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22nd Sep 2019

How Atlanta United took Major League Soccer by storm

Wayne Farry

The club won its first MLS Cup in 2018

Atlanta United were founded in 2014, joining Orlando SC’s as the south eastern United States’s second expansion franchise in less than a year – filling a gap since the dissolution of its two previous sides in 2001.

They entered the league in 2017, guided by former Barcelona coach and current Mexico manager Tata Martino, and reach the first play-off stage, losing to Columbus Crew on penalties after a goalless tie.

In just their second season in MLS they managed to win the MLS Cup outright, defeating Portland Timbers to give the city its first major sporting triumph since the Atlanta Braves won the World Series in 1995.

But how did they do it? How did an expansion side from a city with previously no MLS side manage to take the league by storm, and consistently set attendance records in the process?

We spoke to academy director Tony Annan and youth coach Jack Collison to find out.