What a journey it’s been for Atlanta United so far in their 2017 MLS season. From the first game to the first goal, from the Mercedes-Benz Stadium debut to clinching a playoff spot, there’s been plenty of memorable moments. But as the club enters the final month of their inaugural regular season, there’s still plenty on the line. Here’s what Atlanta fans can look forward to in October:
Keeping the streaks alive
The red, black and gold have some impressive streaks going that they will be hoping to maintain heading into the final month. First is their impressive defensive record: the team is on a run of four consecutive clean sheets, with the squad riding on more than six and a half hours of competitive play without conceding a goal. They’re also unbeaten in eight league matches, and without a loss in their last twelve at home.
The race for the Supporters’ Shield may be over with Toronto officially securing the best record in the league over the weekend, but there’s still plenty to play for. Atlanta United are in control of their own destiny to finish in second place for the Eastern Conference, which would secure a first-round bye in the playoffs. If they fall short, there’s also a crucial race for home-field advantage in the first-round play-in game. Considering Atlanta United’s incredible home record at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, that could be a vital piece of the puzzle in the team’s hopes for an MLS Cup run.
Atlanta United’s high-flying offense has been one of the storylines of the MLS season, and they are chasing history in that department as well as the team enters the month of October. Scoring six more goals would put the team into the top three all-time for scoring in an MLS regular season. Their +31 goal differential also currently ranks fourth all-time in league history, just one goal behind entering the top three. And don’t forget the individual scoring, with striker Josef Martinez now sitting just three goals behind Chicago’s Nemanja Nikolic in the Golden Boot race.
The incredible support of the Atlanta United fans has turned heads across the world, and there is history to chase there as well. On the 22nd, Atlanta United will open the whole stadium for the Toronto FC match as it looks to break its own MLS single-match regular season attendance record of 70,425 set in September. The team has already shattered the record for total attendance for an expansion franchise, and is also on the verge of breaking the per-game average attendance record for any MLS team set by the Seattle Sounders in 2015.
First playoff match
Whether the team secures a first-round bye or not, October will mark yet another landmark moment for Atlanta United. After becoming just the fourth expansion side ever to clinch a playoff spot, the red, black and gold with make their postseason debut at the end of the month. If they are in the play-in game, they will play their first playoff game ever on October 25th or 26th. If they secure the bye, they will play in the Eastern Conference semifinals starting on October 30th and 31st.
There’s been so much already written in the Atlanta United history books this season, but there is plenty still on the line for the Five Stripes as the team heads into the final month of the regular season. The club – and its fans – will be hoping that it is just the beginning as we head into yet another exciting and crucial month in the season.