Monday, December 10, 2018

Atlanta United 2018 MLS Cup Champions

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Saturday night was a great one for sports in ATL as Atlanta United captured the MLS Cup in only their second year in existence.

There were legitimate reasons for concern about how soccer would do in ATL, but what we found out is that this is a soccer town. Having electrifying talent like Josef Martinez, and Miguel Almiron certainly doesn't hurt. The soon to be departing Gerardo "Tata" Martino as manager was a big splashy hire as well.

The city has embraced this team in ways that are hard to fathom, and the team has embraced the culture of the city similarly. It's been a ton of fun even for casual soccer fans like me who previously only paid any attention to the sport during the World Cup.

Atlanta United finally gave me a team to root for, and all of us could get in on the ground level. I have enjoyed learning more about the game as I didn't even understand the basics of soccer before the 2014 World Cup (I played only one season of soccer as a kid, and I stunk).

That is one of the things I like about it at this point though. I like the fact that I haven't deluded myself into thinking I'm some sort of expert like I do with other sports I'm familiar with. I just sit back, listen, and try to learn as best I can from radio interviews with Darren Eales (ATL UTD President) , Jason Longshore (ATL UTD radio color commentator), Carlos Bocanegra (ATL UTD Technical Director), etc.

It allows me to appreciate the game in a different was than other sports because I just sit and enjoy the action. There's no second-guessing, and not fretting about strategy for example. Just watching and enjoying.

Lastly, I am very happy for "Uncle" Arthur Blank. We know how that Falcons Super Bowl collapse went, but getting to see Arthur hoist the MLS Cup was such a fantastic moment for this city. He's done a lot for the sports scene in ATL, and I am grateful for that.

Congratulations to Atlanta United, and all the HARDCORE soccer fans who have made this such a phenomenon in this city. I can't wait until I finally get to a match as I've heard the environment is unparalleled. Look at this scene at the parade turned pep rally!

A T L !