Atlanta United's Home Opener Sets The Bar For MLS Expansion

If their first game is anything to go by, Atlanta United is the most exciting MLS club of all time.

Atlanta United have played their first Major League Soccer game, and, for the most part, it lived up to the phenomenal amount of hype surrounding it. One of the biggest things that stood, with regards to their play, was just how quick they are for an expansion side.

Against a New York Red Bulls team that made the 2016 Eastern Conference Semifinals, you'd think that it would be a very one-sided affair. However, this newly formed club showed what they are made of, only losing the game 2-1 after surrendering two late goals.

The crowd itself was something that you just had to witness with your own eyes, even MLS commissioner Don Garber was skeptical of the predicted numbers that he was seeing leading up to the match. 

In fact, Garber was so skeptical that he even had to text Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank a few times, repeatedly asking if he was sure that the total number of tickets sold was correct. 

And this is just the start. According to Blank, the number of season tickets sold so far is well above 30,000, which marks the most season tickets sold by any MLS expansion team in league history.

The crowd who attended the team's first official match were a part of history. Amazingly, it was the fourth-largest attendance of any soccer game around the world last weekend.

  1. 79,100 — Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayer Leverkusen (Bundesliga)
  2. 77,117 — Barcelona vs. Celta Vigo (La Liga)
  3. 75,245 — Manchester Untied vs. Bournemouth (Premier League)
  4. 55,297 Atlanta United- NY Red Bulls (MLS)

 

It almost had the feeling of a playoff match. The crowd was completely into it, and not only did it have a positive effect on United players, but the opposing Red Bulls took notice as well, the crowd receiving praise after the game from the likes of Jesse Marsch, Sacha Kljestan and Luis Robles.

"Atmosphere — amazing, phenomenal, really impressive. Another jewel in the crown of MLS. Their team is good. Tata Martino is a good coach. He has a clear tactical way of doing things. They tried to exploit us on the wing a bit. They'll be good," NYRB coach Marsch said.

Another individual who enjoys speaking his mind during interviews is Kljestan, who had this to say: "Awesome. Atlanta seems to be doing a lot of things right. The training facility was top-notch. The atmosphere of the stadium with the fans — amazing. Atlanta is a team I think is pretty good. I think they will do pretty well this season. They've got some talented players and they dare to play. It was a pretty fun game tonight."

The last player who had some high-praise for the newly formed MLS squad and their fans was Luis Robles. " They're good. They are a really good team," he said. "I want to commend this entire organization for the product they are putting out on the field, but also the environment in the stadium. They've just joined the league but it feels like this is one of those places that you want to play at."

The reaction from the crowd when Yamil Asad was able to find the back of the net for the first goal in the history of Atlanta United was something special that fans will remember for years to come. This team is a hugely exciting addition to MLS.

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