It’s hard to believe Atlanta United’s inaugural season is already in the books, but 2018 is here and you’ll want to be there for every moment of year two. The full MLS schedule is out now, and while Atlanta United fans show out for every match, here are five matches that you absolutely cannot miss:
Saturday, Apr. 7 @5:00 p.m. ET– Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Last year Atlanta and Minnesota United entered the league, but MLS is yet to finish growing and LAFC marks the next expansion side to come onto the American soccer scene in 2018. So far the new Southern California club has turned some heads in their roster construction bringing in former U.S. Soccer Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley as well as on-field international talent including Carlos Vela (Mexico), Omar Gaber (Egypt), Diego Rossi (Uruguay) and some experienced MLSers. Make sure you’re there when Atlanta United welcomes LAFC to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the first time ever.
Sunday, June 24 @4:30 p.m. ET – Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Last season, Atlanta traveled out West to Providence Park and battled the Timbers to a 1-1 draw in their first and only meeting ever. After earning a tough point in Cascadia, Atlanta will now welcome Portland to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the first time ever in 2018 –– and the Atlanta faithful will be sure to prove that the Timbers Army isn’t the only rowdy, die-hard fanbase in MLS. While last year’s league MVP Diego Valeri still leads the Timbers, this offseason has seen Atlanta United acquire one of Portland’s other beloved mainstays in midfielder Darlington Nagbe. So, this year’s matchup will have a little something extra under the surface. Be sure to tune in to this one near the end of June.
Orlando City SC
Saturday, June 30 @7:00 p.m. ET – Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Even before Atlanta United kicked off last season, animosity began to brew between fans in Orlando and Atlanta in attempt to determine the true soccer Kings of the South. When the two clubs finally took the field to face each other in 2017, the result was nothing short of exhilarating. Three meetings ensued keeping people on edge: one with a 40-yard game-winning strike, one with a last-minute equalizer and the other a 3-3 thriller. So you’ll want to catch this one in June, and perhaps Tito Villalba will continue to live up to his “Lion Tamer” nickname.
Sunday, July 15 @2:00 p.m. ET – Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Along with Toronto FC, the Seattle Sounders have been one of the most successful and dangerous teams of the last few seasons, winning MLS Cup in 2016 and appearing again in the final in 2017. The side features U.S. Internationals Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris, and Cristian Roldan as well as the nifty Uruguayan playmaker Nicolás Lodeiro. Last year Atlanta and Seattle competed intensely for 90 minutes at CenturyLink Field which ultimately ended in a scoreless deadlock. This year ATL UTD welcomes the Sounders to Atlanta for the first time and just their second-ever meeting, so make sure to tune in for this sizzling summer matchup.
Columbus Crew SC
Sunday, Aug. 19 @4:00 p.m. ET – Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Atlanta United fans will not soon forget their first-ever postseason match, who they faced and how they fell just inches short of winning it in a heart-wrenching penalty shootout. But with a new year ahead and new postseason hopes again in play, every Atlanta supporter will certainly have their eye on this one as ATL UTD welcomes the Columbus Crew back to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for a rematch in Atlanta that’s sure to be as galvanizing as the last. While regulation may have ended scoreless, anyone in attendance would tell you it was one of the most exciting matches of 2017.