The city of Atlanta has rallied around their newest team, Atlanta United, but how long can the support last without a trophy? Is it 2018 or bust for the Five Stripes?
The city of Atlanta knows heartbreak all too well for their sports teams, whether it be an infield fly rule or a blown 25-point lead in the Super Bowl, the hub of the South has had little to no reason for excitement about their professional teams.
Despite the continuous heartbreak, the Atlanta faithful have found a new home in the cities newest team, Atlanta United, who have already begun to dominate off the pitch, even though, on the pitch, the team is still eyeing its first-ever trophy after having the shield stolen from them to the New York Red Bulls following a 4-1 Atlanta defeat in Toronto to end the regular season.
The embarrassing loss to end the regular season was only a small tip of a massive iceberg of the pain Atlanta sports fan have endured, but with another (maybe even more important) trophy on the line, — the chance to win the MLS Cup still remains very much a real — it is safe to say the Five Stripe faithful have reason for optimism following a 1-0 road victory against New York City FC.
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Despite the record-setting support for Atlanta United, the city has been accused of being filled with “fair weather fans”, who will only fill up stadiums when a team is winning, whether it be the Atlanta Hawks, Falcons, or Braves. And with another team joining the Atlanta family, fans must ask themselves: How long can this last?
The 2017 season gave supporters a high standard to base the team off by making the playoffs in the inaugural season and hosting a playoff game. Although the Five Stripes fell to the Columbus Crew behind the goalkeeping of Zack Steffen, Atlanta continued to show their support by again filling up Mercedes Benz Stadium in the 2018 season knowing that an MLS Cup in the inaugural season may not be as much of realistic goal as previously thought.
The 2018 MLS season returned to Atlanta and Mercedes Benz Stadium was once again packed from top to bottom and yet again. Another attendance record was broken with 72, 035 in attendance to watch a 3-1 victory over D.C. United.
This has become somewhat of a norm for the city of Atlanta, as 70,000 have filed in to watch Tata Martino’s team numerous times. But with another season of ultimate disappointment after offering such hope under their belt, assuming that Atlanta does not bring home the MLS Cup, fans may begin to grow restless.
With an intriguing offseason approaching with the departure of manager Tata Martino and expected exit of Miguel Almirón, supporters have numerous questions surrounding the product that will be on the field in 2019 and for years to come.
The city of Atlanta has become the best and brightest in MLS with record-setting support. And with the most talented team in MLS, the championship window is wide open. But if the team fails to lift the trophy sooner rather than later, fans may wonder, how long can this really last?