Atlanta United is one of 22 teams in Major League Soccer (MLS), the United State’s professional soccer league. A few weeks ago marked the first time United played a game, so much of the city still knows nothing about their team. This article will help you learn more about the team and the sport you will soon love.
Atlanta United is owned by Arthur Blank so we know it is in good hands. Blank is the type of owner that your franchise wants to have: he’s competitive, he wants to win, and he will spend the money to do so. He hired Gerardo Martino to be the team’s manager, a very impressive signing. Martino managed the Argentinean national team when they made it to both the 2015 and 2016 Copa America finals. To have a championship team in any sport starts with a hungry owner, which United has, and a great coach/manager, which Atlanta also has. After those pieces have been assembled you need players, and Atlanta has an abundance of good ones.
Names to know:
The starting goalkeeper for Atlanta United is 26 year old Alec Kann. This is his third season in the MLS but he only had 8 appearances in the two seasons prior to this one. Through two games he has nine saves and has let in three goals. He is nothing special, but should be a solid-enough keeper on this offensively reliant team.
Kenwyne Jones is a 32 year old striker, meaning his job is to be a primary goal scorer. Jones had a nice career in the BPL, England’s world renowned professional league. He is also the captain of the Trinidad & Tobago national team. Jones is a great veteran presence who will be a very useful piece off of the bench.
This 23 year old striker could be a star. In his second game in the MLS vs Minnesota Martinez put on a show recording a hat trick. Martinez is quick, extremely athletic, and an energy spark on the field. This guy might be the key to Atlanta United’s success.
The other 23 year old starting striker, Almiron is just as good, if not better than Martinez. Almiron scored two goals against Minnesota, his much more technically impressive than Martinez. While Josef can score goals by simply beating the defenders with his speed, Miguel will be scoring with his supreme skill, patience, and accuracy.
This 34 year old veteran will help anchor the defense on this young squad. Mears played in England for over a decade, before signing with the Sounders last year. Now he is Atlanta’s oldest player and best defender.
Carleton has yet to appear in a game, but he is a great name to know anyways. Andrew is just 16 years old and is from the Atlanta area. Who knows if he will even play this season, but as a young homegrown talent, he is already a fan favorite.
The scoring system in the MLS is quite simple. A win is 3 points, a tie is 1 point, and a loss is 0 points.
Atlanta United has played two games thus far. The home opener was against defending Eastern conference champs NY Red Bull. Bobby-Dodd Stadium was sold out and the Atlanta crowd was as loud as if the team had been around for decades. United scored first and the stands went wild for the clubs first ever goal. New York ended up winning, but the energy in the stadium was a great sign of things to come. The next game was against fellow expansion team Minnesota United. This game was held in Minnesota, on a snow covered field. The visitors did not seem to notice as Atlanta torched Minesota for a 6-1 victory. The win marked the first time in MLS history an expansion team scored 6 or more goals in their first season.
The future is bright for Atlanta United. They have a good squad, good manager, and a growing fan base. There is a legitimate chance that Atlanta United make it to the playoffs this season with their veteran defense and explosive offense.
Featured image: wabe.org