By Amon Kehr
Atlanta United set the all-time single-game attendance record with 70,425 fans Saturday against Orlando City SC. Being one of MLS’s two new expansion teams this season, Atlanta has seen a lot of hype and excitement surrounding its new team. The expansion team has had some of the best attendance in the league this season, and now that it’s playing in its brand new stadium, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the hype does not seem to be slowing down one bit. The previous single-game attendance record had been the same since the inaugural season of MLS in 1996. The LA Galaxy set the record at the Rose Bowl, where they drew 69,225 fans to their first ever game. The next two records for largest crowds for MLS games are held by the Seattle Sounders, who had 67,385 and 66,452 fans in games in 2013 and 2012.
Atlanta United is averaging 45,811 fans per match this season. If the team can keep this up, the single-season average attendance record could be in play. The Seattle Sounders hold the record with 44,247 fans per match in 2015. The all-time single-season average attendance for a team in North America is also possible. That record is held by the New York Cosmos, a now defunct team of the old North American Soccer league, who set the record in 1978 with 47,856 fans per game.
Champions League group stage matches begin
The Champions League is back as group stage matches began Tuesday. There were a few notable matchups to start the European competition. In a rematch of the 2015 final, Barcelona faced off against Juventus. Barcelona came away with all three points from this match, winning 3-0. Entering the match, Lionel Messi had never scored against legendary Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. Messi finally put one past Buffon in the 45th minute, adding another accomplishment to his long list. Defending champions Real Madrid are right back to where they left off, beating APOEL FC from Cyprus 3-0. English clubs fared especially well this week, with Manchester City winning 4-0 over Feyenoord and Chelsea FC 6-0 over Azerbaijan club, FK Qarabag. Manchester United won 3-0 against Basel, and Tottenham beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1. Liverpool was the only English club not to win its opening game after beginning with a 2-2 draw against Sevilla. The next set of games will take place Sept. 26 and Sept. 27. Sept. 26, Borussia Dortmund will take on Real Madrid, while on Sept. 27, Bayern Munich will play Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea FC will play Atletico Madrid.