Playing at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in front of the 17s takes the phrase “home field advantage” to a whole other level.
It all started when the 5-Stripes first took their new home turf in front of 45,314 fans on September 10, 2017 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Having gone winless in seven weeks, both at Bobby Dodd Stadium and on the road, a victory was imperative. With a dominating 3-0 performance over FC Dallas under the new roof, it was clear Atlanta United had found its home.
More than just a win that day, a special atmosphere was born. In the 41st minute, the A-T-L clap began to echo across Mercedes-Benz Stadium. From Arthur Blank’s suite, club president Darren Eales got goosebumps. Plans to open up the 300-level and sell out the stadium for later matches had begun.
Every season, Atlanta United selects a few matches to take down the red, black, and gold curtains and open up the 300-level seats. Of the highest-attendance regular season MLS matches, Atlanta United holds 9 of the top 10 spots – each right around 70,000.
This year, the 5-Stripes face two tough challenges for their full-venue matches: first against Austin FC on July 9th and then recent CONCACAF Champions Seattle Sounders on August 6th. Neither of these matches will be a walk in the park. But if history tells us anything, magic is created when Atlanta United plays in front of a stadium full of rowdy and proud 17s.
To gear up for our upcoming full-venue matches, let’s take a look back at some of the best moments when we filled Mercedes-Benz Stadium:
1. Loudest Cheer: Final whistle in MLS Cup - December 8th, 2018
While there was no one there measuring exact decibels, legend has it that Mercedes-Benz Stadium shook with the uproar that followed the final whistle in the 95th minute of the 2018 MLS Cup. From the train horn blasting to stomping feet, the 2-0 win that secured Atlanta’s MLS Cup title just one year after the club’s inaugural season will go down in history.
2. Underdog Moment: Caleb Wiley Scores in MLS Debut – February 27th, 2022
Most teenagers are worried about slipping into class after the bell rings, but 17-year-old Caleb Wiley was more concerned about slipping the ball past Sporting Kansas City’s goalkeeper. After just 14 minutes into his MLS debut, the Atlanta homegrown scored his first MLS career goal in front of 67,523 supporters – two of which were his parents, cheering loudly right behind the players’ bench.
3. Best Duel: Martínez vs Dwyer – September 16th, 2017
Back before they were teammates, they went head-to-head in Atlanta United’s first ever full-venue match.
In an epic back-and-forth, MLS strikers Josef Martínez and Dom Dwyer took turns finding the back of the net. Dwyer would strike first for the purple team with a header to the side netting. Martínez answered with a sliding finish about 25 minutes later. Then Dwyer with another header. Then Martínez gets a header. Dwyer assists a header. Martínez slips in behind defenders and slots it.
At the end of 90 minutes, each team walked away with 1 point for the 3-3 tie. In the epic showdown in front of 70,425 supporters, the two MLS strikers put on quite the show.
Good thing these guys are on the same team now, huh?
4. Best Golden Spike Hitter: Ric Flair - October 19th, 2019
If anyone knows how to get a crowd pumped up, it’s wrestling legend Ric Flair.
As the 5-Stripes were gearing up in the locker room for Round One of the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs, Mercedes-Benz Stadium was booming. The crowd needed someone to match that energy and hammer in the Golden Spike – who better than a 16-time WWE world champion?
After ripping off his jacket and giving his famous “WOOO” for the crowd, Ric Flair hammered in the Golden Spike to kick off the club’s 2019 playoff run. The 5-Stripes went on to win a thrilling match against New England 1-0 in front of 66,114 supporters.
5. Best Tifo: Full-Stadium Tifo, Eastern Conference Finals – November 25th, 2018
Anytime 70,000 people come together to make art, magic is bound to happen. As the players took the pitch prior to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2018, they were met with the entirety of Mercedes-Benz Stadium participating in a full-stadium tifo.
With the words “VAMOS” and “ATL” mirroring one another and the club’s colors radiating from each supporter, the supporters were able to come together and make this moment happen. Over the years, Atlanta United tifos have been inspirational, exciting and sometimes even poke fun at opponents.
Want to know what next match’s tifo will be? Well, you’ll have to be there to find out.
Special moments happen when Mercedes-Benz Stadium is packed to the brim with rowdy and proud 17s, all chanting together as one voice.
So don’t miss out on the magic. Secure your spot today for our full-venue matches on July 9th and August 6th.