Brad Guzan

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Pity proves his point as Atlanta tops DCU late (video)

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The game in 200 words (or less): Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez started on the bench, deemed by head coach Frank De Boer as an subpar performer in recent weeks, largely due to a perceived lack of defensive work rate. For the 65 minutes that Martinez sat on the bench, Atlanta United sorely lacked the creative spark required to break down D.C. United. Seven minutes after Martinez came on, Atlanta had themselves a penalty kick (it was missed), and the defending MLS Cup champions eventually scored twice in the game’s final minutes to wrap up a victory at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and climb over DCU for second place in the Eastern Conference standings, now just three points back of first-place Philadelphia Union. De Boer won the battle in putting Martinez on the bench, but Martinez appears to have won the (highly important) war of public opinion.

[ MORE: MLS Saturday wrap: Quakes keep firing; Toronto, SKC falter ]

Four moments that mattered

33′ — Guzan denies Arriola one on one — Luciano Acosta slotted a pair of perfect through balls to Paul Arriola in a very short period, but neither resulted in a goal. Arriola deferred with a cross on the first and was denied by Brad Guzan after taking one too many touches before firing his shot. Chances wasted in a game with very few of them for DCU.

72′ — Martinez skies his penalty — Josef Martinez has one of the stranger penalty run-ups, complete with a hop, skip and a jump before striking the ball. The goal, presumably, is to force the goalkeeper to commit one way with the unorthodox movement, and easily slide the ball home the other way. What happens when the ‘keeper doesn’t budge, as Bill Hamid didn’t here? Ah…

89′ — The “other” Martinez wins it late — Darlington Nagbe made a great run, which was rewarded by Julian Gressel, before floated the ball toward the back post, which feels like something that will definitely be lost in all of the talk about narrative revolving around Pity and De Boer.

90’+2 — Martinez to Martinez for the nail in the coffin — How’s that for an impact substitution? Also, how’s that for a freebie do-over following the botched penalty?

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Man of the match: Pity Martinez

Goalscorers: G. Martinez (89′), J. Martinez (90’+2)

U.S. Open Cup: Goals a-plenty as Atlanta, Minnesota advance

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The first two quarterfinal berths in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup were earned Tuesday with 3-2 away wins.

Columbus Crew 2-3 Atlanta United

A pair of goals from Brandon Vazquez helped Atlanta United overcome both the Columbus Crew and a 48-minute weather delay.

Miles Robinson also scored for Atlanta, while David Accam bagged a goal for the hosts.

A 71st minute Brad Guzan own goal set up a nervy final 20 minutes for the Five Stripes, but they navigated the obstacles and emerged into the quarterfinals

Atlanta will play the winner of FC Cincinnati and Saint Louis FC.

Houston Dynamo 2-3 Minnesota United

The Houston Dynamo thought they were cruising to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, and instead just waltzed right out of the tournament.

Up 2-0 at home and at halftime, the Dynamo conceded three times in the final 24 minutes to bow out of the USOC.

The victor, who deserves full marks, is Minnesota United. Darwin Quintero struck twice and Mason Toye scored in the 89th minute as the Loons advanced to play the winner of New Mexico United and FC Dallas. No Texas Derby in the cup this year.

Report: Man City to send Zack Steffen on loan to Fortuna Dusseldorf

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Zack Steffen is currently on international duty with the United States, but he may have more clarity on his club future heading into next season.

After leaving the Columbus Crew for a move to Manchester City, the 24-year-old goalkeeper will head out on loan to Bundesliga side Fortuna Dusseldorf to begin the next European season, according to a report by Paul Tenorio of The Athletic.

[ MORE: US U-20 side stuns World Cup favorites France 3-2 ]

Steffen played his last game for the Crew last week and joined Manchester City in a deal worth $10 million. He was widely expected to spend this season on loan, not yet considered close to challenging for a spot in the Man City first-team squad.

According to Tenorio, Dusseldorf executives are flying to Washington D.C. to meet up with Steffen and his representatives at USMNT camp to finalize the deal. At the Bundesliga club, Steffen will link up with fellow U.S. international Alfredo Morales who joined in 2018 after five seasons at Ingolstadt. He will compete with starting goalkeeper Michael Rensing who amassed nearly 3,000 minutes across all competitions while leading the team to a 10th placed finish in the Bundesliga table.

[ MORE: Preview USMNT vs. Jamaica ]

Steffen was asked after his final Crew game what his expectations are for his club future, and he was non-committal, but said he hopes to earn playing time wherever he lands. “We’re still figuring all that out,” he told reporters after USMNT training at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. “What’s important for young goalkeepers is games, high-level games, and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Steffen has instilled himself as the preferred choice for the starting goalkeeper job with the United States national team, with the USMNT looking to transition away from aging goalkeepers Tim Howard and Brad Guzan. He has just eight international caps but looks to be the leading candidate for most high-leverage games in the near future.

Berhalter releases 28-man USMNT roster for pre-Gold Cup camp

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Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams are not yet aboard with the U.S. National Team, but Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley are in the fold as Gregg Berhalter named a 28-man roster for a pre-Gold Cup camp that culminates with a friendly against Jamaica on June 5.

Altidore’s appearance is significant given the 29-year-old has not appeared for the United States since the fateful loss to Trinidad & Tobago to eliminate the U.S. from 2018 World Cup contention. Also notably in the fold is midfielder Weston McKennie who has struggled with injuries down the stretch of the season but finished the Bundesliga campaign strong with three straight 90-minute appearances. The 20-year-old could have been rested for the camp ahead of what is expected to be a significant Gold Cup contribution, but instead he has been called in by the head man.

Without Pulisic and Adams, who are both expected to have a significant role in the upcoming Gold Cup, the current 28-man roster will need at least seven cuts to reach the 23-man limit required by the tournament.

Also not on the roster is goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who struggled early this season with Atlanta United, although the team’s defense has since locked things down. Instead, three other domestic shot-stoppers were named to the list in NYCFC’s Sean Johnson, LAFC’s Tyler Miller, and Columbus Crew’s Zack Steffen who has already said goodbye to the MLS club before a summer switch to Manchester City.

Those who could be on the edge with cuts coming could be midfielders Duane Holmes, Djordje Mihailovic, and Jackson Yueill; forwards Jonathan Amon, Tyler Boyd, and Joe Gyau. The full-back depth is a mixed bag, with no clear frontrunner yet between Antonee Robinson, Nick Lima, and Daniel Lovitz. Meanwhile, in central defense, it’s likely that at least one of Cameron Carter-Vickers, Matt Miazga, Walker Zimmerman, Omar Gonzalez, or Aaron Long will be dropped to give the final roster four. Tim Ream is a versatile defender who could fit into either category, potentially an advantage for the Fulham defender coming off a tough club campaign.

DeAndre Yedlin and John Brooks will miss the Gold Cup entirely, left off the preliminary roster due to injury. Yedlin had groin surgery after a late-season injury with Newcastle, while Brooks injured his knee and missed Wolfsburg’s final two games of the season.

United States Men’s National Team roster

GK: Sean Johnson (NYCFC), Tyler Miller (LAFC); Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew/Manchester City)

DEF: Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham), Omar Gonzalez (Atlas), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes) Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact), Matt Miazga (Chelsea), Tim Ream (Fulham), Antonee Robinson (Everton), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC).

MID: Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Duane Holmes (Derby County), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Weston McKennie (Schalke), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes).

FWD: Jonathan Amon (Nordsjaelland), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Tyler Boyd (Vitoria Guimares), Joe Gyau, (Duisburg), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew).

RSL’s Savarino downs Atlanta United in 94th minute

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Atlanta United dropped its second straight match, this time in gut-wrenching fashion, as Jefferson Savarino scored a 94th minute winner to hand Real Salt Lake a 2-1 win over Frank De Boer‘s bunch.

Josef Martinez appeared to have rescued Atlanta with his 78th minute equalizer, cancelling out Sebastian Saucedo’s first-half opener, but Savarino struck a blistering stunner from outside the box with the minimum three minutes of added time already passed. Savarino used straight muscle to shield a charging Leandro Gonzalez Pires off the ball, and the strike punished Brad Guzan for creeping just inches too far towards his near post.

The late winner redeemed a Real Salt Lake defense that fell asleep just a fraction too early on Martinez’s goal, as a low cross from Franco Escobar should have been easily dealt with, but the Venezuelan waited for the right moment and pounced in front of a snoozing Justin Glad to poke home the delivery.

While the two sides split the possession, RSL out-shot Atlanta and held the lead most of the way after Bofo put them in front just past the half-hour mark. The 22-year-old was given way too much space just outside the top of the box and placed a curler past Guzan for the opener for his second goal in two weeks.

The win gave RSL its third straight victory in what has become a streaky season. The campaign so far features two winning streaks and two losing streaks through 13 matches, with just one draw among the group. For Atlanta, the second straight loss leaves them stuck in fourth, squandering the chance to pass third-placed Montreal who sits a just point ahead.