[double clicks Green Day -- Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)]
Atlanta will play at least one more home game
We knew coming into the match that Atlanta United would be playing another match, we just didn’t know when it would take place, or who the opponent would be. Now we know. Atlanta, as the 4th seed, will face off against the Columbus Crew at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Thursday, October 26 at 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Atlanta has twice beaten the Crew this season, but the players said after the match Sunday that anything that happened in the past is just that — history. The only thing that matter is how the players come out and perform on Thursday. The better team on the day will win.
Atlanta is the best supported American soccer club EVER
This is not an opinion. This is fact. The final attendance tally on the season ended at a whopping 819,404 fans who watched this team. That averages out to 48,200, which is the most this country has ever seen. And I’m not just talking about an MLS record either. In fact, with the record crowd of 71,874 Sunday, Atlanta United overtook the New York Cosmos’ average attendance of 47,856 in 15 games in 1978.
While we’re talking about milestones/impressive figures for Atlanta this season, try these on for size: Atlanta finished with the fourth-best goal differential in MLS history (+30) and became just the 7th team in league history to score at least 70 goals in a season. That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.
Atlanta fans are not fond of Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore
To put it mildly, there’s been some resentment brewing in Atlanta for the United States Men’s National team and the players and staff involved with the program’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
It was evident every time Michael Bradley or Jozy Altidore touched the ball.
The hostile Atlanta crowd was well aware of their whereabouts on the field, and Mercedes Benz Stadium echoed with boos every. single. time. they received a pass and held the ball. Make no mistake, this was not a smattering of boos, nor a bellowing coming from a particularly upset section. It was coming from the vast majority of the MLS record attendance, 71, 874 rabid fans. And if the boos weren’t enough...
“The Biggest Losers” banner with a photo of Bradley and Altidore. Amazing. pic.twitter.com/sB0c29Rccs— Haris Kruskic (@HKruskic) October 22, 2017
Brad Guzan is currently the best American goalkeeper
Atlanta United’s shotstopper came up big on multiple occasions to deny Altidore, and while it’s clear that he has better reactions than his national team counterpart Tim Howard, that’s not the only thing that makes him America’s best. His presence in the box is impressive, and with a big, strong body, he does well to punch or claim crosses and generally snuff out attacks before they become more dangerous. But maybe his most impressive quality is his ability to spring counter attacks. Guzan’s tendency to add urgency to the play after recovering a ball and hurl it downfield to Tito Villalba can be a game changing play. He’s one of the best goalkeepers in MLS, and he’s worth every penny of whatever Atlanta is paying him.
Atlanta has every facility to win MLS Cup
Ok, the playoffs are here. The team is almost completely healthy (Parkhurst is fine despite his late substitution and Almiron looked lively in his 30 minutes on the field) and there are no excuses going forward. That’s not to say they should win every game from here on out -- and the odds are stacked against them doing so — but they have shown throughout the season that they are one of the top teams in the league in terms of quality. As evidenced by the hard-fought draw Sunday afternoon, Atlanta has shown the ability to go toe-to-toe with Toronto FC, arguably the best team in MLS history. Atlanta has all the tools required, the only question is if the ball will bounce their way, if they can remain healthy throughout, and if they can come up big in the most important moments. I have no idea what’s going to happen, but I can’t wait to find out.