Atlanta United wasted little time in taking control of the U.S. Open Cup final by securing two early goals Tuesday, while the defense did just enough in a 2-1 victory over visiting Minnesota United.
Atlanta United won despite playing the final 16-plus minutes down a man after defender Leandro Gonzalez Pirez was sent off because of a red card that followed two quick second-half yellow cards for dissent and unsporting behavior.
Atlanta United won its third trophy in the past nine months after winning last season's MLS Cup title and then taking the Campeones Cup earlier this month over Club America in a matchup of champions from MLS and Liga MX. The team also earned an automatic berth into next year's CONCACAF Champions League.
The U.S. Open Cup, which had its first edition in 1913-14, is a single-elimination tournament that was contested in 2019 among 84 teams from MLS, the second-tier USL and amateur sides throughout the country. It is the 20th consecutive year an MLS team has won the title.
The 35,709 in attendance at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium was a record for a U.S. Open Cup final, and the fans were treated to a productive opening 16 minutes.
Atlanta United took a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute on a gift own goal when Gonzalez Pirez's cross from the right side deflected off the right foot of Minnesota United defender Chase Gasper and over the head of Minnesota United goalkeeper Vito Mannone.
In the 16th minute, Atlanta United increased its lead to 2-0 when Gonzalo "Pity" Martinez scored with his left foot from the left side of the penalty circle after a centering pass from Justin Meram.
With the Loons missing leading scorer Darwin Quintero, after head coach Adrian Heath left the inconsistent forward out of the game for all but the final 15 minutes, Minnesota United still managed to make a game of it 62 seconds into the second half. Robin Lod redirected a centering pass from Kevin Molino off the left post and into the goal past Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
Guzan made three saves in the victory, including a diving stop on a shot from Ike Opara in the first minute of second-half stoppage time. Minnesota United's Michael Boxall missed a point-blank shot over the top of the goal that would have tied the score just two minutes before the final whistle.