9/22  Indy 11 Game vs PR Postponed, Pulisic Hot prepares for Champ League vs Real Madrid Tues, US Ladies Win in Cincy, CHS Boys host Pack the House Fri Night Sept 29.  

The Indy 11 game with Puerto Rico scheduled for this Saturday at the Mike has been moved to Oct 3 – Wed night at 7:30 pm at the Mike.  Our best wishes to all those with family in PR!  The US ladies blew out New Zealand at home on Tuesday night in front of a packed house in Cincinnati. Those friends who went says it was a great atmostphere for soccer and US dominated !

Champions League enters match-day two on Tuesday/Wed this week as US budding star Christian Pulisic (fresh off a 1 goal, 1 assist and overall best player of the match performance last weekend) will return home to host defending Champs Real Madrid and Christiano Renaldo on Fox Sports 1 Tuesday at 2:45 pm.   Other big games include Paris SG hosting Bayern Munich on Wed, along with CSKA Moscow hosting Man U and Chelsea traveling to Atletico Madrid all at 2:45 pm on Wed.

Got a chance to watch the Top 3 ranked CHS girls host #5 Noblesville last week and boy did the Lady Hounds look good in a dominating 2-1 win that wasn’t as close at the score indicates.  Looking for big things come State Tourney time (lots of Carmel FC and former Carmel FC girls on both the JV and varsity rosters).

The Carmel High School boys will host “Pack the House” Night on Fri, Sept 29th at Murray Stadium. 5 pm JV, 7 pm Varsity start.

See all the Stories online at  www.theoleballcoach.com

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Bayern need Result at PSG to boost Morale – EPSNFC

Man U’s Fellaini set to Miss CSKA Moscow Trip

Tottenham in Good Shape for APOEL Trip

100 Million Dollar Signings Not in Bayern’s Plans – ESPNFC

 

US

US Ladies beat New Zealand 5-0 in Cincy with Packed House

Christian Pulisic is best player on Field – 1 goal, 1 assist for Dortmund over Hamburg

Dortmund Coach thinks Pulisic should be Golden Boy for Year

US U17 Star Forward Josh Sargent signs with Werder Bremen – SI Avi Creditor

US Danny Williams out Injured for Huddersfield

US U17 WC Team Announced – Sargent + Carlton headline Squad

Eric Wynalda for US Soccer President?  – NBCSN

EPL

EPL Expect Facebook and Amazon to Bid for TV Rights

Liverpool vs Leicester – big game Sat

 

WORLD

Real Madrid Fails to Score for 1st time in almost 2 yrs

Poor Start for Madradistas in La Liga

Athletico agree on deal to Sign Diego Costa from Chelsea

Neymar demands PSG sell Cavani after Free Kick Spat

Chicharito launches Relief Fund for Mexican Earth Quake Victims SI

Power Rankings – Barca, PSG, Man City, Man U, Bayern

 

MLS

Heartbreaking loss for NYRB in US Open Cup Final

Sporting KC uses Homefield advantange to win 3rd Open Cup in 6 years – ESPNFC

Predicting the Weekend Games

Are Atlanta United becoming America’s Team?  – MLS.com

Atlanta United are Most Fun Team in America Deadspin

Atlanta Expansion Success proving the Naysayers Wrong – jonah Freedman

Barron Trump Playing for DC United u12 Team – Really – he’s a Midfielder

Champions League

Check out The Ole Ballcoach online www.theoleballcoach.com Monday/Tues for updates

Juggling Champions League and EPL a Big Test for EPL top Teams

Atletico Madrid to host 2019 Champions League Final

EUFA and UCL agreement to keep UCL games unopposed is Reached Finally

GOALIES

2 of highest paid Italian Players are Goalies

MLS Save of the Week

Top Saves Week 5 EPL

Indy 11  + NASL

NASL Hits US Soccer with Anti-Trust Suit over D2 status Revoking

FC Edmonton over Indy 11  2-0 video

GAMES ON TV 

Sat, Sept 23

10 am NBCSN                   Stoke City (Cameron) vs Chelsea?

12:30 NBC                          Leicester City vs Liverpool

12:30 Fox Sports 2        Dortmund (Pulisic) vs M’Gladbach (Johnson)

7:30 pm My Indy TV Indy 11 vs Puerto Rico POSTPONED to OCT 4th Wed

Sun, Sept 24

11 am NBCSN                   Brighton Hove Albion vs Newcastle (Yedlin)

12 pm Fox Sport 2        Bayer Leverkusen vs Hamburger (Bobby Wood)

8 pm  Fox Sport1           Portland Timbers (Nagbe) vs Orlando City

Mon, Sept 25

3 pm NBCSN                      Arsenal vs West Brom

Tues, Sept 26 – Champions League

2:45 pm Fox Sport 1  Dortmund (US Pulisic) v Madrid

2:45 pm Fox Sport 2    Spartak Moskav vs Liverpool

2:45 pm Fox Sport Ind?                  Man City vs Shakhtar

2:45 pm ESPN3                APOEL vs Tottenham

Weds, Sept 27

2:45 pm Fox Sport 2   Paris SG  v Bayern Munich

2:45 pm Fox Sport 1    CSKA Moscow vs Man U

2:45 pm Fox Ind?          Sporting CP vs Barcelona

2:45 pm ESPN3/D, FS+                    Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea

2:45 pm ESPN3                Juve vs Olympiakos

Thurs, Sept 28

1 pm Fox Sport 2           Bate vs Arsenal

3 pm fox Sport 1            Everton vs Apollon

Fri, Sept 29

3 pm beIN Sport             Monaco vs Montpellier

Sat, Sept 30

7:30 am NBCSN               Huddersfield Town vs Tottenham

10 am NBCSN                   Man United vs Crystal Palace?

9:30 am FS1                      Ausburg vs Dortmund (Pulisic)

9:30 am FS2                       B M’Gladbach (Johnson) vs Hannover 96

11 am beIN Sport          PSG vs Bordeaux

12:30 NBC                          Chelseas vs Man City

Sun, Oct 1

7 am NBCSN                      Arsenal vs Brighton Hove Albion

9:30 am Fox Sport 1    Hertha vs Bayern Munich

10 am beIN Sport          Barcelona vs Las Palmas

11 am NBCSN                   Newcastle United (Yedlin) vs Liverpool

12 noon beIn Sport     Milan vs Roma

1 pm  Fox Sport1           Philly Union (Bedoya) vs Seattle Sounders (Dempsey)

Thurs, Oct 3                      World Cup Qualifying FINAL ROUNDS?

12 pm FS2                           England vs Slovenia

Fri, Oct 6                             World Cup Qualifying

12 pm ESPN 2 USA vs Panama  

 

US U17 World Cup Games on TV Fox Sports 2

Oct 6 Fri 10:30 am  FS2         US U17 vs India

Oct 9 Mon 7:30 am  FS2        US U17 vs Ghana

Oct 12 Thurs 10:30 am  FS2                 US U17 vs Columbia

 7 pm  Wed Oct 18 – Butler Men Host Indiana University

Full MLS Schedule

Indy 11 TV Schedule

EPL 2017 Schedule

 

ee all the Stories online at  www.theoleballcoach.com

 Alex Morgan scores twice as U.S. women’s national team beats New Zealand

APPublished 10:02 p.m. ET Sept. 19, 2017 | Updated 11:56 p.m. ET Sept. 19, 2017 (Photo: Aaron Doster, USA TODAY Sports)

CINCINNATI (AP) — Alex Morgan scored twice and the U.S. women’s national team concluded a two-game series against New Zealand with a 5-0 victory at Nippert Stadium on Tuesday night.The Americans improved to 9-3-0 this year. There are four more games left on the team’s 2017 schedule.The U.S. defeated the Ferns 3-1 in the first game last Friday night in Commerce City, Colorado. Julie Ertz led the way with two goals.Lindsey Horan got the Americans off to a nice start in the rematch, scoring on a header in the 36th minute after coming in for Rose Lavelle. Mallory Pugh made it 2-0 in the 44th minute. Pugh also finished with two assists.Lavelle, who is from Cincinnati, played the shortened shift for the hometown crowd as she continues to come back from injury. Morgan scored her first goal within the first minute of the second half. Lynne Williams added her third career national team goal before Morgan struck again in the 69th minute. It was her 77th international goal.The U.S. also got midfielder Tobin Heath back from a back injury. She came in as a late sub for her first action with the national team since March.

USA Youth Prospect Josh Sargent, 17, Signs with Werder Bremen

AVI CREDITORWednesday September 20th, 2017

Another U.S. men’s national team prospect is headed to Germany.U.S. youth national team forward Josh Sargent will sign with Werder Bremen, the Bundesliga club announced on Wednesday. The 17-year-old Sargent opened eyes at the U-20 World Cup this year with four goals and an assist, and he will lead the USA U-17s at the U-17 World Cup next month. The Missouri native can officially sign with Werder Bremen once he turns 18 in February.“We have been keeping tabs on Joshua for a long time and so it isn’t a great surprise to us that his brilliant performances have attracted attention on an international scale. Therefore we are extremely happy that despite the numerous offers from other top clubs in Europe, he was convinced by our philosophy at SV Werder and that we can now oversee his development as a player and support him along the way. He has a great understanding of the game and he is one of the most promising talents of his age in the world,” Tim Steidten, Werder Bremen’s head of scouting, said in a club statement. Sargent’s path to the first team appears to be set, with Steidten saying that he’ll join the first team next summer.”Josh will have time to adapt to the club and the city and at the start, he will train with the U-23s. Then from next summer, he will become a proper part of the squad,” Steidten said.Sargent, who previously trained with PSV Eindhoven and Schalke, reportedly chose Werder Bremen over the likes of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, according to ESPN’s Taylor Twellman, who came through the same St. Louis Scott Gallagher Development Academy club program as Sargent.In Germany, Sargent will join the likes of Christian Pulisic (Dortmund), Weston McKennie, Haji Wright and Nick Taitague (Schalke) as U.S. teens with Bundesliga clubs. At Werder Bremen, Sargent will team with U.S. international forward Aron Johannsson. Werder Bremen nearly had another U.S. forward, with Jordan Morris going on trial with the club in January 2016 before ultimately signing with the Seattle Sounders.

FROM WONDER BOY TO GOLDEN BOY – BOSZ TIPS PULISIC FOR AWARD

13:43 SHARE 0 COMMENTS

The American international is up for the award for the best young player in Europe and his Dortmund manager thinks he should be the winner

A few weeks ago Alexi Lalas mockingly dubbed Christian Pulisic “Wonder Boy.” But if Borussia Dortmund manager Peter Bosz had his way, the teenager would instead be the next “Golden Boy.”The U.S. international has enjoyed a meteoric rise since breaking into the Dortmund first team in the second half of the 2015-16 campaign.

The teenager was a frequent starter under previous manager Thomas Tuchel, but has only seen his role grow under Bosz, having started four of Dortmund’s five Bundesliga matches, along with their lone DFB Pokal and Champions League contests this season.

His performances have earned Pulisic a spot on the 25-man shortlist for Tuttosport’s Golden Boy award, which is given to European club football’s most impressive youngster under 21.And though Pulisic is not considered a favorite for the award, Bosz thinks he should win it over the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Pulisic’s former teammate Ousmane Dembele.  “He has to win the title,” Bosz said at a media conference ahead of Dortmund’s match against Borussia Monchengladbach.  Bosz added he believes the talented American has all the tools, mental and physical, to have a great career in the game.”He’s a very good player. Christian has been a great talent for years,” Bosz said.”He shows me every week — he’s very fast, technically strong and he has great mentality, which is important.”He wants to get better and better, and he has a very great future.”

Pulisic, who turned 19 on Monday, has rewarded Bosz’s faith this season with three goals and an assist in all competitions, while bagging the club’s 3,000th Bundesliga goal in Wednesday’s 3-0 victory over Hamburg.

USMNT’s Danny Williams out injured for Huddersfield

By Joe Prince-WrightSep 22, 2017, 9:56 AM EDT

Potentially bad news has arrived  for Danny Williams as the U.S. national team midfielder has suffered an injury at the worst possible time.[ MORE: JPW sits down with Williams ]Williams, 28, has suffered a “small fracture” to a bone in his foot and will not play for Huddersfield at Burnley on SaturdayUPDATE: Pro Soccer Talk understands Williams’ injury will keep him out of action for about 2-3 weeks.Speaking to reporters ahead of the trip to Turf Moor, Wagner gave some more information on Williams’ injury.

“Danny Williams has a small fracture in a bone in his foot. We have specialists appointment tomorrow[Friday] where we will get some information on how long he will be out,” Wagner said. “At the moment it is totally open because it is a very, very small fracture. So we will see. For sure he is out for Saturday.”

So, it doesn’t seem like a long-term injury but after Williams battled to start his first-ever start in the Premier League against Leicester City last week in a 1-1 draw, this knock has come at a very frustrating time for the German-American midfielder as he established himself at his new club.illiams has battled hard to get into Huddersfield’s starting lineup after his free transfer from Reading over the summer.Some USMNT fans were also calling for Williams to get a recall from Bruce Arena ahead of the U.S. national teams crucial 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Panama and Trinidad & Tobago next month.The combative midfielder now faces an anxious wait about the severity of his injury.

Sargent, Carleton headline U.S. Under-17 World Cup squad

By Daniel KarellSep 21, 2017, 4:06 PM EDT

Josh Sargent has decided his professional future lies in Germany. But first, he’ll be going next month to India with 20 other teammates.Sargent headlines head coach John Hackworth’s 21-man U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team squad for the 2017 U-17 World Cup in India. The World Cup takes place from October 6-28.Joining Sargent are Atlanta United prospects Andrew Carleton, Chris Goslin and Justin Garces as well as New York City FC Homegrown signing James Sands, who recently made his first team debut.The squad also features a handful of players based abroad, including Philadelphia, Penn. native Carlos Joaquim Dos Santos of Benfica, Ajax’s Sergino Dest and New York native Timothy Weah, who currently plays with Paris Saint-Germain.

The U.S. was drawn in Group A with host India, Colombia and Ghana. The U.S. U-17s begin the tournament in the opening game on October 6 against India, before facing Ghana on October 9 and Colombia on October 12.In the press release, U.S. Soccer said that all U.S. U-17 games will be broadcast live on FS2 and UNIVERSO.Here’s a look at the U.S. U-17 World Cup squad.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Alex Budnik (Sockers FC; Arlington Heights, Ill.), Carlos Joaquim Dos Santos (S.L. Benfica; Philadelphia, Penn.), Justin Garces (Atlanta United FC; Miami, Fla.)

DEFENDERS (6): Sergiño Dest (Ajax; Almere-stad, Netherlands), Christopher Gloster (New York Red Bulls; Montclair, N.J.), Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City; Charlotte, N.C.), James Sands (New York City FC; Rye, N.Y.), Tyler Shaver (New York City FC; Greenwich, Conn.), Akil Watts (Portland Timbers, Fort Wayne, Ind.)

MIDFIELDERS (6): George Acosta (North Carolina FC; Hollywood, Fla.), Taylor Booth (Real Salt Lake; Eden, Utah), Christopher Durkin (D.C. United; Glen Allen, Va.), Blaine Ferri (Solar Soccer Club; Southlake, Texas), Chris Goslin (Atlanta United FC; Locust Grove, Ga.), Indiana Vassilev (Unattached; Savannah, Ga.)

FORWARDS (6): Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC; Brampton Ont.), Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United FC; Powder Springs, Ga.), Jacobo Reyes (C.F. Monterrey; Houston, Texas), Bryan Reynolds (FC Dallas; Little Elm, Texas), Joshua Sargent (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; O’Fallon, Mo.), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain F.C., Rosedale, N.Y.)

US U17 World Cup Games on TV Fox Sports 2

Oct 6 Fri 10:30 am  FS2         US U17 vs India

Oct 9 Mon 7:30 am  FS2        US U17 vs Ghana

Oct 12 Thurs 10:30 am  FS2                 US U17 vs Columbia

 

Eric Wynalda for US Soccer president?

By Joe Prince-WrightSep 22, 2017, 12:00 PM EDT

“President Eric Wynalda” has a ring to it, right?It isn’t clear if the current Fox Soccer analyst, coach and Hall of Fame former U.S. national team striker will challenge 11-year incumbent Sunil Gulati for the title as U.S. Soccer President in an upcoming vote in February 2018 but it certainly seems like the 48-year-old is thinking about it.Boston-based attorney Steve Gans has said he will challenge Gulati for the position as the leading man in U.S. soccer’s governing body, while a New Englanders John Motta and Paul Lapointe are both said to be considering a bid to challenge the previously unchallenged Gulati.In an interview with the Guardian former USMNT forward Wynalda had this to say about his intentions to change things at the top of the USSF.

“I’ve stood back for two decades waiting for things to get better,” Wynalda says. “What I’ve realized is that there is not a whole lot of people who are willing or even wanting to invoke change. Out of moral obligation, I think I’m finally at the point where I’m asking, ‘What can I do to help?’ I don’t want to tweet something or write an article or start a fight. I want to roll up my sleeves.”

Wynalda also had some pretty scathing words about Gulati who he says has an “agenda is to stay in power and that is it.”

I don’t think it is healthy [to have someone in charge for 11 years] unless there is a clear vision or a plan,” Wynalda says. “Right now, it is just one guy who not only professes to be the smartest guy in the room and has an answer for every single question you throw at him but he has an agenda and that is why there is a lot of people saying enough is enough. His agenda is to stay in power and that is it.”Would Wynalda get your vote?Following the Jurgen Klinsmann debacle and a bad spell for Bruce Arena which has the USMNT struggling to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, plenty of supporters of the game in the U.S. believe changes to the way the game is governed at the top may bring about positive change.February is a long way away but it’s not too far-fetched to say that if the U.S. do not qualify for the World Cup in Russia then Gulati will have opponents lining up to try and replace him as the main decision maker.

Atlanta United Are The Most Fun Team In America

Photo: Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Even the most serious soccer fans, if you press them, will admit it: When you go to games, you want to see goals. You want buckets of them—absurd, joyful numbers of them—because, honestly, there’s not much to celebrate otherwise.Well, Atlanta United have been giving its new fanbase exactly what it wants. Three- and four-goal games weren’t especially rare for the team earlier this year, but now that it’s taken up official residency in Megatron’s Butthole and putting up attendance figures as high as 70,000, balls are flying in at a rate almost beyond comprehension. The scorelines in the new digs? 3-0, 7-0, 3-3, and tonight, 4-0 against the LA Galaxy.Atlanta’s an expansion team. They shouldn’t even be winning, let alone scoring. But with an offensive assault squad led by Josef Martinez—and his eight goals in the last four games—the goals won’t stop coming (though they’ve been aided by a few opposing-team red cards as well). For the thousands coming to check out the new stadium, these matches have just been dreamy. all its many, many faults, MLS is the best men’s soccer we’ve got here in States. If the teams here can play entertaining games in front of strong crowds, that’s still pretty cool. With this run they’re on, Atlanta is becoming America’s team.

 

Freedman: Atlanta’s expansion success is proving naysayers were all wrong

September 21, 20177:27PM EDTJonah Freedman

The largest crowd ever for an MLS match. A per-game attendance mark that will soon smash the league record. An entire town swathed in red and black – not for the local NFL team, but for the new soccer club – and a near-ubiquitous crest on shirts, flags, bumper stickers and signs all over town.Soccerheads around Atlanta will tell you they thought all along that an MLS team would be successful in the ninth-largest market in America. But not even they expected the magnitude with which Atlanta United have knocked the conventional thinking on its but.“This has surpassed my expectations by far,” says Atlanta native Walker Zimmerman, whose FC Dallas became the first-ever visiting team at Mercedes-Benz Stadium earlier this month. “I think it’s already one of the best fan bases in MLS.So less than a week removed from a crowd of 70,425 and a continuing average draw of nearly 48,000 per home game (more than any NBA, NHL or MLB team), let’s ask the question that’s on everyone’s minds: How on earth did we all miss the signs that Atlanta United could be this much of a smash hit in a place that some questioned as being deserving of an expansion team in the first place?The simple answer is that there is no one answer. There are only theories. But piece them together and you’ve got a fun look at how the league hit a home run in the ATL.

Theory 1: It’s an exciting team any city can get behind

This is the easiest one to explain.Every new club in MLS has done well at the gates in its first year (even Chivas USA!), so an initial pop in interest was to be expected. The 55,297 in attendance at Atlanta United’s first home match at Bobby Dodd Stadium back in March wasn’t a huge surprise, especially given that Atlanta had seen crowds of that size and bigger at several international friendlies at the Georgia Dome over the past eight years.But this is where the club deserves huge credit for its unique roster-building strategy. Yes, it’s deep-pocketed thanks to billionaire owner Arthur Blank. But the technical staff didn’t follow the common expansion blueprint of stocking the squad with recycled MLS veterans and aging, big-name Designated Players to fill the seats. Instead, they aggressively pursued young, in-demand talent from South America to build out a lethal attack alongside domestically cultivated players.The result: the universal language of goals. Josef MartínezMiguel AlmirónYamil Asad and Héctor Villalba (above) have, between them, 43 goals and 41 assists – both figures that are the best of any quartet in MLS. Meanwhile, the Five Stripes are second in the league in goals per game and have scored four or more on six occasions – including last week’s 7-0 beatdown of New England and, on Wednesday night, a 4-0 embarrassment of the five-time MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy.Whether you’re new to the game or a longtime fan, Atlanta’s aggressive style of play is a thing to behold, and it’s not hard to get excited when you’re fully confident your team has the ability to deposit a half-dozen goals in any given game. They’re also competitive in the standings, and look like a lock to become just the third team in MLS’s expansion era to qualify for the playoffs in their first season. There’s excitement and buzz about this team.“Frankly,” says Atlanta Journal-Constitution soccer writer Doug Roberson, “it’s hard to figure out one misstep the team has made.”

Theory 2: The Blank effect is in full effect

The day Atlanta was officially announced as an MLS expansion city in 2014, mayor Kasim Reed joked, “When Atlanta needs help, the red phone in the mayor’s office goes to Arthur Blank.” It wasn’t a joke.MLS clubs have all manners of ownership structures, from single owners to consortiums to fully corporate entities, and everything in between. Atlanta United has one owner: Blank. His name carries weight in Atlanta in a way that demands respect. Blank, of course, made his fortune as co-founder of the Home Depot and endeared himself to Atlanta by putting his money where his mouth is, whether it’s investing in the community or through philanthropic efforts.When he purchased the Falcons in 2001, he transformed a regular doormat of an NFL team that had never even experienced back-to-back winning seasons into a perennial contender – and even when they weren’t making the playoffs, they still generated a sense of local pride that had eluded the team throughout most of its history.“Blank made [the Falcons] competitive,” explains local soccer personality Jason Longshore, who wrote this passionate essay about United’s first game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. “He stressed he would put a good product on the field. No one would question that would be the exact approach he’d bring to a soccer team. If it wasn’t Arthur Blank, it wouldn’t have worked.”No, Blank isn’t a soccer guy. Like many MLS owners, he talks about how his kids play and that’s what got him excited. But as the sole owner of Atlanta United, the buck stops with him. And instead of making the mistake of trying to run a soccer club like his NFL property, he surrounded himself with smart soccer people to build the club the right way, like former Tottenham Hotspur exec Darren Eales as president, former US national team captain Carlos Bocanegra as technical director and former Orlando City exec Paul McDonough as director of soccer operations. And they in turn landed perhaps the biggest coup in former Argentina manager Tata Martino as Atlanta’s first head coach.That braintrust has created the latest reason for Blank to be universally beloved in his city. And even if his teams don’t hit at a 100 percent success rate, they don’t call him “Uncle Arthur” for nothing.

Theory 3: This is a new team for a new Atlanta

Most major cities in the United States and Canada are undergoing urban renaissances, with widespread gentrification and massive increases in real estate value bringing millennials (and their young families) into the the core of cities. MLS teams are trying to take advantage of this trend, which is why they concentrate new stadium projects on downtown sites. Atlanta is no different, which is a huge reason why the league chose it as an expansion city.But Atlanta is somewhat distinct in that it continues to be a city of transplants. According to census data, 37 percent of Metro Atlanta residents are from outside Georgia, and there is evidence that suggests Metro Atlanta is a top destination for relocation thanks to the relatively cheaper cost of living and the presence of 16 Fortune 500 companies.Local entrepreneur and United season ticket holder Michael Tavani theorizes that with so many transplants, it’s harder to find huge pockets of support for Atlanta’s teams. United is the first major-league team to set up shop in the area in 20 years (the last one, the NHL’s Thrashers, left town in 2011). And for the latest wave of transplants, United represents a chance to be part of something that isn’t just new, it’s uniquely theirs.“When people move here, they bring their old teams,” Tavani says. “When you go to Hawks games, it’s crazy how many jerseys you see for the other team. But MLS is young and most fans don’t carry the legacy of another team. With soccer, it’s a bit of a blank slate. This is the first team in Atlanta where people can rally behind it and we all feel like we joined at the same time.”

Theory 4: This is the perfect storm of things going right

ven if all three of the above theories hold water, it’s entirely possible that they couldn’t stand on their own.Sometimes, success is all about timing. If the Braves hadn’t moved out of downtown Atlanta to their new stadium in suburban Cobb County starting this year, would fans have chosen baseball over soccer?If United don’t score 10 goals in two games early in the season – including a nationally televised spectacle of a 6-1 smashing at fellow MLS debutants Minnesota United in a whiteout blizzard – would the excitement have been just a little less?If the ball takes a few different bounces and United finish 2017 as an entertaining, but non playoff-bound team, does that soften the buzz a tiny bit?It’s hard to say. There is absolutely a feeling that the planets have aligned for Atlanta United in their first season. The bigger challenge is yet to come. As Roberson says, “It’s only Year 1. Let’s see what happens if things change.”But for the time being, they are the “IT” thing in the ATL. And they’re making a lot of us eat crow.Jonah Freedman is a long-time soccer journalist and the first managing editor at MLSsoccer.com. A former senior editor at SI.com, he has also managed content for other brands, including StubHub and Under Armour.

Earn your Degree While You Watch Your Kids Soccer Practice – ½ the time and cost of Traditional Schools

 

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