Atlanta United’s 2024 MLS schedule is tough, very tough

Atlanta United midfielder Thiago Almada celebrates with teammates after scoring the team's first goal during the first half at Mercedes Benz Stadium in an MLS game between Atlanta United and the New Egland Revolution on Sunday, May 15, 2022. Thursday, May 12, 2022. Miguel Martinez /

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Atlanta United midfielder Thiago Almada celebrates with teammates after scoring the team's first goal during the first half at Mercedes Benz Stadium in an MLS game between Atlanta United and the New Egland Revolution on Sunday, May 15, 2022. Thursday, May 12, 2022. Miguel Martinez /

Atlanta United’s 2024 MLS schedule will not be easy.

It features two games against MLS Cup winners Columbus, two against Supporters Shield winners Cincinnati, two against Leagues Cup winners Miami, one against U.S. Open Cup winners Houston and one against Campeones Cup finalist LAFC, which also lost two more finals last season.

It won’t include matches against Portland, Austin and Colorado, who failed to make the playoffs last season. Three other teams Atlanta United won’t face, Dallas, Sporting KC and San Jose, made the playoffs but were the last three seeds in the West.

If Atlanta United is to compete for its second MLS Cup next season, it’s going to be tough.

Looking at it month by month:

February: The season starts at Columbus, the reigning MLS Cup holders and the team that knocked the Five Stripes out of the playoffs in the first round. The Crew didn’t re-sign Julian Gressel but return most of a lineup that played pretty soccer.

March: This is an opportunity for Atlanta United to gain some momentum with three home matches against New England, Orlando and Chicago. They will also play at Toronto. Chicago and Toronto were two of the worst teams in MLS and neither has done much to improve their rosters. Three of the teams will have new coaches with Caleb Porter replacing Bruce Arena with the Revs, Frank Klopas becoming the full-time coach at Chicago, and John Herdman replacing Bob Bradley in Toronto. Atlanta United could benefit from New England being involved in the Champions League. If it makes it out of the first round, the Revs’ next round will start March 6. Orlando could also be affected. If it makes it out of the first round, the second match in the next home-and-home will be March 12-14.

April: Things will start to get tough. The month starts at NYCFC, where Atlanta United rarely plays well, and continues with home matches against Philadelphia and Cincinnati. The Union likely won’t be as good as they were this season. Cincinnati, the Supporters Shield winners, should be, unless they sell Brandon Vazquez. The month ends at Chicago, marking the first home-and-home to be complete. A reminder that the SheBelieves Cup is scheduled to be Mercedes-Benz Stadium on April 6, the same day as Atlanta United at Yankee Stadium.

May: The month could get off to a positive start for Atlanta United with home matches against Minnesota and D.C. United, both of whom seem to be rudderless at the moment. It continues at Cincinnati, making the second home-and-home to be finished. Then at Nashville, where Atlanta United typically loses, and at home against LAFC, which lost in the finals of the MLS Cup, Campeones Cup and Champions League last season. Wait, it’s not done yet. Atlanta United ends the month with a Wednesday match at Miami. Though it’s six matches in a month, playing on a Wednesday may mean that Gerardo Martino rests his group of stars led by Lionel Messi.

June: It should be easier than May. Charlotte are once again be under a new manager. Matches against D.C. United and Toronto are also on tap, ending those season series. Houston will be tough, as will Atlanta United’s first meeting with St. Louis, which won the West last season. Also remember that the Copa America begins at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on the 20th with Argentina hosting a team to be determined. It’s a day after Atlanta United plays at D.C. United. The U.S. will play Panama at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on June 27.

July: MLS is going to play through Copa America, so will Atlanta United, which will start the month with three consecutive road matches in its longest stretch. It will start at New England before the team plays three days later at Real Salt Lake. A week later it will go to Montreal. There won’t be a break because Atlanta United will host NYCFC four days after it plays in Canada. The month ends with the team hosting Columbus.

August: MLS will pause for the second edition of the Leagues Cup. Atlanta United’s league season will pick up at L.A. Galaxy, which hasn’t done much yet to rebuild an out-of-whack roster that failed to make the playoffs last season, and at Charlotte, ending that season series.

September: The schedule again should get tougher with matches against Nashville and Miami, which will again be on a Wednesday so Messi may not play, before the team goes to Red Bulls, a team it has beaten just once in franchise history. It ends at Philadelphia.

October: Home matches against Montreal and Red Bulls, which may both be out of the playoff chase, and on the road at Orlando in a fitting match to end the season.

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Atlanta United’s 2024 schedule

Feb. 24 at Columbus, 2 p.m.

March 9 vs. New England, 7:30 p.m.

March 17 vs. Orlando, 7 p.m., FS1

March 23 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m.

March 31 vs. Chicago, 3:30 p.m., FOX

April 6 at NYCFC, 7:30 p.m.

April 14 vs. Philadelphia, 2:30 p.m., FOX

April 20 vs. Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

April 27 at Chicago, 8:30 p.m.

May 4 vs. Minnesota, 7:30 p.m.

May 11 vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

May 15 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

May 18 at Nashville, 1:30 p.m.

May 25 vs. LAFC, 7:30 p.m.

May 29 at Miami, 7:30 p.m.

June 2 vs Charlotte, 4:30 p.m., FOX

June 15 vs. Houston, 7:30 p.m.

June 19 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

June 22 at St. Louis, 8:30 p.m.

June 29 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m.

July 3 at New England, 7:30 p.m.

July 6 at Real Salt Lake, 9:30 p.m.

July 13 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

July 17 vs. NYCFC, 7:30 p.m.

July 20 vs. Columbus, 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 24 at L.A. Galaxy, 10:30 p.m.

Aug. 31 at Charlotte, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 14 vs. Nashville, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 18 vs. Miami, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 21 at Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 18 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 2 vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 5 vs. Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 19 at Orlando, 6 p.m.