Yesterday Atlanta United announced that the team would open Mercedes Benz Stadium against FC Dallas on September 10 making 42,500 seats available. MBS can hold up to 75,000 fans and two later matches will be open to the entire stadium.
It may come as a surprise that the team is going to curtain off 30,000 plus seats for the inaugural game at the Benz, and it looks like they’re selling themselves more than a little short.
Really, what is this?
Atlanta United hasn’t done anything half way all year. Three designated players from the start, eight straight sell outs, leading the league in attendance, first in goals, Lionel Messi’s former coach manages the team, the U-15/U-16 team is on the way to possibly winning the first hardware in team history, the list goes on...
Opening the new stadium is a unique opportunity for the team. Atlanta United will essentially have two opening days in one season. Sure, the match against FC Dallas will have competition with the NFL season opening that day. But Atlanta has taken to this team wholeheartedly. You can’t walk a block in this city without seeing a yard with a United flag in it, an apartment with a Five Stripes banner hanging in the window, or drive a mile without seeing a car with a team decal on the back bumper.
Perhaps the front office doesn’t want to push its luck or is waiting for the lower sections of the stadium to sell out first, but that just doesn’t seem like the team’s style. The Atlanta United that I know always attacks, always sells out its games, and sets ambitious goals. In addition, the fans have not created an atmosphere that rivals any of the most renowned soccer venues in the world by letting the team down.
Atlanta United has given fans all they could possibly want out of an expansion side and it shouldn’t stop when it opens the new stadium. The opportunity to have 75,000 rowdy and proud supporters propelling the team to another victory isn’t something the team should pass up as United begins a new chapter in its history.