Messi in Cincinnati tonight, Open Cup semifinals: Starting Lineup, August 23
by Jason Longshore
1- The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is down to the semifinals and we'll find out who makes the 108th final by the end of the night. The obvious headliner is Lionel Messi as Inter Miami heads to Cincinnati to face the top team in MLS this season. Tata Martino spoke this week about Messi potentially needing a break soon as he's played the majority of every match in Leagues Cup since he arrived, but he won't be resting tonight. Miami won one of their three games on the road in the Leagues Cup, and won the ensuing shootout in the other two games that finished in a draw. If this one is level at the end of 90 minutes, both teams will have to survive extra time to get to that shootout. The match will likely come down to the two diminutive Argentine playmakers, Messi and Cincinnati's Luciano Acosta.
2- In the other semifinal, Houston hosts RSL as Ben Olsen tries to keep the Dynamo rolling against an RSL team that has upgraded its squad in the summer transfer window. Houston comes in off of a 5-0 league win on Sunday night at home against Portland. Corey Baird has scored three goals in their Open Cup campaign so far and has 9 goals in all competitions. Pablo Mastroeni's RSL has had some time off since their Leagues Cup campaign ended in the Round of 16 to León on August 8. Their league match Sunday against the LA Galaxy was postponed due to the impending landfall of Hurricane Hilary. Damir Kreilach has four goals for RSL in their USOC campaign, and he'll be supplemented by Chicho Arango who arrived in the summer transfer window from Pachuca.
3- Atlanta United returned to training yesterday morning in Marietta as they prepare for Saturday night's match with Nashville SC. Gonzalo Pineda told the media on hand that Saba Lobjanidze was arriving in the evening and will join into as much of training as he's comfortable with today. He is expected to be a full participant in training starting on Thursday.
4- Jamal Thiaré was scheduled to have his visa appointment yesterday and will hopefully be making his way to Atlanta soon. Once he arrives, Atlanta will be at full strength for the first time in a long time as Machop Chol has recovered from his ankle injury to be a full participant in training as well.
5- Also, in other Atlanta United news, the club unveiled their third kit for the season that will be worn on Saturday night against Nashville. The 404 Kit is an homage to 1990's Atlanta and was created in collaboration with Atlanta Influences Everything, a creative consultancy, focused on combining civic, corporate and cultural understanding to harness the influence of Atlanta culture to do good and connect communities. "The 1990’s in Atlanta was a magical time,” said Tory Edwards, Managing Partner at AIE. “The stars aligned, allowing the seeds planted long before us to blossom to new and endless possibilities. We are grateful and proud to partner with Atlanta United to tell this amazing story." Can't wait to see it on the field Saturday night!
6- Liverpool midfielder Alexis MacAllister won his appeal Tuesday on the red card he received in Saturday's Premier League win over Bournemouth. The Argentina international was sent off for serious foul play following a challenge on Ryan Christie in the 58th minute. Correct decision in my opinion, the nature of the challenge did not rise to the level of a red card in my opinion. There was no force delivered towards the opposing player, MacAllister was trying to control a bouncing ball and caught his opponent with his studs up. Foul and yellow card, sure, but not a red card.
7- Huge win on the road for Internacional in the first leg of their Copa Libertadores quarterfinal in La Paz against Bolivar 1-0. Ecuador's Enner Valencia scored in the first half, in one of Inter's first forays into the attacking half, and they were able to make it hold up. Now Bolivar has to at least get a one-goal win to force extra time in the second leg. Remember, away goals do not matter in the Copa Libertadores.
8- The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) have called an emergency meeting on Friday at the Las Rozas Sporting Complex in northern Madrid in order to deal with the actions of their president Luis Rubiales following Spain's World Cup win in Sydney on Sunday. After insulting anyone who didn't like his kissing of Jenni Hermoso during the medal ceremony, and then apologizing in a statement, Rubiales has to explain himself further on Friday. According to AS, he is not planning on resigning.
9- On this day in 2019, Atlanta United went to Orlando and won 1-0 on a Josef Martinez goal assisted by Ezequiel Barco.
10- On this day in 1959, Edwyn Collins was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was originally the lead singer of the post-punk band Orange Juice, before going solo. He had his biggest hit in 1995, which appeared on the soundtrack to Empire Records. Thank you Edwyn for today's Song of the Day:
11- Mark it down on your calendars, we'll be doing a live SDH show on Saturday afternoon at 1pm to start your Atlanta-Nashville matchday at the REVERB Hotel next to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Before you head out to the tailgates, or if you're looking for a climate-controlled place to pregame, we hope you can spend some time with us at REVERB.