Atlanta United won their first-ever home opener at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, beating Sporting Kansas City 3-1 Sunday afternoon. Luiz Araújo, the newest signing Dom Dwyer and seventeen-year-old Caleb Wiley supplied the goals for the Five Stripes.
Dwyer was drafted by Sporting Kansas City in 2012 and scored 68 goals, second-most in franchise history. Dwyer arrives in Atlanta after spending two seasons with Orlando City. When he came on for an injured Araújo in the 26th, Dwyer was confronted with some derisive chants by some of the Seventeens. However, he quickly made his mark with Atlanta.
“It’s always nice to score in your first game for a new club,” Dwyer said. “Against your old team is bittersweet, but it’s my first one in a couple of years, so it was a long time coming. I’ve definitely worked hard for this moment, so I’m very happy to be part of the squad and just a solid team performance.”
For a team that saw Mo Adams, Ezequiel Barco, George Bello, Franco Escobar, and Erick “Cubo” Torres depart during the transfer window, it appeared Atlanta United played with strong chemistry and a verve that dazzled the crowd. Notably in the midfield with the trio of Matheus Rossetto, Amar Sejdić and new signing Osvaldo Alonso.
“I think that chemistry is coming,” Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda said. “Obviously, we were working a lot on that in the preseason, on the chemistry and the little connections.”
Andrew Gutman is a new defender for Atlanta United and his tenacity quickly won over fans. He defended with guile, passion and toughness. He was named Man of the Match.
Once again, it was the first time Atlanta United played a regular season opener at The Benz. The team played its first-ever match at Bobby Dodd Stadium in 2017.
The 61st Mayor of Atlanta, Andre Dickens, nailed the Golden Spike, as the curtain raised on the 2022 season.
Between the second and third minute, fans quieted the chants and drums in honor of Christian Carrillo, the Atlanta United academy player who passed away earlier this month. Atlanta United players also wore black armbands to honor Carrillo.
Atlanta United’s next match will be on the road against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, March 5th. The Five Stripes’ next home match will be against Major League Soccer’s newcomers, Charlotte FC, on Sunday, March 14th.