November 29, 2018
It’s a cold rainy (ok maybe not) night in Red Bull Arena.
The stage is set for the second leg of the Eastern Conference Finals in the MLS Cup Playoffs with Atlanta United surely to take the 3-0 lead they secured in the first leg and ride it to victory one way or another.
But it isn’t quite that simple is it?
*double checks city name*
*double checks notes*
*doesn’t actually have notes*
Sports in Atlanta seem to consistently raise the bar of having high hopes, dreams, and expectations of a sports team that will inevitably crush and destroy it, leaving heartbreak in its path.
But we already know this.
Most of us have taken this 3-0 lead, something no team has ever come back on, looked at it and are still worried about how we could possibly blow and collapse this lead in the most Atlanta way possible.
But now the Atlanta sports curse faces a new challenger. “That’s so Metro” they say, like they know our pain. Maybe they do.
See the team that’s on the other side of the ball, the New York Red Bulls, have had a massive spell of disappointments, much like Atlanta sports teams, including this season.
After winning the Supporters’ Shield and breaking the MLS single season points record (71), the Red Bulls were the favorites coming into this series. They never lost to Atlanta, they run their system to near perfection every time out it seems, and they were going against a team with loads of pressure and expectations. And just as the Red Bulls expected, Atlanta completely dominated the first leg of this series.
Tonight’s game will have these teams looking to dispell their narratives and exorcise these alleged sports demons.
Can Atlanta United go against their city’s sports norm of blowing big leads and instead pave their way to a championship game? Or will they be another team in Atlanta sports history under the label “no team has ever blown a lead this big before”?
For the Red Bulls it will be their chance to break through years of playoff failures or just end up adding another chapter to “That’s so Metro”.
It’s time to see which curse is the strongest. May the odds be in our favor this once.