On Sunday, Atlanta United have the chance to win the first piece of silverware in the club's short existence.
One point ahead of the New York Red Bulls for the Supporters' Shield, Atlanta can clinch the Shield with a win against Chicago Fire (3 pm ET | ESPN) combined with a Red Bulls' loss against Philadelphia Union (3 pm ET | TV & streaming info). If both results don't go that way, the Shield will head into Decision Day.
A trophy named after the fans, who better to check in with than representatives from Atlanta United's supporters' groups to see what winning the Shield would mean?
"I don't think anyone could have dreamed in April 2014 that MLS Atlanta, Atlanta United would have a chance at the Supporters Shield in Season two," Austin Long, President of Terminus Legion, told MLSsoccer.com. "Since the first kick at Bobby Dodd Stadium on March 5, 2017, this club has taken fans for a ride. Going into the last two weeks of the season, we are looking to push the Five Stripes over the line for their first piece of silverware."
The club has been one of the league's brightest teams this season, but could undergo an offseason of change as rumors swirl around star Miguel Almiron and head coach Tata Martino. Fans understand there's no time like the present to chase glory because next season is never guaranteed.
"It would mean everything," Kevin Kinley, co-founder of The Faction, said. "You've got to remember that Atlanta's pro franchises haven't exactly been swimming in titles. Any kind of silverware would be huge, especially since we don't know if Tata or Miguel will be back next season. Atlanta fans know that whenever you have a window of opportunity like this, you've got to take advantage of it."
We're going BIG again 😏— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) October 17, 2018
RT if you'll be one of the 70k+ in the house this weekend! pic.twitter.com/4VocfpXH3P
Stefan Kallweit, Vice President of Footie Mob, also acknowledged the larger landscape of Atlanta sports for how special Atlanta United's excellence has been.
"Winning the shield would mean everything to the fans and the club," Kallweit said on behalf of Footie Mob. "To the fans, it would mean that they support the best team in the league over the regular season and that the club really is serious about winning, especially with our first trophy in such a short existence. It would dispel much of the Atlanta sports myths about winning — especially since the last big win here was in 1995 with the Braves."
With two games left in the season, Atlanta is in the precarious spot of either clinching the Shield and potentially breaking the league record for most points in a season or falling short of silverware just before the finish line, dampening the mood around the club heading into the playoffs. For every minute of these final two games, the fans will be behind them.
"The Supporters Shield would be an amazing and worthy reward for all the hard work put in by everyone, from the owner all the way down to the players," Long said. "The Five Stripes have been chased the entire season by the Red Bulls, and fans anxiously await the outcomes of the final two matches of the regular season. Sunday will be a full house at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with over 70,000 fans cheering on for a massive three points. And then we will be huddled around TVs around Atlanta and the Southeast on Decision Day to see if Atlanta United can seal the deal and win the Supporters Shield."