With the MLS regular-season schedule officially released ahead of the league’s 25th season, here are five must-watch Atlanta United matches in 2020.
Atlanta United enter their fourth year in MLS with large expectations after a 2019 season that saw lots of change but also multiple trophies. With the league now at 26 teams, the schedule is no longer balanced the way it was in previous seasons. Before 2020, each team played every team in the league at least once. In 2019, teams played in-conference opponents both home and away and out-of-conference opponents at least once. Now, teams will play all but three out-of-conference opponents.
This means Atlanta supporters will see the Five Stripes play all Western Conference teams except the Vancouver Whitecaps, FC Dallas, and the Colorado Rapids. There are pros and cons to this scheduling quirk. The most significant takeaway is that Atlanta will play the biggest teams in the West, including both teams from Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland.
So, with the 2020 season now right on our doorstep, here are five must-watch Atlanta United games.
5. February 29 at Nashville SC
Atlanta United have the honor of welcoming one of the league’s newest expansion sides as they travel to Nashville for the first match of the 2020 season. This will be Nashville SC’s first match in league history and will be played at Nissan Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. With FOX broadcasting the match at 8:00 PM, many eyes will be on this Opening Day match.
The Five Stripes have a solid playing history against expansion sides in their first season, amassing a 3-1-1 record over three seasons. Of those five matches, two were away from home and Atlanta managed wins in both of those matches. Surprisingly, the team had mixed results at home (1-1-1), so it may actually be an advantage for them to play in Nashville.
Atlanta United will also have the fitness advantage having played in the CONCACAF Champions League. They are the more talented team already, and will also be the fitter. Atlanta should beat Nashville in this game, but there are never any guarantees in MLS. It should be a fun affair for the supporters between two teams that could produce a rivalry.