Brett Davis — USA Today Sports
On December 8th, Atlanta United won their first ever MLS Cup against the Portland Timbers. In just their second year of existence, they’ve managed to have one of the best squads the league has ever seen.
Led coach Tata Martino, Atlanta have taken over by storm with their high powered attack on the field and fantastic support off it.
Owner Arthur Blank has made his vision of United being a top team has come to fruition. Their fan support has been nothing short of unbelievable, breaking attendance records left and right.
This season, the Five Stripes became the first Major League Soccer franchise to surpass more than 1,000,000 fans. For a league that’s been around for just 22 years, it’s an incredible achievement and is an example for what potential soccer has in the United States.
For a city that’s been craving for a title win since the days of the Atlanta Braves winning the World Series back in 1995, United are a new breath of fresh air.
Whether you hate them or not, Atlanta United are what US Soccer needs to take that next step into more relevancy. The blueprint of signing high-potential prospects from South America has already been used by other teams in the league.
Sure they can be overexposed on social media compared to other teams. Sure commissioner Don Garber praises them a bit too much but honestly, they deserve the recognition.
Players like Miguel Almiron, Josef Martinez andEzequiel Barco are what MLS needs to be considered legit in the eyes of the sports world. The idea of signing old players from Europe should be laid to rest unless people like Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic want to actually compete in the league instead of just getting a paycheck in the states.
Atlanta are not going anywhere anytime soon and for the sport in this country, it’s actually a very good thing.