Georgia Tech Sets the Stage for the Future

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Georgia Tech Athletic Director, Todd Stansbury, announced on Tuesday afternoon that the school struck an agreement with Mercedes Benz and the Peach Bowl to host one Georgia Tech game for the next five seasons beginning in 2020.This is a big move for Georgia Tech in many ways as each game will be nationally televised and played on a big stage.

As we said, the deal is for 2020-2024 and the first game of the deal is the 2020 Notre Dame game on November 14. The 2024 Notre Dame @ GT game will also be played at MBS.

In 2022, Georgia Tech will play Clemson on Labor to kick of that season at MBS. The two teams face off to open the 2019 season in Death Valley to kick off the new ACC Network on Thursday August 29th.

The games to be played at the Benz in 2021 and 2023 will be announced in the future. It is worth mentioning that Georgia Tech needs to add one more FBS game for 2021 and up to two FBS opponents for 2023.

The games will count as “home” games for Georgia Tech rather than neutral site games. However, Todd Stansbury said that there will still be six home games a year played at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

With Georgia Tech ushering in a new coaching era with Geoff Collins and is trying to “rebrand” the program, it is big to get games like this. If you want to be a power house, you have to win on the big stage. By doing this deal, Georgia Tech will have their chance to put themselves back on the map.

By: Bret Anderson

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MLS Cup Finals Preview: Atlanta United vs. Portland Timbers

As the 5 Stripes get set to host a locked on Portland Timbers team, soccer in the South is more present than ever this Saturday in Downtown Atlanta.

Almiron celebration
Almiron celebration http://www.usatoday.com

For the first time in Atlanta sports history, the city will host the MLS Cup finals in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium with the hometown team participating. Who would’ve thought that the Benz would have futbol finals played inside of it and not football?

The work and determination that Atlanta United has clocked in over the last 2 years has been enough to cause a rumble within the entire league of the MLS, in a positive manner. Hiring the executives and higher ups that they did in order to establish a solid idea and have that idea trickle down the totem pole worked for Atlanta’s advantage.

Securing Tata Martino as Head Coach, a highly influential coach with connections all over the world, was a main selling point in finalizing many player transfer deals like Almiron’s or Ezequiel Barco’s. Everyone wants to go where Martino goes.

With this being Martino’s last match in the A, there’s no doubt in my mind that tributes will be played and recognition will be given to the mastermind behind the Starting XI every week that’s led us to the MLS Cup Finals.

Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great

MLS: D.C. United at Atlanta United FC
Mar 11, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta United forward Andrew Carleton (30) celebrates with midfielder Darlington Nagbe (6) after their game against the D.C. United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports http://www.usatoday.com

ATL UTD is coming into this MLS Cup Final with no notable injuries from the main players that have being seen action throughout the season. Greg Garza has been up to  100% for over a month and has been playing beautifully, as if he’d never left. Martino is likely to use Garza in the regular Left Back position to X out any Portland attack from that side.

The Atlanta attack is notable for having the faces of the franchise (Almiron, Martinez, Villalba) but the Atlanta backline has played a very important role in their playoffs victories. By keeping the goals against to a minimum, Atlanta has been able to outscore the opponent and secure the W.

Seeing as we’ve only lost in the Benz twice this entire season, it’s going to be very hard for the Timbers to get any sort of momentum going, to say the least, especially with an expected 72,000+ Atlanta fans making their presence known tonight.

Draw is not an Option

Andy Polo Portland Timbers
Andy Polo Portland Timbers http://www.usatoday.com

With the immense amount of pressure on both teams, things can go either of two ways: 1. They tighten up the defense and both teams end up scoreless.

2. It’s a tight game – one team edges out the other by the minimum margin.

With that being said, anything can happen in the Finals. I wouldn’t be surprised if one team completely blew out the other. According to statistics, however, Atlanta has a 70% chance of winning it all, and while Portland has been great on the road (taking out Seattle and Sporting Kansas City both as visitors) this may be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The midfield is where the Timbers look the most deadly. With the experienced Diego Valeri aka El Maestro pulling all of the strings, and their ridiculously fast wingers like Andy Polo, Portland has no trouble getting into the opponent’s upper third. Atlanta has to be prepared for fast-paced attacks and counter-attacks that have gotten the Portland Timbers this far into the game.

Arturo Principe | @ArturoPrincipe1

 

 

 

 

 

ATL UTD Playoffs Leg 1 Recap: NYCFC

After a scrappy 1-0 win, Atlanta United head back to the Benz to finish the job against New York City FC.

ATL UTD vs NYCFC
ATL UTD vs NYCFC http://www.mercedezbensstadium.com

After the match that shall not be named (against Toronto FC), speculation was made that there was no true substitute for Almiron and what he provides to keep the 5 Stripes back line organized and the offense running. As you can imagine, leaving Yankee Stadium with the win held much more than statistical value.

Almost making an immediate impact after his return, Miguel Almiron scored what would have given Atlanta United the lead in the 21st minute with a beautiful rainbow chip over Sean Johnson. However, after consulting with VAR, the ref concluded that the goal would not count due to interference. The city of Atlanta did not agree.

As the match went on, Atlanta was able to make the most of their chances by achieving their first ever MLS Playoffs win last Sunday. They were also able to maintain their team morale thanks to a tap in from Eric Remedi after a corner. 

This win didn’t come easy. As NYCFC started out the match, they were very aggressive in ALL senses of the word.

Not only was New York generating clearer opportunities and attacking more, they also seemed to be, well, attacking more. On the bright side, the high amount of fouls led to the most fouls called in the first half of an MLS game ever, another record broken by Atlanta United.

Garza’s Back!

Garza vs. NYCFC
Garza vs. NYCFC http://www.firsttouchonline.com

A return that wasn’t mentioned as much as Almiron’s was Defender Greg Garza‘s. Both Captain Michael Parkhurst and Garza played a big part in Atlanta keeping their 1-0 lead intact until the 90 minutes were up. It was the first time this season where NYCFC was not able to get a single shot on goal.

In a team full of younger guys, putting Garza back in the starting XI in a Playoff game after being out for most of the regular season shows how much Tata and his coaching staff trust Garza’s experience and ability to lead the team.

Garza played a beautiful game and didn’t let his position confine him to one part of the field. His scorching pace allowed him to make smart runs on the width of the pitch which allowed him to make efficient crosses to the midfield or to whoever found themselves closest to the rival’s box.

Holding it Down in the A

Mercedes Benz Stadium
Mercedes Benz Stadium http://www.ajc.com

We’re back in the Benz this Sunday for Round 2 and New York City has a lot of problems to deal with coming their way.

After limiting Almiron to 45 minutes last week, he’ll likely to be on the pitch for the full 90 this week. Not only that, but our home record speaks for itself (11-2-4). In our 2nd year, we have nothing to lose and everything to prove. Let’s make Atlanta proud.

 

Arturo Principe | @ArturoPrincipe1

ATL UTD vs. Chicago Fire Recap

With Almiron and Villalba both out in what was one of the less exciting ATL UTD home matches, the 5 Stripes pulled off a victory against the Chicago Fire last Sunday.

Gressel vs. Chicago Fire
Gressel vs. Chicago Fire http://www.hottimeinoldtown.com

Finally playing at the Benz again after a series of road games, Atlanta United clinched their CONCACAF Champions League 2019 spot with a home win over Chicago and are set to participate in international competition next year.

Many speculations were made due to the absences of the big name players like Miguel or Tito in this match and just how Tata Martino would tinker with the lineup to make up for their play-making creativity (Almiron) and explosiveness down the width of the pitch (Villalba). However, the starting XI more than held their own against the Men in Red.

Atlanta United, armed in a 4-3-3 formation, gave homegrown Andrew Carleton the nod to start as well as Ezequiel Barco, both of which tend to come on as subs throughout the game.

After only 9 minutes, Defender Franco Escobar received the perfect opportunity to give the 5 Stripes the lead and he was able to convert. A fortunate pass/stumble from Martinez saw Escobar with the perfect angle to the goal and tapping it in was all it took.  This was the Right Back’s first MLS goal and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Friendly Fire

Mccann vs. Chicago Fire
McCann vs. Chicago Fire http://www.usatoday.com

The Chicago Fire were able to remain level with ATL UTD as De Leeuw scored in the 24th minute but their celebration was short lived.

Chris McCann sent a cross in that took a deflection and ended up in the back of Chicago’s net. An own goal only 2 minutes after their first goal made sure Atlanta stayed on top.

The stars aligned and everything seemed to go Atlanta’s way this past Sunday as we remain atop of the Eastern Conference table (as well as tying the MLS point record). However, with the New York Red Bulls still only 1 point behind us, like they have been for the larger part of the regular season, the pressure is still on and it’s going to come down to the final week of action to see which team walks away with the highly coveted MLS Supporters’ Shield.

Arturo Principe | @ArturoPrincipe1