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Fuel Soccer Talk: Rivals face off in US Open Cup; Newton Pride FC qualifies for US Open Cup; Becks turning to old friend?

Orlando City SC faces Atlanta United in US Open Cup

Rivals Orlando City SC and Atlanta United square off Wednesday night at Exploria Stadium with a trip to the U.S. Open Cup final on the line. This is the first USOC meeting between the Eastern Conference rivals and the Lions are seeking their first-ever win over the Five Stripes.

Orlando City SC reached the semifinals for the first time thanks to a penalty-kick shootout win over New York City FC in the quarterfinals. Chris Mueller broke the scoreless stalemate in the 61st minute before Maxi Moralez leveled deep into stoppage time. Adam Grinwis made a pair of saves in the shootout to secure safe passage into the semis.

The Lions are coming off a 2-0 home win over FC Dallas. Tesho Akindele opened the scoring in the 13th minute and Carlos Ascues tacked on the insurance tally in second-half stoppage time.

The Five Stripes avoided a Cupset, beating Saint Louis FC 2-0 to reach the semifinals. Pity Martinez gave the defending MLS Cup champions the lead with a a deft chip of SLFC goalkeeper Tomas Gomez in the 52nd minute. Josef Martinez added a penalty in second-half stoppage time to seal victory over the USL Championship side.

Over the weekend Atlanta picked up a third win in their last four league games, defeating the LA Galaxy 3-0 on Saturday in front of 72,548 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, an MLS single-game attendance record in the regular season. Own goals by Dave Romney and Giancarlo Gonzalez 20 minutes apart in the first half gave the hosts a two-goal bulge at halftime. Josef Martinez tacked on a 73rd-minute penalty kick to seal the victory.

Minnesota United FC was drawn first to host the Portland Timbers in the western semifinal.

2019 U.S. Open Cup — Semifinals
Orlando City SC vs. Atlanta United (ESPN+)
Exploria Stadium — Orlando
Aug. 6 — 7:30 PM ET

Which team is playing their best soccer heading into the Open Cup?

Newtown Pride FC win first Amateur Cup title, qualify for 2020 US Open Cup

After years of falling short of qualifying for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, Newtown Pride FC finally found a way to get in.

On Saturday in the Chicago suburb of River Grove, Newtown defeated Horizon FC, 4-0, to win the 2019 USASA Amateur Cup championship. It was the first Amateur Cup title for the Connecticut-based club, and it also earned the club a spot in the 2020 US Open Cup. This will mark the second year in a row that the United States Soccer Federation awarded an Open Cup berth to the Amateur Cup champion. Last year, it was Bavarian SC (Milwaukee) that used the Fritz Marth Trophy to punch their ticket to the US Open Cup.

“It means the world to us to qualify for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup,” said Newtown player/general manager/co-founder Matt Svanda. “It represents everything that football at our level of the US Soccer pyramid is about. It shows that right now we have truly earned it on the field. The players earned it and we are so excited for them.”

After a 2-0 win over the Chicago-based RWB Adria in Friday’s Semifinal, Newtown advanced to the championship game where they met Horizon FC. The Houston-based club had edged Meso America FC (Los Angeles), 2-1 in their Semifinal matchup. Both teams were both seeking their first Amateur Cup and their first trip to the US Open Cup.

MORE ON NEWTON PRIDE

Report: Inter Miami eye ex-AC Milan manager Gattuso for head coaching role

David Beckham might look to his playing past for the next key piece in his current project, according to a new report out of Italy.

Beckham’s former AC Milan teammate Gennaro Gattuso is a top contender to become Inter Miami CF’s first-ever head coach, claims leading publication La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Gattuso, 41, is a Milan legend with more than 400 career appearances for the Rossoneri, where he expertly played the midfield “pitbull” role – often alongside former MLSer Andrea Pirlo – over more than a decade of service highlighted by two Serie A titles and two UEFA Champions League trophies. He also helped Italy win the 2006 FIFA World Cup, earning all-tournament honors.

The hard-charging icon moved into coaching after his retirement in 2010 and eventually returned to Milan, becoming their first-team manager in December 2017. Despite earning a contract extension last year, he resigned from his post at the end of the 2018-19 season after Milan finished fifth in Serie A, missing out on Champions League qualification.

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