Despite having their worst-ever season in franchise history, Atlanta United will play in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League. The news came on Friday when the U.S. Soccer Federation announced how the four spots for the competition will be divvied up.
In addition to the MLS Cup winners, MLS is Back winners and Supporters’ Shield winners, the fourth and final spot will go to the U.S. Open Cup champions. Since the pandemic caused the cancellation of the 2020 edition of the USOC, the spot defaults to Atlanta United who still hold the title.
USSF says that the 4th 2021 CCL bid will go to Atlanta United as (still) reigning US Open Cup winner. The 2020 USOC was canceled.— Brian Straus (@BrianStraus) December 11, 2020
1 - MLS Cup winner
2 - Portland Timbers (MLS is Back)
3 - Philadelphia Union (Supporters Shield)
Depending on how you look at this, it can either be good or bad news for the club. On one hand, it’s always a great chance to play against the best clubs in the region. On the flipside, schedule congestion is already going to be a massive issue during the 2021 season. Couple that with what will be a new-look team with a brand new manager and system and adding more games, especially very early in the season, could be a real issue.
Frank de Boer was faced with same challenges when he took over in 2019, having to compete in the club’s first-ever CCL competition. It didn’t do wonders for his adaptation to a new environment. Here’s to hoping things go smoothly for whoever takes charge in 2021.
What do you make of this news? Happy to see the club return to the CCL or no?