With the international break in the rearview mirror, it’s back to match week for Atlanta United. And there’s a big one this week, with tthe first silverware in the team’s history a possibility as early as Sunday. With only two matches remaining, three points is the goal for the Five Stripes as they take on the Chicago Fire at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Here’s everything that’s at stake this weekend
The Supporters’ Shield
While a win doesn’t guarantee a Supporters’ Shield trophy, Atlanta United could claim their first trophy in team history with a little help this weekend. First, what the team can control: a win is a must to guarantee that the Five Stripes control their destiny heading into the final match on the road against Toronto FC. But the only other team left in contention is the New York Red Bulls, who sit one point back. They have what is probably their most difficult match left this season as they travel to a surging Philadelphia Union side who have had success against the Red Bulls in the past. If Atlanta United wins, a loss for the Red Bulls this weekend would mean the Five Stripes clinch the Supporters’ Shield as the best record in MLS this season, their first trophy in team history.
Concacaf Champions League
Another primary goal for the team this season is to secure a spot in the 2019 Concacaf Champions League, the international competition between the top clubs in North America. The only way to do that for next season is to have the best aggregate record over this season and last season, and the good news is that Atlanta United is nearly there. They control their destiny for that this weekend: if the red, black and gold get any result –– a win or a draw –– it would officially clinch their spot in next year’s most prestigious international tournament in North America.
Winning the Supporters’ Shield is more than just a regular season achievement: it has implications in the playoffs as well. Winning this match would go a long way toward clinching the #1 overall seed in the playoffs, which would guarantee home-field advantage throughout the postseason – meaning a MLS Cup Final in Mercedes-Benz Stadium if they are to reach that stage.
Regular Season Points Record
Atlanta United currently sit at 66 points on the season so far, with two matches left to play. The all-time regular season record for points in a season was set last season by Toronto FC, who ended the season with 69 points. One win and a draw is all the team needs to set a new benchmark for MLS regular season success, so a win this weekend would be a massive step.