Why Atlanta United should be considered legitimate MLS Cup contenders

Five Stripes clinch playoff berth with 4-1 win over CF Montreal

With their 4-1 win over CF Montreal this past Saturday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta United are headed back to the MLS playoffs for the first time since 2021.

Atlanta United (13-10-8) currently are fifth in the MLS Eastern Conference but are in great position to improve their final standing with three more matches left in the MLS 2023 regular season.

Jason Longshore (filling in for Greg Clarkson) joined Sam Crenshaw on Sunday morning to help breakdown how the Five Stripes can and hope to improve their playoff standings.

“Home field is so important in the potential third game,” explained Longshore as he broke down the new format in MLS playoffs as the first round will be a best-of-three series with the higher seeds having home-field advantage.

“You've got to get into the top four,” stressed Longshore when analyzing what Atlanta United hopes to accomplish over the next few matches.

Regardless of what final position the Five Stripes end up in as the regular season winds down, the playoffs are clinched and now the goal becomes winning the second MLS Cup in franchise history.

Most importantly, according to Longshore, the Five Stripes are playing great heading into the home stretch of the regular season and should be considered legitimate championship contenders.

“They’ve got a defense brewing that can win a championship,” emphasized the Five Stripes' color analyst when talking about how manager Gonzalo Pineada has his team playing down the stretch of the season. “You immediately want to put pressure on the ball when it turns over, and I thought Atlanta was outstanding in this last night.”

Can the effective play on defense combined with the impactful scoring by players such as Giorgos Giakoumakis and Thiago Almada lead Atlanta United to another MLS Championship?

Featured Image Photo Credit: Jordan Godfree