ATLANTA - There is no denying the way that Atlanta United has transformed Atlanta into an impassioned soccer hot spot that could put some European cities to shame.
The red-and-black striped flag has become ubiquitous all across town.
But how did Atlanta go from 0-to-Soccertown USA in one season?
Maybe "The Five Stripes" are just filling the hole in our hearts created by some other teams we shall not name here. Maybe that red and black palette has some mystical pull in Georgia. Or maybe that southern heat just makes for a rowdy bunch and soccer culture fits.
But we think it has more to do with who we are, Atlanta. Here are some uniquely #ATL things that had to come together to create the magic that is Atlanta United.
1. First, the obvious -- We show up, y'all:
The fledgling club set the record for most tickets sold to a single game at Mercedes Benz Stadium on Sept. 16 -- and then broke their own record Oct. 22 when 71,874 fans descended on the stadium. United finished the season with 819,404 tickets sold, beating the record of 752,199, set by the Seattle Sounders in 2015. And the enthusiasm doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon.
2. And we really, really love our city:
To stand inside the Mercedes-Benz Stadium during a game is like standing in a cauldron of emotion. If you don't get chills when this "A! T! L!" chant goes down maybe you should just, you know, move.
3. Uncle Arthur went all in for us on this one:
The beloved Atlanta sports icon spared no expense in bringing soccer to Atlanta. And it shows.
4. We have hands down the best stadium in the country...
That halo board. A roof that (sometimes) opens. Cheap eats. That skyline view. Every amenity known to man. It's hard to pinpoint any one reason the Mercedes-Benz Stadium is so awesome. It. Just. Is.
A moment we've all been waiting for pic.twitter.com/qu9yCnHQCS— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) October 22, 2017
5. ...and the best team to play in it:
There is no denying ATL UTD is on fire. United is the first expansion team since the 2009 Seattle Sounders to make the playoffs.
Our season doesn't stop at 34 matches. pic.twitter.com/cwxi63W30r— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) October 23, 2017
6. Our boys really, really like to score...
Despite starting in only half of ATL UTD's games because of an injury, Josef Martinez netted 19 goals this season, placing fourth in the MLS. Miguel Almiron, Hector Villalba and Yamil Asad have a combined 29 goals.
Miggy Tito Josef G️AL pic.twitter.com/fHVDthlAAZ— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) October 22, 2017
7. ...but they always have time for their fans:
So much love. So many selfies.
8. The fans are a legitimate part of the team:
Keep hearing about player #17? That's actually the fans. The number is reserved for supporters.
What a 1st season from our players & coaching staff! But special shout out to #17-the fans have been brilliant! pic.twitter.com/3erSUj4MwH— Darren Eales (@DEalesATLUTD) October 23, 2017
9. We name our supporters' clubs after local rappers because, Atlanta:
Lots of love to Terminus Legion, Resurgence and Faction, but you gotta admit "Footie Mob" is a stroke of pure ATL genius.
10. And the rappers support Atlanta United:
2 Chainz. Migos. CeeLo. The Atlanta hip hop community has thoroughly embraced United:
Migos running into Atlanta United FC Academy at the airport! pic.twitter.com/WuXrlzBwl2— Black Arrow (@BlackArrowFC) October 17, 2017
11. We have a ton of wall-shaking, high-energy, soul-stirring ATL UTD chants:
The music capital of the south isn't going to just settle for a handful.
Never silent in the ATL pic.twitter.com/jvXaJPOqkg— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) October 22, 2017
12. Love of the game starts young in Atlanta, and we have the soccer talent to prove it:
If you've ever been out to the Silverbacks Stadium and seen locals play until midnight, you know Atlanta is a great training ground for future MLS players. Andrew Carleton and Chris Goslin are both from the A -- and are in the starting lineup for the World Cup's U-17 team. Coincidence? We think not.
Welcome back, boys! pic.twitter.com/dUym7bl1MW— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) October 24, 2017
13. We're a diverse city with a diverse team -- and we are darn proud of it:
The name "Atlanta United" was not chosen by chance. No matter what neighborhood you hail from, we all come together to support our team, and each other. Atlanta United culture is known for being inclusive, diverse and intent on bringing people together, just like ATL.
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