If one steps back and just looks at the table, the fact that Atlanta United have 30 points through 19 matches and currently sit at 4th in the Eastern Conference is truly incredible and a testament to what this club has been able to do since 2014 to prepare themselves for their inaugural season.
However, Atlanta must now prepare for their inaugural playoff push, and due to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium construction delays, this “push” will be more like a quick and forceful shove. Before we dive too deep, let’s take a look at Atlanta United’s remaning schedule.
7/21: @ Orlando City
7/29: vs. Orlando City
8/6: @ Sporting Kansas City
8/23: @ D.C. United
8/26: @ Philadelphia Union
9/10: vs. FC Dallas
9/13: vs. New England Revolution
9/16: vs. Orlando City
9/20: vs. Los Angeles Galaxy
9/23: vs. Montreal Impact
9/27: vs. Philadelphia Union
9/30: @ New England Revolution
10/3: vs. Minnesota United
10/15: @ New York Red Bulls
10/22: vs. Toronto FC
Okay, so first Atlanta plays Orlando City in a home and away two-leg fixture, and whoever wins on aggregate is the Eastern Conference champion. Alright fine, but that would be really epic.
These couple matches will mean a lot. The start of a new rivalry (Florida isn't the South...did I do it? Did I trash talk?) and the last home game at Bobby Dodd Stadium will mark quite a reintroduction to the season.
Then, United take on their last lengthy road trip of the season, as they face the current Western Conference leaders in Sporting Kansas City, the pain in Atlanta United's backside referred to as D.C. United, and the Philadelphia Union just three days later. It's important to point out that there's another seventeen days in between the SKC and D.C. matches due to the construction delay, which forced two home matches originally scheduled during that time to be postponed. So, if you're struggling with Five Stripes withdrawal already, seek help in the coming month.
Once Atlanta comes home, they'll be staying for quite a while. In fact, they'll be moving into a new home, as Mercedes-Benz Stadium opens their doors(and roof) to Atlanta United for the first time when they host FC Dallas on September 10th. The most crucial stretch of the entire season continues when Atlanta plays five straight home matches in fourteen days.
The final four matches alternate between away and home, with the last regular season game coming on October 22nd versus Toronto FC.
Here are a couple facts to mull over.
- Only six of Atlanta United's last fifteen matches are against clubs currently above the red line. Three of those are against Orlando City.
- Since MLS began playing 34-match regular seasons in 2011, an average of 46.25 points were needed to be the sixth best team in either conference(46.17 average for the Eastern Conference).
Buckle up, Atlanta supporters. These next couple of months are going to be wild, with plenty of matches, a state-of-the-art stadium, and our inaugural playoff push to look forward to.
What are you most excited for?