Atlanta United will play at Charleston in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup, according to the tournament draw released Thursday. It will be the third time in three years that the two teams will face each other in the fourth round.
The game will be played at 7:30 p.m. June 11. The fourth round is when MLS teams enter the tournament. The winner will play again June 18 or June 19. The game will be streamed on ESPN-plus.
Atlanta United has defeated Charleston, which plays in the USL’s Championship Division, in each game. Both were played at Kennesaw State. However, Atlanta United has failed to advance past its second game in the tournament in each of the past two years. It was beaten at Miami FC in 2017 and was knocked out by Chicago at Mercedes-Benz Stadium last year.
The Battery are 4-2-5 this season.
Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer said Wednesday he plans to take the U.S. Open Cup seriously.
“ ... We want to go very far in the U.S. Open Cup,” he said.
U.S. Open Cup rules allow for just five international players on a team’s game-day roster. That rule, combined with injuries, will force de Boer to make some personnel changes.
“Other players have to be ready,” he said. “Of course, I will rotate some players, but still we have to be in shape. Normally the play is week after week, so they can have a normal break and still be prepared for that game. I want to be with a strong team, but I may be forced to make some changes.”
It may be a chance for players who consistently make game-day rosters but don’t get a lot of playing time, such as midfielders Andrew Carleton and Justin Meram, goalkeeper Alec Kann, striker Gordon Wild and fullback Jon Gallagher. Other players who are working their way back from injuries and could play include striker Brandon Vazquez, midfielder Kevin Kratz and fullback Mikey Ambrose.
In the other game in the Southeast pool, Memphis will host Orlando City. U.S. Soccer hasn’t announced if the pool teams will play each other in the fifth round.
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