Atlanta fans showed their support for Atlanta United FC‘s debut, with a crowd of more than 55,000 turning out for the team’s match on Sunday.
One of two expansion teams–along with Minnesota–to join the MLS this season, Atlanta played its first game this weekend, dropping a close 2-1 contest to the New York Red Bulls. For United FC, however, the debut at Bobby Dodd Stadium was still a special occasion, as a reported 55,297 fans were in attendance.
Obviously, the team’s arrival sparked significant interest among Atlanta’s fans. The attendance figure was a focal of the point evening for many who were on hand, including MLS commissioner Don Garber. More from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
At halftime, MLS commissioner Don Garber reported that he’d arrived 10 minutes into the match — he’d come from Orlando — and said of the scene at the sold-out Bobby Dodd Stadium: “I was just speechless, and I’m not speechless very often. This is just remarkable.”
Remember the part about soccer in the USA and Atlanta sports sharing a kinship? Here was Garber: “I want our league to be the sport for the New America. A diverse city like Atlanta is the New America. We’re not the sport for the fan who likes all the other sports. We’re the sport for the young fan (meaning Millennials, not toddlers) but sees a sport and wants to paint his or her face.”
There should be more excitement for Atlanta fans and United FC over the course of this season. United FC is using Georgia Tech football’s Bobby Dodd Stadium as a temporary venue until its new home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, opens this summer, so the arrival of a new facility is around the corner.
The attendance of 55,297 topped all MLS matches from over the weekend. The full list of reported attendance figures can be seen here.
Image courtesy Atlanta United FC.