Atlanta United has historic start, excites fans


Shay Bowman

Atlanta United is off to a historic start, with three wins, a draw and a loss. The successful start has brought excitement to fans, hopeful for a winning season.

“GOOOAAALLL!” That’s a sound many Atlanta United Football Club fans are getting used to after a historic start for the team. Already banking 10 points from five games, the 3-1-1 squad is third in the Eastern Conference.

After a tough season last year, tainted by not qualifying for playoffs and several injuries, including center-back Miles Robinson and captain goalkeeper Brad Guzan, the team is rebuilding and a renewed energy is circulating the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“The energy around the start of this season feels very positive and exciting,” freshman Alexa Posel said. “So far, the team has done very well, and I think the fans are very optimistic about the rest of the season. As some key players are returning from injury, I think everyone is just excited to have a full and healthy team for the season. All the fans and players seem to have high hopes for this season.”

Atlanta United fans and players recognizing the shift in energy as the Major League Soccer (MLS) has named three out of the five “Player of the Matchday” awards to Atlanta United players, 2022 World Cup winner Thiago Almada (2) and homegrown player Caleb Wiley (1).

In addition, Almada leads the league in assists and is third for most goals. Almada and the team’s success is exciting an already notoriously energetic crowd within the MLS.

“The atmosphere so far this season has been electric compared to last,” senior Nicholas Perantoni said. “We were definitely struggling for a while last year, and now we look like a much better team which will naturally make for a better atmosphere.”

Sophomore and season ticket holder Vivienne Cannon agrees, being taken aback by the loud, optimistic atmosphere every game.

“The energy is contagious throughout the whole stadium,” Cannon said. “You have the supporter section getting really loud and hyped, which makes everybody else get really hyped and loud. I sit close to the supporter section, and you can just feel the energy. Even if you’re not close to them, you can still hear them. It feels like it’s surging throughout the whole building. It’s really cool to watch it happen each game.”

Despite the strong start, the team took their first defeat against Columbus Crew, losing 6-1. While this defeat halted some of the momentum the team was building, they were missing six of their players as international competition began this past week.

The games, win or lose, always bring the city together.

“My favorite part is that you’re just having fun and are united with people from the city,” English teacher Susan Barber said.

Posel agrees, enjoying the group excitement the matches create.

“My favorite thing about the Atlanta United games is after they score a goal, we celebrate with everyone around,” Posel said. “Whether you know them or not, everyone is just super happy, and we get to celebrate all together.”

Even in the absence of goals, Cannon recognizes the unwavering support for the team. Atlanta United often has pulled off late comebacks that contribute to the consistent belief fans possess.

“Even when we are losing, the fans never lose hope,” Cannon said. “We are always cheering them on to let them know we still love and support them no matter the outcome, and when they’re winning, the place gets super loud. We’re all cheering and happy. It’s a great atmosphere to be in. Even if you’ve never been and it’s your first game, you instantly feel welcome.”

Cannon also shares the games with her mom, adding to the already fun experience.

“My favorite thing about the Atlanta United games is the way I connect with my mom,” Cannon said. “We have created a bond over going to the games. We always get there right when the doors open to sit down and talk about the players and the game. When the game starts, we are hyper-focused, and we know mostly everything there is to know about the game, whether it’s stats or the players’ names or scouting the other team. We always go together, and I wouldn’t imagine it any other way.”

Atlanta United will face off against the 1-3-1 New York Red Bulls at home this Saturday in hopes of continuing their success.

“I am very optimistic about the rest of the season,” Posel said. “The start of the season has been very good, and I feel like the team will be able to keep it up and continue it through the rest of the season. I think the team can go very far this year.”