Before teams enter the thick of the MLS regular season, they must prepare for the 2018 journey ahead. Each club will report to preseason on Jan. 22 where they will begin training in various locations and competing in friendly competitions with a focus on ironing out their strategy and lineup for the upcoming season.
Atlanta United’s preseason schedule includes a trip to USL side Nashville SC as well as a return to the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston, South Carolina where they will face Columbus Crew SC, Minnesota United and hosts, Charleston Battery.
Opening Weekend (March 3-4)
The 2018 MLS season kicks off in style on the first weekend of March with matches all day Saturday and Sunday.
Atlanta United begins their season with its first-ever trip to BBVA stadium to face the Houston Dynamo on March 3 at 3:30 p.m. ET live on Univision. Atlanta will then host its first match of 2018 in Mercedes-Benz Stadium the following week against D.C. United on March 11 at 3:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Regular Season (March-October)
The MLS regular season consists of 34 matches for each club (17 home and 17 away) where intra-conference opponents will face each other at least twice and non-conference opponents will meet once. The 2018 regular season runs from the opening weekend of matches in March through the end of October, ultimately ending on Decision Day presented by AT&T on Oct. 28 where 11 matches will all kick off simultaneously at 4:30 p.m. ET. At the end of the season, the team at the top of the table with the best regular season record according to the MLS points system is crowned the Supporter’s Shield champion.
Atlanta United will cap off its season with quite the test by facing 2017 MLS Cup Champions and Supporters’ Shield winners Toronto FC at BMO field on Decision Day.
2018 FIFA World Cup (June-July)
The world’s most prestigious international soccer competition kicks off in the middle of the MLS regular season as 32 nations compete in 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia starting in June 14. More than two dozen MLS players will represent their countries and in turn, the summer will bring a brief international break between June 14-22.
MLS All-Star Game (Atlanta, GA)
Following last year’s event where the MLS All-Stars faced off against Spanish giants, Real Madrid in Chicago, the league announced that the 2018 MLS All-Star Game will be held in Atlanta, Georgia at ATL UTD’s home of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Details regarding this year’s date, opponent and ticket information will be announced at a later date, but make sure to keep an eye out, you won’t want to miss the league’s best of the best as they compete in Atlanta’s new downtown state-of-the-art facility.
MLS Cup Playoffs (November-December)
Immediately after the 34-game regular season, the MLS playoffs will commence where the top-six teams from each conference will battle it out in hopes of being crowned MLS Cup Champions. Last year, Atlanta United qualified for the postseason as the No. 4 seed in its impressive inaugural season and will be looking to mimic that success and more in 2018, perhaps by bringing home the team’s first trophy.