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Atlanta United’s Keys to Success in 2017

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After a successful and exciting first preseason for Atlanta United, optimism is high for the new kings of the south in MLS, as the club strives for success in their inaugural season. 

Atlanta United

50 - Last season, half of the teams who qualified for the Eastern Conference conceded more than 50 goals, with none of the playoff teams in the Western Conference reaching that mark. Atlanta United has shown a failure at times to be fully concentrated at the back in preseason, and though the side was saved by their attacking output, this cannot be relied upon for the whole season.

Merc Fortress - When Atlanta United takes the field for the first time at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in late July, having strong home form should be of great importance to them. Being able to rely on a strong home form backbone would be huge for the club, especially in the run of 5 consecutive home games in September.

35,000 & 55,000 - If Atlanta United reaches their maximum attendance (or near enough to it) at both Bobby Dodd Stadium (55,000 capacity) and the Mercedes-Benz Stadium (35,000 normal soccer capacity), they would feasibly have higher attendance than all of their conference rivals in two stadiums, which would be a great accomplishment for a new club.

Pragmatism - Keeping losses to a minimum is important for every soccer club, and though it seems likely Atlanta United may prefer to lose going for the win than settle for a tie, picking up points wherever possible should be of great importance throughout the season.

Patience - Being one of the new kids in the league should not be underestimated, and it will take time for the players to gel together, and for those inexperienced in MLS to adapt to the league. There will be ups and downs for the club inevitably, but often form does come around, and with experienced players and manager, they have the tools to turn poor form around.

#1 - On July 10th, US international Brad Guzan will join Atlanta United, one of the club’s marquee signings. His impact could improve the defensive situation, and add to goalkeeping depth, with the 32-year-old having a great deal of experience at the highest level.

12 - On March 12, 2017, Atlanta United faces their name-related rival in Minnesota United. Given the previous mini-beef over the names of the two franchises and being the two newest MLS clubs, showing which expansion team is best is a good piece of bragging rights for Atlanta.

#30 - And the last, and potentially best is number 30, Andrew Carleton, potentially Atlanta’s own local hero. Obviously, putting too much expectation on a 16 year-old is very risky, but he has shown his quality and pre-season, something which is very much anticipated in the A. It does not matter if he is not yet the finished product at the very beginning, or even that he has a jaw-dropping season, but to see Carleton’s skills in MLS is extremely exciting, and could bode well for a bright future for Atlanta soccer.