Their first clash on March 13 in Atlanta (at Mercedes-Benz Stadium) is one to circle on the early-season calendar, promising to be the first of many hotly-contested derbies for regional superiority and bragging rights.
Atlanta United president Darren Eales is already looking forward to the fireworks, telling reporters on his Wednesday video call that he's been brainstorming names in the vein of the LA Galaxy and LAFC's "El Trafico" or the Columbus Crew's and FC Cincinnati's "Hell is Real" derby.
"We're the kings of the South, they call themselves the Queen City, so I've been racking my brain on what we'll end up calling [the rivalry]," Eales said. "I don't like I-85 Derby, so perhaps it'll be the Royal Rumble or something like that. But we're going to enjoy having that rivalry with Charlotte and I think it's good for the league that we've got clubs coming in and pushing the envelope and I think it just speaks to the excitement there is for MLS and soccer in North America. "
Regardless of what is settled upon, Eales said he has closely followed Charlotte's progress and is excited to welcome them to the league.
Internally, Charlotte have set the bar high for their inaugural season. They hope to break Atlanta's MLS regular-season single-game attendance record when playing their first home match at Bank of America Stadium on March 5 against the Galaxy. The Five Stripes welcomed 72,548 fans on Aug. 3, 2019. Bank of America Stadium has a capacity of 75,412.
Should Charlotte establish a new mark, Eales said he would embrace it.
"We're really excited about Charlotte coming in, we've got a natural rival down the road," he said. "It's been exciting to see how they've been building the club, very excited about the opening game they're going to have and if they can get the big number they're talking about. This is what we need in the league to drive things forward. I think of when I went to Orlando for their first game at the Citrus Bowl when they hosted NYCFC and had 62,000, I think that was an eye-opener for the league, and that almost paved the way for us coming in.
"So, excited to see Charlotte coming in, for the success they're going to have. I know they talked about hosting a home playoff game and they're great guys that have set that up. They wouldn't be saying that if they didn't believe it to their supporters. So for them to be coming and setting the bar finishing top-four in the conference, makes me a bit nervous about who they're going to be signing in the coming weeks. But it's good because it raises the bar for everyone, so we're excited for that."
With both teams in the Eastern Conference, a second early rivalry game won't have to wait long. The Five Stripes will travel to Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium on April 9.