Atlanta sports have long suffered from heartbreak and are without a major championship since 1995, but the introduction of Atlanta United FC into MLS could be the spark the city needs.
After Cleveland’s success in the NBA Finals this year, their 52-year wait for a title officially ended. With that being said, Atlanta’s 21-year title drought is still one of the longest in the United States (4th to be exact) and while MLS isn’t considered a top 4 league, genuine hope for a title with their new soccer team is perfect for Atlanta.
Since the Atlanta Braves won the World Series in 1995, the Falcons, Hawks and Braves have given us some great memories but so much more heartbreak. The city has come close to glory a few times and although hope isn’t a theme all too common in Georgia’s capital, Atlanta United can change that.
No one is saying Atlanta will be one of the best teams in MLS immediately and a title isn’t guaranteed whatsoever but they have a unique chance because of their situation. Being an expansion team doesn’t necessarily put them at the bottom of the talent pool and they can look to Portland, who are a perfect example of an expansion team being successful early in their Major League Soccer history.
The Portland Timbers joined MLS in 2011 and four years later, they were celebrating their first ever MLS Cup win. While Atlanta may not have that immediate success, the opportunity is there and with more players overseas willing to come to the United States, Atlanta could attract some big name players to kick start their franchise.
We’ve already seen names like Andres Guardado linked to Atlanta’s upcoming MLS team and with the draft playing nowhere near as big a role as it does in the NFL, NBA and NHL, Atlanta have no reason to begin slow. There’s no need to tank for the number one pick because of the ability to buy players from overseas, giving Atlanta United a real opportunity to make some noise and represent the city proudly.
The process of building an expansion team is long and strenuous but Atlanta United have started their franchise the way anyone would want. Experienced minds are in the front office while rumors of the first designated player are everywhere. Atlanta United can change the mood around Atlanta, just give it a little time.