Columbus Crew SC continues its run in the Lamar Hunt 2019 U.S. Open Cup when they take on Atlanta United FC in the Round of 16 on Tuesday, June 18 at MAPFRE Stadium.
The Black & Gold advanced past the Fourth Round following a 1-0 victory over Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on Tuesday, June 11. The Black & Gold dominated play as they maintained 69 percent of possession and tallied 17 shots compared to Pittsburgh’s four.
Along with their offensive play, Crew SC maintained a shutout, which they feel is important going into Tuesday's match.
“It builds confidence in the group,” explained defender Alex Crognale. “It fuels a little bit of momentum going into next week.”
As for their opponent, Atlanta United advanced to the Round of 16 after defeating the Charleston Battery, 3-1, in extra time. The match, which took place on June 13, remained at a 1-1 draw after the first 90 minutes of play. In the 110th minute, Atlanta’s Brandon Vazquez broke the stalemate to give them the lead for good.
Notably, Crew SC defeated Atlanta, 2-0, back on March 30, when the Five Stripes traveled to Columbus for MLS play.
One difference between Tuesday's meeting and the March 30 match is the tournament-style format, which changes the way that they must approach the game.
“There are no draws,” said forward Patrick Mullins, “so you have to approach the game with that mentality of that you have to come out with the one at the end of the day. That does change a little bit.”
One approach that Crew SC wants to take in the coming match is to continue to be aggressive in the attacking third while being mindful of Atlanta's transitional game.
“The guys showed a lot of hunger and patience. That’s the key. You have to be patient as well and you can't get frustrated,” said head coach Caleb Porter on striking a balance in their Fourth-Round match. “Sometimes it takes one goal and the good news is that we got a clean sheet as well. We need to continue with that because sometimes you only can find one goal.”
Ahead of Tuesday's match, Crew SC will once again be without some key players due to international duty, but with that, it is an opportunity for different players to step up.
“It's great to see that next group of guys step up and be leaders and show that they can get the job done,” Porter said. “Also, take some ownership in the season and make a statement to everyone that we do have good depth and that they are capable getting the win for us when some of the key guys are gone.”
The winner of Tuesday’s match will host the winner of the Saint Louis FC and FC Cincinnati match on Wednesday, July 10 in the Quarterfinals.