It’s feeling good to be an Atlanta United fan at current time. The club have finally broken their horrid away form and are absolutely killing it at home. The Fourth of July brings us another home match in from of another sold out crowd at Bobby Dodd Stadium, one of the few remaining. While things are looking up for the Five Stripes, it’s more important now than ever that the team and the supporters keep focus.
The San Jose Earthquakes come to town to celebrate our nation’s birthday. While the league’s Bay Arena representative did just beat their archrival in dramatic fashion, they are also a side that’s struggled all season and have just fired their manager. The Quakes have won just twice on the road all season (2-5-1). For all intents and purposes, Atlanta United have no business losing this match and should take all three points. I know this, you know this and the team knows this. And that’s not ideal.
With the turn in good form, Atlanta have rose above the red playoff line and now sit four points clear of it in fifth place. After this match the league takes a much-needed two-week break in observance of the Gold Cup. A win heading into the break would be just what is needed to set up a run towards the playoffs in the second half. It would carry on the momentum that Atlanta has built up over the past several weeks since the return of Josef Martinez.
However, a letdown against the Quakes would be really disappointing considering how stacked the odds are in Atlanta’s favor. With two weeks to sit on whatever the result of Tuesday’s match is, it’s important that no one — not the team of the supporters — treat this match like it’s a given win. The short turnaround from Saturday in Columbus to Tuesday will be rough, but San Jose will be in the same boat with much more travel in their legs. From the opening whistle, Atlanta United need to come out with the intensity and passion they’ve shown for the majority of their matches at home and the supporters need to do the same.
It’s crazy to say this match is do or die, but it’s not as crazy to think an early July match at home against team you should beat could produce a tragic chain of events in the season’s eye should a slip up occur. It’s vital that everyone come out focused, come out prepared, get the job done and collect three points heading into the break to set up the second half push.