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Atlanta United – ‘The Five Stripes’

Atlanta United - 'The Five Stripes'
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Meet Atlanta United, the American club that has already grown into one of the biggest MLS teams in record-breaking fashion.

Official name:Atlanta United Football Club
Known as:Atlanta, The Five Stripes
Year formed:April 16, 2014
City:Atlanta
Country:United States
Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Colours: Red & Black (Home) | White (Away)

Despite only getting their first taste of MLS football in 2017, Atlanta United is already one of the teams to beat. Their track record says it all, with the club becoming champions in their second campaign. It won the city a first major sports championship since 1995 through the MLB’s Atlanta Braves.

The lure of playing for one of the MLS’ most exciting teams has already attracted a host of big names. Among them is former Barcelona boss Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, who coached them to MLS glory. While Brad Guzan, Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez are some of the most notable players to have played in Atlanta.

History

After years of endless talks, the MLS commissioned Atlanta United in 2014. This announcement came just five months after Orlando City SC’s inauguration into the American football league. Thus, the Southeast had teams for the first since Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny in 2001.

55,297 supporters were in attendance for the Five Stripes’ first game in March 2017, which ended in a 2-1 defeat to the New York Red Bulls.

Victory, though, didn’t elude them for long as Atlanta thrashed fellow newbies Minnesota United 6-1 away in only their second game. A first home win followed against Chicago Fire in the next game. Suddenly, Martino’s side were right on track.

Although Atalanta suffered a few more bumps in the road in their debut campaign. They only won four times in their next 13 games to leave them on the brink of missing out on a playoff spot. Beating Colorado Rapids 1-0 in June 2017, however, was an unexpected turning point for the club.

New York Red Bulls v Atlanta United FC, MLS
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The Five Stripes won nine and lost just one of their next 14 games to restore their playoff hopes. Among those victories included a 7-0 thrashing of New England Revolution at home. Eventually, they finished a respectable fourth in the Eastern Conference standings.

During the 2017 season, Atlanta moved to their Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It brought them a league-best average attendance of over 48,000 fans, which was a record for an American football team. They also became only the third expansion team to qualify for the MLS playoffs at the first attempt.

Sadly, Martino’s men couldn’t end their debut campaign on a high upon losing their first playoff. In front of a then-record 67,221 supporters, they lost on penalties to Columbus Crew after finishing goalless.

MLS champions

Nonetheless, Atlanta arguably exceeded expectations and headed into the 2018 season aiming to go one better.

Despite a disappointing 4-0 defeat to Houston Dynamo in their season-opener, Atlanta continued impressing. A second-place finish in the Eastern Conference secured another playoff spot. And this time around, they didn’t slip-up.

Comfortable aggregate wins over New York City and the New York Red Bulls set them up for an MLS Cup final clash with Portland Timbers at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in December 2018.

Goals from Josef Martinez and Franco Escobar then secured a historic 2-0 home win. Thus, Atlanta became won the 23rd edition of the MLS Cup and qualified for the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League.

But Martino left his post at the end of 2018 after winning the MLS Cup and Coach of the Year prizes. Replacing the Argentine was former Ajax and Inter Milan manager Frank de Boer for the next season.

Despite a shaky start under the Dutchman, Atlanta won the Campeones Cup by beating Club America 3-2 in the final on August 2019. Although they couldn’t retain their MLS Cup after losing the Eastern Conference final to Toronto FC.

Now heading into the 2020 season, De Boer’s men will hope to go one better by winning a second MLS title in just four campaigns.

Rivals

  • Orlando City.

Famous footballers who played for Atlanta United

Josef MartinezMiguel AlmironCarlos Carmona
Brad GuzanHector VillalbaMiles Robinson
Florentin PogbaKenwyne JonesDarlington Nagbe
Greg GarzaPity Martinez
Romario WilliamsJustin Meram

Records

All-time record appearances

PosPlayerGames
1Julian Gressel 118
2Leandro Gonzalez Pirez115
3Jeff Larentowicz115
4Brad Guzan103
5Josef Martinez103

All-time record goalscorers

PosPlayerGoals
1Josef Martinez90
2Miguel Almiron22
3Hector Villalba22
4Julian Gressel19
5Ezequiel Barco11

Major honours

MLS CupUS Open CupCampeones Cup
201820192019

Sources