The two MLS expansion sides of 2017 met in the final for US Soccer’s oldest competition. The US Open Cup is an important competition in US soccer, as it’s the only open knock-out competition available. It also provides a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League. This was a meeting between two contrasting sides in Minnesota United and Atlanta United.
Minnesota United and Atlanta United have taken different paths since they joined the MLS. Atlanta United is spending significant money in bringing in Designated Players while benefitting from public money to build their impressive Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Minnesota United, on the other hand, have been considerably more frugal with their spending, going through their first season with no high-earning Designated Players. Most of this was the result of them using private money to build the equally impressive, yet considerably smaller, Allianz Field.
While Atlanta United won the MLS Cup in 2018, Minnesota United are yet to make the playoffs. The contrasts between how these two clubs have been built made this an interesting final as it was an opportunity to compare the progress.
This tactical analysis will examine how Atlanta United was able to start the game in control, scoring two goals in the first 16 minutes. We’ll also look at the shift in tactics by Minnesota United in the second half to completely change the match. Finally, this analysis will see how Atlanta United was able to hold on for a 2-1 victory after Leandro González Pirez picked up a second yellow card in the 77th minute.
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