Y’all... we made it. Atlanta United soccer returns to an extent today with the start of a preseason slate of games against lower division pro sides from around the region, kicking off with South Georgia Tormenta FC. Despite the lowkey-ness of a training ground friendly, this match carries a little more intrigue than your normal preseason tune up.
Gabriel Heinze takes the metaphorical car out of the metaphorical garage for the very first time. A rebuilt roster sees minutes against an outside opponent for the very first time. Georgia’s two professional soccer clubs meet for the very first time. Josef.
Josef is back.
Unfortunately for just about everyone, the match is closed to fans, media, and will not be live streamed. Whether that’s due to a still ongoing pandemic or the club wanting to keep hidden Heinze’s newly developed world dominating tactic the likes of which the world has never seen before is anyone’s guess. However, not all hope is lost. Closed door games still get some cover from the team socials, but exactly how much cover is impossible to say. (See last year’s coverage of the closed door friendly with NYRB, for example.)
In a perfect world, this game would get the sort of pomp we’ve seen for previous Atlanta United preseason games with local opponents, something the club has committed to doing. This won’t be the last meeting between Atlanta and Tormenta, though. With a new soccer specific stadium ready next year, a Statesboro visit for the Five Stripes can’t be far off, and the possibilities of U.S. Open Cup meetings are still there for the Georgia clubs. It may not happen the first time, but this game shows how close we are to a match where the growth of soccer across the state will be fully celebrated.
Below you’ll find the information we know about the match, along with links to team social media accounts most likely to provide some insights to the action. Feel free to post any other bits of news, updates, highlights, etc. you come across into the comments, as we all try to get a first glimpse of a new Atlanta United.
Venue: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground, Marietta, Georgia
Kickoff Time: Saturday, March 13th; 1:00 PM EST