Live Blog: Atlanta United Academy Squads Compete in MLS NEXT Flex


Atlanta United's Academy teams traveled to Boyds, Maryland to compete in MLS NEXT Flex from Friday, May 10 to Tuesday, May 14.

What is MLS NEXT Flex?
MLS NEXT Flex is a qualifying competition for the 2024 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs. The U-15, U-16, U-17, and U-19 age groups will each have 64 teams battling to clinch a position in the postseason with their performance. The top seed in each group of four teams will punch their ticket to the season-culminating MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs. Participants in MLS NEXT Flex will qualify and be seeded based on their performance in league matches from September 2023 to March 2024.

What did MLS NEXT Flex mean for Atlanta United?
As the MLS NEXT season nears its conclusion, teams will be looking to make a final push to finish at the top of their division and secure a playoff berth. MLS NEXT Flex becomes crucial for clubs where the divisional title is out of reach, as it can guarantee a playoff spot no matter where a club finishes in the division. Finishing as a top seed in Flex can also mean extra security for those in a tight battle down the final stretch of the season.

Atlanta United's U-15s currently sit in pole position in the East (South) Division with a 10-3-3 record and 33 points. The U-15s are only three points ahead of Orlando City but secured their spot in the postseason after finishing top of their group at Flex after going 2-1-0. They return to action on May 18 against Orlando City at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground.

The U-16 squad also sits atop the Southeast Division table with a 13-2-1 record (40 points). Similarly to the U-15s, the U-16 squad is only separated by three points with the second place Queen City Mutiny, though their regular season has come to a close and have already punched their ticket to MLS NEXT Playoffs. The U-16 squad went 0-2-1 in MLS NEXT Flex, but will still make the trip to Nashville, Tennessee for the Playoffs in mid-June.

Atlanta's U-17 squad currently finds themselves in fourth place in the East (South) Division with a 5-9-3 record (19 points). Inter Miami CF currently leads the group with 29 points. As a playoff berth through the division seems out of reach, MLS NEXT Flex was crucial for the U-17s and their postseason aspirations. Finishing with a 2-1-0 record, the U-17s performed very well at the competition and only narrowly lost out to Sporting Kansas City for the top spot of their group. While the U-17s will not be competing in MLS NEXT Playoffs this year, the team will continue its regular season with their next matchup coming against Orlando City on May 18 at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground.

U-15s Results:
Saturday, May 11: Atlanta United U-15s vs. San Francisco Glens - L, 4-0
Sunday, May 12: Atlanta United U-15s vs. Sporting Kansas City - W, 2-0
Tuesday, May 14: Atlanta United U-15s vs. Met Oval - W, 3-1

U-16s Results:
Friday, May 10:
Atlanta United U-16s vs. Strikers FC - L, 5-0
Saturday, May 11: Atlanta United U-16s vs. Baltimore Armour - L, 3-0
Monday, May 13: Atlanta United U-16s vs. Oakwood Soccer Club - D, 1-1 (Oakwood wins penalty shootout, 3-1)

U-17s Results:
Saturday, May 11:
Atlanta United U-17s vs. De Anza Force - W, 1-0
Sunday, May 12: Atlanta United U-17s vs. Ventura County Fusion - W, 7-1
Tuesday, May 14: Atlanta United U-17s vs. Sporting Kansas City - L, 1-0

All U-15 results from the competion can be found HERE.
All U-16 results from the competition can be found HERE.
All U-17 results from the competition can be found HERE.
All U-19 results from the competition can be found HERE.

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