the trophy. Goals by Emerson Hyndman, Jeff Larentowicz, and Josef Martinez helped to seal the win for the team.
Atlanta United also ended its second season as a team with a MLS Cup win on December 8. The team’s 2-0 victory over the Portland Timbers in Mercedes-Benz Stadium was won with a record crowd of more than 73,000 fans. It also marked Atlanta’s first major sports title since 1995 when the Braves won the World Series.
“It’s not everyday you get to win a title,” Goalkeeper Brad Guzan said, “To be part of this is truly special.”Atlanta United Goalkeeper Brad Guzan on Atlanta’s MLS Cup win [Source: foxnews.com]
Trophies aren’t the only thing that Atlanta United has been winning. According to Dirty South Soccer, Atlanta United ranks number 10 in global soccer attendance. This study by the Centre Internationale d’Etude du Sport Football Observatory evaluates attendance averages in soccer across 51 different leagues in 42 countries. Atlanta is the only team ranked in the top 10 that is not based in England, Germany, or Spain.
The Atlanta United Academy, officially launched in 2016, provides developmental opportunities for boys’ youth soccer in the city. Age groups of the teams range from U-12 all the way to U-19, and the teams currently compete in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy program. The academy also helps to give youth athletes a path to the Atlanta United team and opportunities to play soccer at top colleges and universities in the United States.
Personally, as a soccer player and an Atlanta native, Atlanta United is a special team to me. I have been to countless games, but I still get the same excited feeling walking up to the stadium. Atlanta United also gave me the chance to experience a championship for the city of Atlanta, and of course I was sitting front row at the victory parade. In my opinion, this team is the future of the city.
Atlanta United’s remaining MLS schedule can be found here. The team also begins their playoffs run in search of another MLS Cup championship in late October.