You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

breaking news

Plane crashes into Cobb County house

Atlanta United knows Chicago game is important


Enjoy this Atlanta United home game against Chicago while you can.

By the time the Five Stripes return to Bobby Dodd Stadium, they will have traveled more than 13,000 miles to play four road games before they once again get to stay in Atlanta to play D.C. United on April 30.

So, while trying to win every home game is the goal, getting three points against much-improved Chicago on Saturday is extremely important in what may be a good barometer of what expect from Atlanta United in the league this season.

“We will be very focused this week to get three points, move into that break, and then go into four difficult road trips,” midfielder Jeff Larentowicz said. “Getting three points is very important.”

The stretch of road games isn’t a surprise and was made necessary because of spring football at Georgia Tech and the need to use the stadium field.

But it won’t make it any easier.

In addition to the miles and travel fatigue, Atlanta United must face Seattle, the reigning champs; Toronto, the runners-up; Montreal, the Eastern Conference runners-up; and Real Salt Lake, also a playoff team last year.

Add that this Chicago squad isn’t the same that finished last in the Eastern Conference the past two seasons, and the challenge is great for the MLS expansion squad. The Fire have added midfielders Dax McCarty and Juninho. Though Juninho didn’t play in the first game, Chicago still took one point by tying Columbus and then, with Juninho and McCarty anchoring the midfield, defeated Real Salt Lake 2-0 with two goals by Nemanja Nikolic and Arturo Alvarez in the first 15 minutes.

“It’s a totally different team than it was last year than years past,” goalkeeper Alec Kann said. “They will be organized, compact, solid defensively, good attacking players. We have to do our work to get ready for it.”

Atlanta United has had an interesting to start to the preseason and season, making it difficult to tell how the team may fare this season. It played only two MLS teams in the preseason, only one of which (Columbus) started any first-team players. The other (Seattle) fielded its B team.

The season started with the adrenaline rush that marked the first game in front of more than 55,000 at Bobby Dodd Stadium. After taking a 1-0 lead on a goal by Yamil Asad, the energy dissipated and Atlanta United lost 2-1. The game against fellow expansion side Minnesota United was next. Playing in the snow against what could be a historically bad team, Atlanta United easily won 6-1. Some of Atlanta United’s players described the game as odd because the weather conditions made it impossible to try to utilize manager Gerardo Martino’s tactics.

The weather is supposed to be good Saturday. Though the second game should be a sellout, the capacity of Bobby Dodd Stadium has been reduced from 55,000 to 45,000 because of construction in the northern end.

Add the familiarity of the second game and the quality of the opponent, and the team and its supporters should get a much better idea of its quality ahead of the longest road stretch of the season.

“In order to be a playoff team you have to win a majority of your home games,” team captain Michael Parkhurst said. “We lost that opportunity in Week 1. We don’t want to do the same in the second home game. That, coupled with the upcoming stretch of away games, makes this of utmost importance.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Georgia Tech chose NIT over NCAA in 1971
Georgia Tech chose NIT over NCAA in 1971

In 1971, the last and only time before this season that Georgia Tech made the NIT semifinals, the college basketball postseason was a different scene than it is today. Tech’s approach in that season explains it quite clearly. At the end of the 1970-71 regular season, the Yellow Jackets were 20-8, just the third 20-win season in school history...
Hawks still evaluating backup point guard spot
Hawks still evaluating backup point guard spot

The Hawks backup point guard position continues to be under evaluation. Malcolm Delaney served in the role for most of the season behind starter Dennis Schroder as the Hawks went without a third true point guard on the roster. Jose Calderon was claimed off waivers on March 4. Upon his acquisition, the Hawks played Calderon in the backup spot for five...
Former NASCAR driver Pete Hamilton of Duluth dies
Former NASCAR driver Pete Hamilton of Duluth dies

NASCAR driver Pete Hamilton of Duluth, who won the 1970 Daytona 500 driving for Petty Enterprises, died this week. Hamilton, 74, passed away Wednesday. Hamilton, a native of Maine who moved to the Buford-Norcross area and built winning cars after his driving days, won four times during a career that spanned six seasons, including twice at Talladega...
Teheran turns in nifty bases-loaded escape in final Grapefruit start
Teheran turns in nifty bases-loaded escape in final Grapefruit start

LAKELAND, Fla. – When he pitched five dominant innings for Colombia in a March 11 win against Canada in the World Baseball Classic, Julio Teheran looked pretty much ready for the regular season. When he worked six strong innings against the Detroit Tigers on Friday, extricating himself from a bases-loaded, no-outs jam along the way, Teheran left...
Braves’ bullpen and bench decisions coming down to final week
Braves’ bullpen and bench decisions coming down to final week

LAKELAND, Fla. – The final spots in the Braves bullpen and possibly a bench job or two were still not finalized as the team entered the final week of spring training games, with Braves manager Brian Snitker noting that 25-man roster decisions and moves could be made right until just before opening day, which is April 3. “Couple of decisions...
More Stories