Atlanta United’s 2018 schedule is out and things do not look nearly as confusing or intimidating as they did in 2017.
Maybe it has to do with the fact that fans and players went through as tough a gauntlet as possible. But 2018 looks exciting. Let us have a look:
- Atlanta starts and ends the season on the road, unlike last year.
- Speaking of which, it is not the easiest of starts as Atlanta will begin the season going to Houston to take on a team that shocked Portland in the playoffs before crashing out to Seattle. Then they’ll end the season in Toronto against the defending champions in a game that could determine playoff positioning again.
- Atlanta goes back to Minnesota early in the season but that is their only meeting with The Loons.
- 2018’s only expansion club – LAFC – comes to Atlanta on April 7.
- Aside from one long road trip in August and September, The Five Stripes do not play more than two consecutive games on the road.
- That trip however involves going to Orlando, DC, Colorado and San Jose, and Atlanta will go more than a month between home games in the process. Depending on how the season goes, that trip could play a big role in how Atlanta is positioned for a possible postseason run.
- The middle of that long road trip has a big break – Atlanta plays DC on Sept. 2 and then Colorado on the 15.
- Atlanta ends the season with only three of their last nine games at home.
- Despite trips to LA and San Jose, Atlanta will benefit from hosting the Cascadian clubs. It is certainly easier to have them come here than make another cross-country trip.
- There are not eight games in 23 days and that should have everyone happy.
- There is a World Cup break for nine days: from June 14 through June 22.
- The MLS All-Star game will be in Atlanta on Aug. 1 and we still do not know the team that the MLS All Stars will play.
Ultimately the schedule is friendly, if back-loaded with road games. MLS is a tough league when it comes to picking up wins away from home and Atlanta will surely need some of those to make the end of the season easier to deal with.
Of course, do not forget that Atlanta will take part in the U.S. Open Cup and will surely hope for a better showing than last season. That might tighten the schedule up during the season should they see more success.
No matter what, the schedule is out and we are a step closer to Atlanta’s second season. It is coming soon and now we can look ahead at where and when the moments of madness and glory may happen.