Outside gate one hours before Saturday’s match against Orlando City. Photo by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice

Atlanta United passed the 500,000 home attendance mark during the match against Orlando Saturday night. That mark leaves Atlanta comfortably at the top of the Major League Soccer attendance list heading into the All-Star break.

Atlanta is more than 100,000 fans ahead of second and third place Charlotte FC and Seattle Sounders. Two well followed clubs that also share stadiums with National Football League teams.

The team came into the game averaging 45,218 fans per home game, according to data provided by Soccerstadiumdigest.com, the highest per game average in Major League Soccer (MLS).

The attendance for the Orlando match was 43,576, according to Atlanta United’s communications staff. No team in MLS averages more than 35,000 fans per game.

Home Sweet Home

Mercedes-Benz Stadium has been home sweet home for Atlanta United this season. United is 7-4-1 on their home turf this season. With home matches against rival Nashville (8-2-2 at home), Cincinnati (holders of the best home field record in Major League Soccer at 10-1-0) and Miami coming up within the next couple weeks, remaining tough to defeat at home will be crucial to locking up a playoff spot.

United’s strong play at home had been good for 24 of their 35 total points this season. Orlando City was a point behind in the standings with 34 points coming into Saturday’s match before defeating Atlanta 2-1 Saturday night.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium hours before Saturday’s match v Orlando City. Photo by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice

Guess who’s coming to dinner:

Deportivo Cruz Azul will visit Atlanta later this month. The match against the popular Mexican club will take place Saturday, July 29.

Here comes Miami

The best player on Earth will be making his Mercedes-Benz Stadium debut Saturday, September 16. Lionel Messi and Inter Miami FC will face Atlanta late in the regular season, bringing not only Messi to Atlanta, but former United star Josef Martinez back to familiar territory.

There’s a good chance more than 60,000 fans can be in attendance for the match. Tickets for the match should fetch a pretty penny, particularly closer to match day. There might not be a more anticipated match this season following the news that Messi signed with Miami.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Donnell began his career covering sports and news in Atlanta nearly two decades ago. Since then he has written for Atlanta Business Chronicle, The Southern Cross...