Every Atlanta United supporter left Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday night with a smile on their face. Many were smiling because of the 4-0 thrashing Atlanta United dealt the Chicago Fire, but hopefully others were smiling for the same reason I was.
The atmosphere was astonishing at times, and it was a major step toward Atlanta United cementing itself as one of the best fanbases in MLS. Perhaps more importantly though, Atlanta United is making a case as the best fanbase in Atlanta. The city’s embrace of this team will begin with the experience that comes with attending a match. Supporters showcased themselves on Saturday, and it must have been a truly phenomenal time for both die-hard and casual fans.
I was in attendance for the opening home match, but something about Saturday felt different from a supporter’s perspective. Everyone, and I mean everyone, seemed to be engaged in not only the match, but what chants were being started. That should be contributed to the simplicity of the cheers and communication between the supporters section and fans sitting on other sides of the stadium.
The two chants that involved the entire stadium echoed for what seemed like an eternity. I mean, it was raucous at times. These cheers will hopefully become staples of Atlanta United, sending jolts of confidence through every player sporting the red and black.
Also, the freedom supporters felt to start their own chants was pretty awesome. For example, a couple fans standing behind me started a “He scores when he wants, he scores when he wants. Josef Martinez, he scores when he wants” cheer that quickly gained momentum throughout much of the section. More natural chants like that will continue to materialize during the season.
Lastly, a special shoutout to Nermin Sakonjic, who led the supporters section on Saturday. He was commanding and did a fantastic job of getting everyone on the same page.
This was all just a way of saying well done, Atlanta. Keep up the incredible work, and let’s do it all again on April 30th. Dear God, that’s such a long time from now.