With the unofficial halfway point of the season, the MLS All-Star Game, now in the rearview, it gives us time to look back at some of the moments so far that have made this season special. Here are our ten best moments of the season so far:
10. Soccer under the Stars
Atlanta United fans got a special treat with this summer when the Mercedes-Benz Stadium roof opened to the Georgia sky for a night of soccer under the stars. Atlanta United cruised to a 3-1 win over the Phialdelphia Union, with two early red cards for Philly and yet another Josef Martinez hat trick paving the way to victory.
9. The Proving Ground's debut
Years down the line, the lasting impact of this moment may be felt the most. ATL UTD 2 made its official on-field debut this year, facing New York Red Bulls II at Coolray Field in Gwinnett County for the first time ever. ATL UTD 2 got a shock win in their first ever match, capped off by an acrobatic finish by Yosef Samuel.
8. King Peach debuts at Open Training
For the first time ever, Atlanta United opened the gates of the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground to fans for an opening training at their Marietta home. Not only were supporters treated to an open training, it marked the official debut of the King Peach kit, in a memorable night for Five Stripes fans.
7. Andrew Carleton’s first start
It’s no surprise that Atlanta United fans are invested in the future of their hometown product, Andrew Carleton. So when the club’s first Homegrown Signing got his first MLS start earlier this season, it was a night of celebration –– and a promising next step in the young player’s career.
6. The World Cup Final Watch Party and another MLS Record
The 2018 FIFA World Cup took hold of the nation yet again this year, with televisions across the U.S. locked on the world’s biggest sporting event. Atlanta United fans got to see the final on the really big screen, with Mercedes-Benz Stadium displaying the match on the halo board. Immediately after the match, FOX Switched over to Atlanta United’s match against Seattle in Atlanta, where the Five Stripe faithful set yet another MLS record with 72,243 supporters in attendance.
5. MLS All-Star comes to Atlanta
Speaking of putting Atlanta on display, that was certainly the case this Summer when European giants Juventus came to the capital of the South to face the MLS All-Stars at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It was a celebration of soccer in the South, and of course it was capped off with a Josef Martinez headed finish.
4. Kings of the South
Any win over Orlando City is a memorable one, but after match after match of close competition, the score was much more lopsided in the Lions only trip to Mercedes-Benz Stadium this year. After a stellar tifo from the supporters’ stand, Atlanta United’s scoring could not be stopped as they came out 4-0 winners.
3. Kratz the free kick King
Looking back at the results from the season, a 4-1 win over Montreal seems like a dominant win. But up until the 78th minute, it was still a frustrating 1-1 match. But up stepped Kevin Kratz, arcing an unstoppable free kick over the wall and in to send the crowd into raptures. Only to top himself 12 minutes later with another incredible free kick goal.
2. For the Kids
It’s been an unforgettable season so far on the field, but the moments off the field are just as special to the club. Miguel Almirón and Josef Martinez both met some of their youngest fans in moments they won’t soon forget.
1. Josef Makes History
Whenever Atlanta United makes history –– and they’ve done it several times already –– it’s always a special moment for fans of the red, black and gold. So when Josef Martinez tallied his sixth career hat trick to break the all-time MLS record, it was a night Five Stripes fans will remember for a long time.