Lionel Messi ended up being a no-show when Atlanta United played Inter Miami at Mercedes-Benz Stadium this fall. The United States men’s national team hasn’t played in the city since 2015.
That will change this summer, as CONMEBOL on Monday announced its match schedule for the upcoming Copa América hosted by the U.S. Argentina, in Group A, will play a team to be determined at the Benz in the tournament opener on June 20, while the USMNT will be in town a week later for the 2nd of their 3 Group C matches.
The last time the USMNT was in town was in the Georgia Dome on July 22, 2015, when they fell to Jamaica 2-1 in the Gold Cup semifinals. Darren Mattocks and Giles Barnes scored in the 1st half for the Reggae Boyz while Michael Bradley pulled one back for the U.S. in the 48th minute.
With the Americans automatically qualified for 2026’s World Cup, Copa América will represent their biggest test 2 years out from the world championship. (It’s worth noting that the U.S. Soccer Federation is in the process of moving to Atlanta, which could mean more matches for the city down the road — simply speculating)
While that will be a significant draw, the big ticket will be the Argentina match. Messi and La Albiceleste are the current holders and should be favored to win back-to-back titles and an unprecedented 30th overall.
From a wider-less standpoint, this will be a bit of a dress rehearsal for the big tournament coming up in about 2-and-a-half years. Copa América is arguably the 2nd biggest continental competition in the world (behind the European Championship) and will draw attention not just regionally but globally, especially with the current world champions kicking things off.
We’ll find out who Argentina and the USMNT — and all of the teams in the field — will play during Thursday’s draw, set for 7:30 p.m. in Miami.