US Open Cup - Quarter-Final Preview
Then there were two. That's the amount of USL Championship - the second tier of US Soccer - clubs that are left in the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
It's been a remarkable journey for both New Mexico United and Saint Louis FC in the historic competition and both sides are on the road and are looking to cause another upset.
Both sides have beaten MLS opposition in the previous two rounds of the Open Cup and are just two steps away from a major cup final.
Daniel Bruce (New Mexico) and Lewis Hilton (Saint Louis FC) both started in the last round and below, we preview both games.
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup - Quarter-Finals
Atlanta United (MLS) vs Saint Louis FC (USLC) - July 10 (Fifth Third Bank Stadium, 12:30am)
There was late drama in the last round for Saint Louis FC as captain Sam Fink headed home Hilton's corner to spark jubilant scenes among players, coaches and fans.
The game appeared to be heading to extra-time, with time winding out and the score still at 0-0, but a moment of sheer brilliant from the PASS4 client, who swung the corner into the box, allowed Fink to find the net to see off FC Cincinnati.
This is the furthest STLFC have reached in the Open Cup and they take on the reigning MLS champions Atlanta United, who will be looking to go all the way and make it two pieces of silverware in two seasons.
In the USLC, Saint Louis are winless in their last seven games and had to come from behind to rescue a 2-2 draw with Loudoun United at the weekend.
Meanwhile, Atlanta were on the receiving end of a comeback as the New York Red Bulls scored late to take home a point. Striker Josef Martinez put United ahead in injury time, but their opponents found an equaliser just two minutes later.
In the competition so far however, Frank de Boar’s squad and starting line-ups have been a mixture of the first-team – goalkeeper Brad Guzan started in the Round of 16 – and players from ATL UTD 2, who lost 2-0 to Saint Louis back at the start of April.
Minnesota United (MLS) vs New Mexico United (USLC) - July (Allianz Field, 1:00am)
New Mexico United have yet to have a home game in the US Open Cup this year, but they’ve made the most of their terrific support and have won four consecutive games.
Considering this is the first season the team has existed, it’s a remarkable run of form, in the competition, and their last two victories came against MLS opposition.
NMU edged past the Colorado Rapids 4-2 on penalties, after the game ended 2-2 after extra-time. In the Round of 16, they came from behind to beat FC Dallas 2-1 at Wescott Field.
In the league though, United’s form has dropped and they are winless in their last five games, while Minnesota United are on a five-game winning streak – scoring 20 goals across those games - and sit fourth in the MLS Western Conference -
Minnesota come into the game in a fine run of form and, in the Open Cup, they beat Sporting Kansas City 4-1 in the Fourth Round and then Houston Dynamo 3-2 in the Round of 16.
One player that New Mexico will be without for the huge Quarter-Final clash at Allianz Field is influential striker Kevaughan Frater, who scored crucial goals in the last two rounds, as he is suspended after picking up his third booking in the competition.