ATLANTA – Despite playing in a new stadium, it felt like old times for Atlanta United.
A sell-out crowd of 45,314 Atlanta fans provided on Sunday the same level of raucous support it had given all year, but this time at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as the club posted a comprehensive 3-0 victory over FC Dallas (HIGHLIGHTS) in its first game in the venue.
“It’s the same people that are coming to Bobby Dodd [Stadium] who were coming here,” said Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan. “So for us we’re lucky because they’re boisterous, they’re excited to be in the stands and support us.”
The support helped Atlanta United christen their new home in style, as they picked up three critically important points with a dominant performance. The victory was Atlanta’s first since they defeated Orlando City, 1-0, on the road on July 21. It also snapped their winless run at four games.
“For us, it gives you that extra boost,” Guzan said of the homefield advantage. “You want to play for these guys, you want to play for the shirt, you want to play for these fans, and you want to put together a good performance.”
Atlanta United now have a 7-2-1 home record this year, and they will likely need to maintain their solid home form over the course of the next few weeks if they wish to reach the postseason. Atlanta will play seven of their final nine matches at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and several of those fixtures come in rapid succession.
The good news for the club is that it should have the same type of electric atmosphere that it had on Sunday.
“Here with the closed stadium, the volume is even louder,” said center back Leando Gonzalez Pirez, who scored his first MLS goal and the winner vs. Dallas. “But really, it’s been a great environment in both stadiums.”
Atlanta captain Michael Parkhurst joked that the first thing he noticed about 'The Benz' were the pyrotechnics that greeted the players as they walked from their locker room to the field. He said that the players' tunnel was hot because it was “spewing a lot of fire at us.”
But he had nothing but nice things to say about the atmosphere during the rest of the evening.
“It was exciting,” said Parkhurst. “We were all looking forward to this game for a while, and it lived up to expectations. The crowd was fantastic, the performance was fantastic. A very good evening to start things off here.”