ATLANTA — With a Campeones Cup final and a U.S. Open Cup final both set to kick off at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the next two weeks, Atlanta United’s home venue is becoming a beacon for high-profile matches, both domestic and international.
It’s a good sign for the Five Stripes, who’ve once again established the massive stadium as a fortress under Frank de Boer. Atlanta United has only lost four out of 38 league games in “The Benz” over the team’s three seasons, only one of which has happened this season. The team even has experience beating a top Liga MX team when Atlanta United defeated FC Monterrey 1-0 in CONCACAF Champions League earlier this season.
In fact, it’s that match against Monterrey that — while it wasn’t enough to keep Atlanta alive in the international competition — will give the players a boost of confidence as they prepare to host another Mexican giant.
“I think it does (provide good experience),” Miles Robinson said of the experience playing Monterrey earlier this season. “We’re very aware of what we’re about to face, and it’s obviously a good side. But I think this is a time that you wouldn’t want to face us at home.”
After Atlanta’s 2-1 win over Eastern Conference title rivals NYCFC, even Domenec Torrent admitted that “I accept sometimes, you play here, it’s not easy.”
Atlanta will hope to continue to giving the opposition trouble in Mercedes-Benz Stadium when they go toe-to-toe with Club America Wednesday night.
“It’s a great team,” Atlanta United star Pity Martinez said about the prospects of playing against Club America. “They’ve shown that they are a big team on the continent, and we are very strong at home, so we have to go out and play and be mentally strong to win the game and win a title.”
Having won five of its last six matches in all competitions, Atlanta United is arguably in its best form of the season heading into the Campeones Cup final. Despite having won six of seven MLS matches earlier this season, that stretch was marred by some dull performances on the field as half of those six wins came from 1-0 score lines. Defender Franco Escobar said this feels different.
“I think over the course of the season we have been adapting to everything. We had a little bit of a difficult start, but now,you see the team is playing better, in better form, and more confident,” said Escobar in the locker room after the win over NYCFC.
“We are playing in the Campeones Cup, the U.S. Open Cup, fighting at the top of the table, and this team has aspirations to try and repeat what we did last season. For that, we need this mentality in order to keep us confident.”