New Kids on The Block

by Chase Hutchins

Spring is finally among us, but this year, Atlanta has a different feel to it than it usually does. No, it’s not the hot weather, that’s a given. However, there’ a new norm to Atlanta that people need to get used to, having a soccer team in town that likes to compete. Furthermore, they are no expansion team.

Simply put, the United are fun to watch. Arguably one of the most exciting teams in the MLS (Major League Soccer), the United have been a force to be reckoned with. Led by Josef Martinez, the leading goal scorer in the MLS, and Atlanta’s beloved owner Arthur Blank, the United have put together a highly respectable army.

Atlanta has had troubles in the past with filling seats. After losing the cities only professional hockey team, the Atlanta Thrashers, to a Canadian ownership in 2011; the addition of a new soccer team seemed highly questionable economically. Though it didn’t take long for the doubts to be quickly withdrawn.

The United fans have shown up and shown out, holding a record in the books as a top five most attended game in soccer history with 55,297 fans. Need I mention that it was the first game ever as a franchise? The other three teams who recorded ahead of them are none other than soccer powerhouses and Worldwide icons Manchester United, Barcelona, and Borussia Dortmund.

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The new MLS team is currently sitting at No. 3 in the Eastern Conference standings with a 3-2 record, and the highest amount of goals scored in the league at twelve so far. As of now, their games are being played at Bobby Dodd Stadium, home of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets until they are able to play on the future of their franchise’s field, the Mercedes-Benz stadium in July.

Due to Georgia Techs spring training, the United are forced to play on the road for the next month. However, after a statement 4-0 win at home against the Chicago Fire, Atlanta will be looking to continue this style of play given any circumstances regarding location and show MLS fans everywhere how capable they are of being contenders for the MLS cup.

It looks for now that Atlanta is a soccer town. And they are welcoming fans from all over. Even if you don’t watch or understand the game, the United have proven to be a fun way to learn and teach.

Their fast pace game and high-scoring offense has been magnificent for the highly enthusiastic fans. Head coach Gerardo Martino attributes his team’s ability to attack the backs in such ways as they have to their team chemistry.

The first year team can be easily mistaken for a core group of veterans that look like they have been playing together for more than just three games. The Atlanta United have no plans of slowing down and for good reason. They have played the MLS draft correctly and used their money wisely. The future of Soccer in Atlanta begins now and Atlanta citizens will be ready to paint the city Red, Black, and Gold come December.

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