Atlanta United played a lot of good games this year, even some of the draws were incredible. We got the band back together to discuss what they thought was the best game for the team in 2017. The hard part about a list like this is picking just five games. There’s no doubt that there were others that could be on this list, so let us know your favorite in comments.
Jesmary Lorenzo - Atlanta United vs. Tornoto FC
With this game, Atlanta broke their own MLS single-game attendance record with a crowd of 71,874. The stakes were high, last game of the season with a lot to play for. It felt like a playoff game all the way through, Atlanta United went all in and came close to clinching the Eastern Conference's No. 2 seed, but an amazing free kick from Sebastian Giovinco prevented it. Even though Atlanta didn’t get what they wanted they should be proud how they played against one of the best MLS teams ever. The intensity, atmosphere and the world class players in both sides made this one of the best games of the season.
Parker Cleveland - Atlanta United at Minnesota United
The first and only time Atlanta United would beat another United all year! (I’m off to a good start). This game was just fun, the MLS orange visibility ball made an appearance and to start the game there was no way to know how the snow was going to affect the game. Plus that, it was the second game of the season. Atlanta had played well against the New York Red Bulls but lost, and the six goal outburst, Josef hat trick, and snow made it very entertaining to watch.
It was the kind of game that showed what Atlanta United was capable of at its very best. Plus, as far as bragging rights go, the game showed how well Atlanta was prepared to come into its first season in MLS while the Loons showed that they needed to make several major adjustments after the season was underway.
Sydney Hunte - Atlanta United vs. Orlando City in MBS
This match was everything an MLS match should be: plenty of scoring, high-flying action on both ends of the field, chances galore. The only thing wrong with it was the ending. While the two teams’ first game against each other at Bobby Dodd and the second one away to Orlando were enjoyable (especially with Billboard-gate), the third one really showed what a fun rivalry this can be. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what the future holds.
Haris Kruskic - Atlanta United vs. Houston Dynamo
This was my favorite match because it was the most memorable. A lightning storm that delayed the match for roughly an hour could've been a potentially bad omen, but it didn't put a damper on the spirits of the players or the fans. In fact, both groups had their moments to shine. The fans did so before the match even began, as a technical malfunction with the national anthem singers' microphone forced everyone to step in with their own rendition. It was a beautiful moment, followed by a hat trick of monumental proportions from Miguel Almiron and a debuting 16-year-old that goes by the name of Andrew Carleton. There were just so many talking points that came from this match, and that's why it stands out among the rest.
Rob Usry - Atlanta United at Columbus Crew
This will be a controversial take because all of the home matches throughout the season were great. The fans, the atmosphere, everything was fantastic. However, I believe the best and most important turning point of the season was the 2-0 win away at Columbus Crew on July 1st. It was a crucial game for the inaugural season, because it really marked the first time we saw a pragmatic Tata Martino.
Coming into the season we saw Tata implement his all-out pressing style both on the road and at home. While at home it worked wonders, away it led to some pretty awful matches. Finally we saw a willingness to sit behind the ball and defend as a team. It worked flawlessly with Anton Walkes being a new addition to the starting lineup. A couple of counter-attacks led to two Tito Villalba goals and the defense played great to earn a win. From then on, we saw a great balance between aggression and pragmatism that led to Atlanta sustaining their place in the standings until the opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.