Atlanta United FC have 'bucked the trend' that usually comes with expansion teams in Major League Soccer on the field and now they look to do the same on an even grander scale off it.
When they kick-off against Orlando City SC tomorrow, the MLS attendance record will have a new name attached to it. That of the Atlanta faithful.
The team set the tone and the fans have responded
Most expansion teams in MLS do not have the start to their new lives that Atlanta have had. From the very beginning , the team behind the team were set on making this soccer club one of the best in the MLS and compete at the highest level, even in their first season.
While the other newcomers, Minnesota United FC, have succumbed to all the issues that come with expansion teams in their first season, Atlanta have risen to the occasion as a soccer force in the MLS and their fans have come out to every home game in vociferous mood.
The club announced that as of right now, more than 69,256 tickets have been sold for tomorrow's match against Orlando, officially breaking the long hold the LA Galaxy had on that record after their first ever game at the Rose Bowl which saw 69,255 fans come out to the game in 1996.
Atlanta are on course to break the all-time single season attendance record as well, averaging 45,811 fans per match through 11 of 17 home games. The club is set to open the full stadium this weekend and in the last regular home game of the season against Toronto FC which could see them topple Seattle Sounders FC for that record as well.
Things are looking up in the standings for Atlanta too
Part of keeping a great crowd in your stadium during the season is by winning and winning with style. Atlanta do that in spades and even when they don't win, they entertain any neutral who decided to watch them play.
Led by Gerardo 'Tata' Martino and featuring the likes of Héctor Villalba, Miguel Almirón, Yamil Asad and Josef Martínez, "Are you not entertained?" could quite possibly be Atlanta's second motto. Almirón, a contender for the Landon Donovan MVP Award, has eight goals and 12 assists and Martínez, who missed a good chunk of the season through injury, has 13 goals in 13 games.
You could pick any of Atlanta's front men as a player with great ability but both Almirón and Martínez are some of the most exciting players in the MLS right now.
The team can score goals for fun in a free-flowing, fast paced tempo and they tend to play some eye-catching stuff when they are on song. There have been a few wobbles throughout the season, which is expected with all teams, but with ten goals in their last two games, the playoffs are well within Atlanta's reach in their first MLS season.