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Atlanta United FC Game Preview for U.S. Open Round of 16 Matchup with Crew SC

The Fifth Round of the U.S. Open Cup pits Atlanta United against Eastern Conference foes Columbus Crew. Both teams needed second-half surges to get past plucky second-division sides last week, but with silverware just a few wins away, both will be pushing for a victory to survive and advance to the quarterfinals in the oldest cup competition in the United States.

It all kicks off at 7:00 p.m. ET from MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

Atlanta United (1-0-0)

With the Charleston Battery in the rearview mirror, it’s all eyes forward for the Five Stripes, who now find themselves in the final sixteen teams for a chance at their second piece of silverware in two years.

The team will be without Josef Martinez, who is off representing his home country of Venezuela against the cream of the crop in South America at this summer’s Copa America tournament. But the good news for United fans is Ezequiel Barco is back with the team after capturing the headlines as one of the most impressive players at this summer’s U-20 World Cup. Last week saw Frank de Boer shuffle his pack, with Romario Williams leading the line in front of Andrew Carleton, with the second half substitutions of Justin Meram and Brandon Vazquez proving to be game-changers and match-winners. Will head coach Frank de Boer line  up with the same starters, or will he give the players who came on as substitutes a chance to prove themselves in the starting lineup?

Meanwhile, it’s a full compliment in the back line at De Boer’s disposal, outside of George Bello who is still on the comeback trail from his groin injury. Jeff Larentowicz and Darlington Nagbe protected the back line from the middle of the park last week, while Eric Remedi is fit for selection as well after coming off the bench against Charleston. And De Boer opted for Brek Shea and Franco Escobar lining up outside of Miles Robinson and Florentin Pogba in the middle last time out –– but Leandro González Pirez and Michael Parkhurst are fit and ready to step right into the lineup as well. Atlanta United has won four out of the five regular-season match against the Crew in their history so far –– but the 17s need no reminder how the match ended the last time these two met in knockout play. They’ll be hoping for a little revenge back on Columbus’ home pitch this week.

 

GAME PREVIEW WRITTEN BY Ryan Catanese; COURTESY ATLANTA UNITED FC COMMUNICATIONS