It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year now since 55,297 fans gathered at Historic Bobby Dodd Stadium for Atlanta United’s inaugural game and shocked the world with the overwhelming support for the new MLS club. Sure it was impressive as the 4th-most attended soccer match in the world that weekend, but little did anyone know it would evolve into one of the most prominent fanbases and passionate cultures in the sport.
Throughout 2017, day-in and day-out, the sea of red black and gold would show up in full force, filling the stands at Bobby Dodd, all the while, in anticipation of the opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Atlanta United’s true future home. And while the team earned hard-fought points on the road and remained fortified in the ATL for the first 24 games, the midseason move to their state-of-the-art facility downtown proved to be quite the energy boost.
Their Mercedes-Benz stadium debut on September 10th against Dallas was the beginning of a six-match home stretch where they earned five wins, outscored their opponents 22-3, tied the record for largest margin of victory (7-0), set the league’s single-match attendance record, secured a playoff spot and remained unbeaten. And the club would’ve finished the regular season undefeated in their true home if it weren’t for a comeback that fell just short in the final minutes in a 3-2 loss to a man-up Minnesota United side.
In 2017, the Atlanta faithful redefined the meaning of home-field advantage – particularly in MLS. Setting the league’s all-time single-match attendance number wasn’t enough, they had to shatter their own record in the final match of the season with over 71,000 in the stands. That night capped of the historic inaugural regular season where they club led the league in attendance all year and broke the record for all-time season attendance average. And despite a disappointing loss in penalties to halt their MLS Cup run, Five Stripes fans managed to crack the post-season attendance record to finish an epic chapter in style.
People from near and far have heard of the red, black and gold supporters: the unyielding noise, the endless chants, the standing for 90 minutes and the world now knows that Mercedes-Benz Stadium is one of the toughest places to play. Don’t blink, because ATL UTD are about to make their return and it’s a movement you want to be a part of.
Year one was one to remember, but it’s also one of the past. 2018 has arrived, and the first full season in Mercedes-Benz Stadium is upon us. Last year Atlanta United made waves, now it’s time to move mountains. Make sure you’re there when Chapter 2 begins, you won’t want to miss a second of the thrill. Secure your seat to the party or make sure to tune in on ESPN as the match kicks off at 3:00 p.m. EST.