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Indy Eleven marches on, eliminates Atlanta United in U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 07/09/24, 9:14PM EDT


Williams plays role in both goals as Boys in Blue take first win against MLS opponent in club history

Photo courtesy Atlanta United FC

KENNESAW, Ga. – Make way for the Boys in Blue.

Goals in either half led Indy Eleven to a 2-1 victory against Atlanta United FC on Tuesday night, giving the Boys in Blue their first win against opposition from Major League Soccer in their history, as Augustine Williams played a hand in both goals to lead the side into the Semifinals of the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Indy will face the winner of Wednesday night’s Quarterfinal between Sporting Kansas City and FC Dallas as the club’s deepest run in the Open Cup continued in remarkable style.

Indy applied the first serious pressure of the game around the 10th minute when a pair of set pieces offered opportunities. A free kick from the right side found Josh O’Brien at the top of the six-yard area, but his cushioned half-volleyed finish proved tricky to control and looped over the top of the crossbar. The Irish center back also fired a deflected shot just wide a few minutes later from the top of the penalty area after Indy held possession in the Atlanta end following a corner.

Atlanta, meanwhile, put together its first good opportunity just before the half-hour mark as Tristan Muyumba created space cleverly in the left side of the penalty area to center to Nick Firmino, only for his effort to go well off target.

Four minutes later, however, Indy struck. A turnover in midfield was retrieved by Douglas Martinez Jr., who laid a pass back and immediately turned upfield. His run was picked out by Ben Ofeimu, beating Atlanta’s high line, and with his first touch the Honduran international centered for Williams – who had also left Atlanta’s defense for dead as the move began – to tuck away a low finish.

Atlanta came into the game more as the first half concluded but created their clearest chance just past the hour-mark as a beautiful, angled ball from the right channel by Dax McCarty found Luke Brennan for a header that forced Indy’s Hunter Sulte into a reflex save, parrying the ball over the crossbar.

Sulte was forced into another save as Firmino fired a turning shot from the top of the penalty area toward the left corner as Indy was forced to absorb more pressure with 20 minutes to go. As the pressure built, however, Indy found an outlet on the right side with Williams, who held up play, received a return pass as support arrived, and then whipped in cross for Elliot Collier at the far post only for McCarty to turn the ball into his own net to double the lead for the visitors.

The hosts almost responded immediately as Brennan found space on the right before cutting a cross through the penalty area to Ronald Hernandez, whose open look went just the wrong side of the left post. Atlanta continued to press for a goal in the remaining minutes, and in the second minute of stoppage time a lifeline appeared as Firmino roofed home a finish from 10 yards off a low cross by Daniel Rios.

From there, however, Indy saw out the game, holding possession as time wound down to secure a historic win.

Scoring Summary
– Augustine Williams (Douglas Martinez Jr.) 31’
IND – Dax McCarty (own goal) 83’
ATL – Nick Firmino (Daniel Rios) 90+2’

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