Atlanta United Review
The 2018 MLS soccer season saw the Atlanta United winning the MLS cup. With all of the success, let’s take a moment to review how Atlanta United FC got here.
Atlanta Soccer Team
Atlanta United was established in 2014 by the owner of the Atlanta falcons and co-founder of Home Depot Arthur Blank.
This saw the first professional soccer team in Atlanta. Still, the city is one of the most culturally diversified cities in the U.S. ATL has a large number of Hispanic, Asian, and European people living here, and their favorite sport is soccer, making Atlanta a hot bed for a soccer team.
Atlanta United FC gave these immigrants a home team to cheer for and support. Something they have been missing since leaving their home countries.
The inaugural season was 2017 and the team hired Gerardo Martino as their first head coach in franchise history. Martino is an Argentine former footballer and season coach. Particularly, Martino was head coach for some of the best national and club teams in the soccer world Paraguay, Barcelona, and his home country Argentina.
Undeniably with his great resume, Atlanta United FC knew he was the man to help build a championship environment within the organization.
The first game was played on March 5, 2017 at Bobby Dodd stadium with a record 55,297 fans attending the game. Furthermore, Atlanta has shown the MLS world that they can fill a stadium up, setting records for highest single-match and average attendance.
The first goal scored in franchise history was by Yamil Asad and saw the team losing 2–1 to the New York Red Bull’s. Even in defeat, Atlanta United FC saw the potential they had in the team. The following week Atlanta opponent was Minnesota United another team of in their first season.
Atlanta secured their first win with a 6–1 final score against Minnesota. Additionally, on March 18 2017 Atlanta won their first home game against the Chicago fire, 4–0 was the final score and gave a sold out Bobby Dodd stadium reason to cheer.
The team moved to the Mercedes-Benz stadium shortly after the first month of the 2017 MLS season, with the move Atlanta United FC went on a row and secured a playoff spot the third seed.
Atlanta was only the third team in MLS history to secure a spot in the playoffs in their inaugural season. Due to tie-breakers Atlanta was giving the fourth seed and faced the Columbus crew in the first round of the playoffs.
The stadium seated 67,221 fans and fans saw an epic game that went into penalty shoot-out. Columbus won in a result of 3–1 eliminating Atlanta out of the playoffs.
After the first season, Atlanta focused on the off-season with confidence knowing that they were a playoff team, and looked to add players to help them win the cup.
The 2018 season saw new faces on the team which added fire power Atlanta did not have in their first season. Josef Martinez scored 31 goals making him the leading scorer in the league.
Atlanta United had a strong season defeating teams by large margins, the new players, great coaching, and a crazy fan base all contributed to Atlanta securing the second seed in the playoffs.
Atlanta’s first game was in the conference semifinals against the New York City FC. To point out, the first game was a close one with the score finishing 1–0. In contrast, the second game of the semifinals Atlanta blew New York out 3–1. Atlanta advanced to the conference finals with a 4–1 aggregate score.
The eastern conference final saw the two top seeds facing each other. The Atlanta United FC vs. the New York Red Bull’s, the first team Atlanta played in their inaugural season, but this time the outcome was different.
Eastern conference final
Atlanta dominated New York booing the doors open in the first game 3–0 giving them a lead that the Red Bull’s couldn’t come back from, Atlanta advanced to their first MLS cup final in only their second season.
MLS Cup Final
Atlanta had to face the power house of the west, Portland timbers, one of the biggest teams in MLS history. Atlanta was up for the challenge. The leagues leader in goals scored the opening goal and Escobar add another in the 54’ minute. On December 8, 2018, Atlanta won the MLS cup with a final score of 2–0. The win gave Atlanta their first city championship since the Atlanta brave won the MLB World Series in 1995.
Atlanta United FC Champions
A city starving for a championship finally had one. A city that has seen their NFL team blow a 28–3 leading in the super bowl against the New England Patriots, and the Braves only win one championship in their golden era. Atlanta had a reason to cheer and to have a parade Atlanta was finally a champion.
The season saw success but still had a sad note the head coach Martino was leaving the club. Martino announced at the beginning of the season that he will be leaving the club following the 2018 MLS season. On December 23 the team announced that their next coach would be Frank De Boer.
Frank De Boer
De Boer is a former soccer player for the Netherlands playing in two world cups. Frank coaching resume’ is not as impressive as Martinos’s, but the goal is the same, win the MLS cup.
The 2019 season has started and the champs have started slow not winning a game and being the tenth team in the standings. In summary, the season is still young and Atlanta has time to climb up the standings to make the playoffs.
In conclusion, New Coach Frank De Boer has a challenge to re-group the team and lead them back to the MLS cup final. Can Atlanta United FC win back-to-back championships? Only time will tell if Atlanta can become a dynasty in the MLS.