There's something about the "Bad Guy" that I absolutely love. How he can turn an entire crowd of people against him with just a few simple words. How he sits there in his smugness, reveling in the pure hatred raining down on his being. Hatred is a powerful emotion. To hate something means that you are deeply caring and passionate about it to muster such a strong feeling instead of the normal apathy we feel for so many things. To hate is simply to care.
Like it or not, Atlanta United is becoming the bad guy of MLS. The transformation has already begun and it's going to get worse from here on out. They don't like our name or our logo. They don't like our billionaire owner who throws his weight around the league office and gets his way. They don't like our revolutionary stadium that will make all others inferior. We haven't played a single match yet and they hate us.
And you know what? That should make you very happy.
Every superhero needs a villain. Sports aren't like the movies where the heroes always win. More times than not in sports, the nastier, hated, feared team gets the leg up and comes out victorious. History is littered with teams who were universally hated but extremely successful. There's no reason that Atlanta United cannot be one of these teams. They have the financial backing, the motivation to succeed, and a clean slate from which to work with.
It doesn't matter that every other MLS fan base in the league hates us. We should be more worried if they didn't care about us at all. Instead they mock us and ridicule us for things out of our control. As long as we use that hate among ourselves as fuel to become top notch supporters of a top notch club, all they will have is their hatred as we transform into a league power.
We'll gladly accept the "Bad Guy" tag in MLS. You better be ready to deal with the "Bad Guy" once 2017 arrives.