Seen here, Atlanta United FC’s first preseason is as follows:
- 2/11/17 ~ @ Chattanooga FC (Exhibition)
- 2/18/17 ~ vs. Columbus Crew SC (Carolina Challenge Cup)
- 2/22/17 ~ vs. Seattle Sounders FC (Carolina Challenge Cup)
- 2/25/17 ~ @ Charleston Battery (Carolina Challenge Cup)
In my opinion, it’s fitting for ATLUTD’s first match of any sort to come against Chattanooga FC. ‘Nooga is a perennial powerhouse in the NPSL’s Southeast Divison. Their stadium seats over 20000, so I’m sure there will be a raucous crowd of Atlantans and Chattahooligans (their supporters’ group name) alike taking up song for the match. It’ll be interesting to see if this could develop into a yearly or biannual matchup; Chattanooga’s success in the NPSL grants them frequent US Open Cup births, so it’s likely the clubs could meet there in the future.
The other three games of the current preseason slate are part of the Carolina Challenge Cup, a weekly preseason tournament hosted by Charleston Battery in Charleston, South Carolina. Columbus is coming off a bad season and will likely be trying out new playmakers such as their new DP, Ghanaian Johnathan Mensah. Seattle Sounders, on the other hand, are coming off their first MLS Cup victory. The real question is whether or not Clint Dempsey will be fully back to his old self after missing a healthy chunk of this past season with an irregular heartbeat. The match with Charleston Battery should be the most lighthearted of the three fixtures at the Carolina Challenge Cup; numerous ATLUTD players were on loan at Charleston during the last USL season. The boys’ll just be out there having fun against Charleston.