Toward the end of last year, Atlanta, a comedy created by Donald and Stephen Glover, premiered on FX and took the TV world by storm, racking up critical acclaim and various awards to boot. The 2017 MLS season is also Atlanta United’s first as a team, and they have similarly been one of the league’s newest darlings, with many making a case that the Five Stripes are the best expansion side yet to grace America’s biggest league.
The Hype Depot combined these two great things in an epic tifo in Saturday’s win over FC Dallas to open Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and it made us think of the parallels between ATLUTD players and characters from Atlanta.
Miguel Almiron - “Earn”
Earnest “Earn” Marks, played by co-creator Donald Glover and part of the main trio of the show, is a Princeton dropout who re-connects with his cousin to help jumpstart his fledgling rap career.
As the Five Stripes’ most creative outlet, Miggy came from Argentina and is essential to ATL’s blistering start in MLS, and so the comparisons are easy to make between arguably the best player on the team, and the show’s main character.
Tito Villalba - “Paper Boi”
Earn’s cousin, Alfred, who goes by the moniker “Paper Boi”, played by Brian Tyree Henry, doesn’t mess around when he gets his mind set on something. He’s known as very brash and headstrong, epitomized by being involved in several incidents in the first season such as a shooting over a broken car mirror, strong-arming a club owner for appearance dues, and fighting with a parodied Justin Bieber at a basketball game for charity.
Tito Villalba is himself very self-motivated, as evidenced by gaining his “Lion Tamer” nickname for goals against Orlando City, as well as other big plays throughout the season.
Greg Garza - Darius
Rounding out the main trio is Darius, played by LaKeith Stanfield. Darius is perhaps the most talked about character on the show, and blends a mixture of off-the-wall randomness and impossibly deep philosophy.
Greg Garza is quite similar in that regard, having been known to be his own blend of weird and reasonable, such as letting slip that they refer to Miguel Almiron as “The Lizard Man”.
Michael Parkhurst - Van
The voice of reason in the show, Earn’s on again-off again girlfriend Van, played by Zazie Beetz, is a new mom who is constantly encouraging Earn to make better life choices for the sake of their young daughter, and isn’t the biggest fan of Earn’s escapades with his two friends and business partners.
Who better to compare her to than Atlanta United captain Michael Parkhurst, who is charged with keeping things in order on the pitch and is also known for his perpetual aversion to any funny business.
Yamil Asad - Justin Bieber
Atlanta was praised for its outlandish parody of Justin Bieber for its fifth episode, which shows the star getting in a fight with Paper Boi at a charity basketball game, with both entertainers forced to make apologies to the media after the altercation was over. Paper Boi’s apology is met with the cold shoulder, while Justin’s idea of premiering a new song to take the heat off of himself had the reporters eating out of his hands once again.
Yamil Asad is the easiest comparison here, who’s not afraid to get in the mix with other players whilst on the pitch, earning himself a bit of a reputation along the way, but his work rate, as well as being the first goal scorer in Five Stripes history, means that he has his fair share of fans in the Hype Depot.
Anton Walkes - Ahmad White
Toward the end of the season, the episode “B.A.N.” showed Paper Boi on a fictional panel show that was intersected by multiple TV Commercial parodies, including one featuring Ahmad White, a motivational speaker promising to tell you the secrets to the Universe, as well as Nutella sandwiches and juice. And he really works!
After a dip in form from Tyrone Mears, Anton Walkes was called upon to replace the struggling full back, a change which has since stuck. While fans were at first skeptical at putting a largely inexperienced young player in such a tough position, it wasn’t long until fans were singing his praises.
Josef Martinez - Marcus Miles
In episode eight, the trio go to a club for a promo appearance, only for their shine to be stolen by Marcus Miles. Marcus has all of the women and booze in the club, and is said to be so cool that he drives an invisible car. At first, Paper Boi is a non-believer, until the very end of the episode, when Miles speeds away from the club in the invisible car, knocking multiple people over in what was one of the funniest scenes of the season.
That Josef is compared to Miles shouldn’t come as a surprise. The guy does ooze cool, and, as the team’s primary goalscoring threat, he gets a lot of attention based on that alone.
Tyrone Mears - The club owner
Also in episode 8, Earn busts into the club owner’s office drunk to demand full $5,000 payment for Paper Boi’s club appearance, only for the owner to send him away nonchalantly with $750. Paper Boi isn’t pleased with this, and strong-arms the owner for what he’s owed.
Big things were expected of Tyrone Mears when he joined Atlanta following his successful stint with the Seattle Sounders, but for whatever reason, his time in the A has been less than fruitful, and he was dropped early on.
Brandon Vazquez - Zan
Zan is a character that reminds us all to be wary of the perils of social media, as the young “influencer” gets into some gnarly twitter beef with Paper Boi after a bad experience meeting him.
Brandon Vazquez is active on social media websites, and is a regular vlogger along with having a sizable footprint especially on Twitter.
Do you agree with these comparisons? Do you have anymore? Let us know in the comments.