There isn’t too much in MLS that Sal Zizzo hasn’t already seen. As an eight-year veteran, he’s played in just about every stadium and in front of every fan base. But the sea of red, black and gold at Bobby Dodd Stadium is one he couldn’t forget.
“I was on the team that played against Atlanta in their first-ever match, and that atmosphere was unbelievable,” the former New York Red Bull says. “I can’t even imagine how it’s going to be at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but it’s something that I’m looking forward to.”
Watching from New York, Zizzo says the first thing that stuck out about Atlanta United is their remarkable fan base and culture created in the team’s first year. But if that’s what first turned his head, the product on the field is what clinched it as a place he wanted to play.
“Obviously Atlanta is a very talented team,” he said. “It was probably the most exciting team to watch last year and that’s just after one year. As soon as I heard there was interest it was something I jumped at and was very excited to be a part of.”
Zizzo may be an MLS veteran, but there’s still plenty left in the tank at just 30 years old. A solid contributor for several playoff-caliber team in his time, he’s ready to contribute right away to his new team.
“I’ve been around the league quite a bit and played almost every position on the field. I feel like I can bring athleticism and depth at a lot of different spots.”
That league experience will be critical for Atlanta United as they try to build on their inaugural season run. While he’s just getting to know his teammates, he says the quality and technique of the roster was apparent immediately.
“I’m still getting to know the style of play, but it’s a very talented team, a lot of good players, young guys. It’s a team that values the ball a lot, and keeps possession and really dictates the game. So it will be exciting to play for them.”
Atlanta United fans don’t need to worry about Zizzo’s hunger and competitive drive. His eight years in the league have only made him more determined to achieve the ultimate success in Major League Soccer.
“Everybody wants to win MLS Cup, but I think the older I’ve gotten, you start realizing that you don’t have too many years left to do it. I haven’t won it before, so my goals are really just to win.”
Zizzo and his teammates will start that journey March 3rd on the road against the Houston Dynamo before making their return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium against D.C. United in their home opener on March 11th. Tickets to that match are still available –– make sure you reserve your spot here.