It’s taken Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez some time to get used to these United States, but he’s in the sweet spot now.
He’s also a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champion.
Martinez scored six minutes after a Minnesota United own goal as Atlanta United built an early lead and held on through a Leandro Gonzalez Pirez red card at Mercedes Benz Stadium on Tuesday.
It’s Atlanta’s first USOC title, the first won by a team from Georgia, and joins the club’s 2018 MLS Cup in the trophy case
To borrow an adjective from PST’s Joe Prince-Wright, the second half was pulsating.
Atlanta’s first goal came when Leandro Gonzalez Pirez’s cross was partially blocked but took a turn into the goal in the 10th minute.
After failing to record a goal or assist in his first eight MLS contests, Pity Martinez posted three goals and seven assists in his next 18 plus two goals in the Open Cup.
Minnesota pulled one back just after the break to reinvigorate the match.
It was Robin Lod who produced the goal, the Finnish national team hitting a shot that deflected past Brad Guzan.
Pirez made it more tense when he took his second yellow card in the 74th minute.
Ike Opara missed a first half chance, but thought he made up for it in stoppage time. His would-be equalizing assist was popped over the bar by Michael Boxall.
The biggest stars for Portland and Minnesota showed up, but it’s a young man making a name for himself who came up with the winner in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal on Thursday.
Darwin Quintero and Bryan Fernandez traded goals, but Mason Toye’s goal was the difference as Minnesota United clinched a berth against Atlanta United in the final.
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Toye, 20, scored his sixth goal in under 1,000 minutes with the Loons this season, a classy bit of finishing behind the back line.
The 7th overall pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, Toye didn’t score in 18 appearances last season.
The Indiana University and New York Red Bulls Academy has been quite good, and has to be on the radar of Gregg Berhalter ahead of January camp (and perhaps clubs overseas as well if he finishes how he’s started the season).
The final will be Aug. 27 at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Eric Remedi scored a goal and helped set up Emerson Hyndman for another as Atlanta United clinched a spot in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final with a 2-0 defeat of Orlando City SC in Florida on Tuesday.
The marker for Hyndman, the American midfielder on loan from Premier League side Bournemouth, was his first for the Five Stripes.
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Remedi had one assist in nearly 1600 MLS season minutes heading into the match.
Minnesota United and Portland Timbers stage the other semifinal on Tuesday in Minnesota, and the winner with meet Atlanta on Aug. 27 or 28.
Bournemouth loanee Emerson Hyndman wasted no time in making an impact with Atlanta United in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday.
Making his first start for the Five Stripes the former Fulham, Rangers, and Hibernian playmaker set up Pity Martinez’s opening goal of a 2-0 win at Kennesaw State.
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Atlanta United’s lineup was no joke against USL side Saint Louis FC, with the 23-year-old Hyndman in the middle of a 4-3-3 with Martinez, Josef Martinez, and Justin Meram atop him.
Hyndman took advantage of a poor giveaway from the SLFC right back, and popped the ball to Martinez for a pretty finish.
Despite its temporary status, the move is reminiscent of Sebastian Lletget‘s move to the LA Galaxy from West Ham United. In that scenario, however, Lletget didn’t go on loan and spent most of his time with the Irons’ U-23 side.
Lletget’s move has been a success. We’ll see if Hyndman’s is any better.
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.