Tag Archives: Terminus Legion

All the Fun is in the A

 

Robyn Saghini - Atlanta United FC/mlsfemale
Official Atlanta United FC Reporter

By Robyn Saghini // @robynsaghini

Saturday, May 20: 4-1 Win

This weekend was SO. MUCH. FUN. The Atlanta United game on Saturday night was obviously a huge part of that, but the annual fundraising event I attended on Sunday is one of my favorite events to be a part of. More on that in a minute – first, the game!

The day started out well enough. I checked the weather report as soon as I woke up and saw 30-40% chance of rain in the afternoon, but it didn’t look serious….Until about 4pm when we saw some clouds rolling in. Still, no rain, so we assumed it was going to skirt by us. Until it didn’t. Fortunately for me, I jumped into the van I had rented to bring all the tailgate equipment in just seconds before the deluge.

The march to the match was already well on its way, though. Because of the lightning, the stadium gates were closed and everyone who wasn’t inside yet was sent to a parking deck to wait it out. The game ended up being delayed about an hour, but fortunately, once the storm passed, we didn’t have any more weather issues. Well, except for one minor malfunction during the national anthem. The hired singer’s microphone didn’t work, but the crowd realized it quickly and belted out the anthem for him and it was a beautiful thing:

And then…holy cow. After missing so many chances last week in Portland because he kept passing the ball, Miguel Almiron was asked by the coaches to take the shots this week. They didn’t have to tell him twice. Almiron is the second ATLUTD player to get a hat trick this season – and ATLUTD is the first expansion team to have two players with a hat trick in their first season.

I’ve had this song stuck in my head for two days now. You’re welcome for the ear worm.

Julian Gressel also got his second goal in a week. I watched this on replay a few times last night and it gets funnier each time. He gets the ball, loses the ball, gets mad that he lost the ball, and then “hey! There it is!” and into the back of the net it goes.

Almiron’s third goal was Atlanta’s very first penalty kick this season after Tito Villalba was taken down in the box.

A little earlier in the game, Villalba appeared to take a bit of a knock to the face in the box in the middle of the second half, but no foul was called. The Houston keeper kicked the ball out of bounds right at the ATL coach, Tata Martino, who kicked it right back on the field…maybe with a bit more enthusiasm than he should have…and the ref ran over and ejected him from the game. Chants of “we want Tata” were heard a couple of times after that.

We also witnessed the debut appearance of one of ATL’s homegrown players – and a huge fan favorite – Andrew Carleton. The 16-year-old came in for Almiron in the last few minutes of the game. He didn’t have a whole lot to do, but the crowd went absolutely INSANE when he stepped on the pitch.

The atmosphere at this game was incredible – it was very close to the same feeling we all had at the season opener, only better because we walked out of there with three points. I am hopeful that it will carry over to this Sunday’s game vs NYCFC – our second game against them in 4 weeks, but this time at home.

As I mentioned previously, this past Sunday was the major annual fundraiser for Soccer in the Streets, the local Atlanta charity that my supporters group has been working with for over three years. Every May, they host the ATL Champions League, where co-ed teams play 7v7 games in a round-robin tournament.

This year was the largest yet, with 16 teams (all named after actual European teams from EPL, La Liga and Serie A, except for the ATLUTD team). This year’s tournament was held at the ATLUTD training center. For the third year, Terminus Legion attended the tournament to support the ATLUTD team composed of front office staff – including club president Darren Eales and technical director Carlos Bocanegra. TL brings water, Gatorade, and orange slices (because you can’t have a soccer tournament without orange slices, right?!).

The ATLUTD team were defending the trophy they won in 2016 and went undefeated through the first round and semi-finals, but lost in the final game 1-0 vs the Manchester United team (who were wearing green jerseys because several of the Soccer in the Streets board members are Liverpool fans).

The total amount raised by the players and teams was over $130,000. Terminus Legion raised $1200 with raffles at watch parties and donation buckets at tailgates for the last two months, and a footgolf tournament.

We’ll be at it again in a couple of months to raise more money for the Black Tie Soccer Game, which is usually hilarious. People in gowns and tuxedos playing soccer (or Carlos Bocanegra in a kilt!), or like last year, when the event fell the weekend before Halloween and each team had a theme (Smurfs, the Addams Family – Darren Eales was Gomez).

It really was a great weekend. Looking forward to doing it again this weekend!

Featured image courtesy: atlutd.com

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ATL on the Rise

Official Atlanta United FC Reporter

By Robyn Saghini @robynsaghini

Saturday, March 18: 4-0 Win

Atlanta United’s second ever home game was even better than their very first game in MLS for a few reasons. First, ATL won 4-0 in front of another sellout crowd – and over 100,000 people have attended the first two home games. Second, the stadium crew had a slightly better handle on conditions in the building and it was a much better experience, at least from my perspective. Third, the vibe in the stadium was, as I’ve seen many times in the last 24 hours, electric.

Atlanta United got their first shutout and potential MLS Golden Boot winner (yep, I’m going there) Josef Martinez added another two goals to his tally. Martinez now has five goals and leads the league. His goals yesterday were spectacular.

The first came in the 60th minute when Miguel Almirón squeaked a pass through the gap that Martinez had left between Chicago Fire’s central defenders. Martinez took two touches, one drifting just far enough to his left to get around Jorge Bava, and it was in the back of the net.

His second goal in the 82nd minute saw him once again splitting the central defenders, this time with a pass from Yamil Asad. Martinez took one touch to get around Bava and then took a shot from a seemingly impossible angle.

The first goal of the game was an own goal for Chicago. MLS Rookie Julian Gressel nabbed a pass from Hector Villalba at the edge of the box and played a cross in front of the goal that was deflected in by Chicago’s Brandon Vincent.

The third goal was my personal favorite because it was my favorite player, Hector “Tito” Villalba who scored in the 67th minute to officially open his MLS account. Greg Garza sent a pass up to Martinez, but it was deflected by a Chicago defender and dropped right at Tito’s feet. After one touch to get in place, Tito launched that ball off his left foot right through Bava’s outstretched hands and into the back of the net. I’m not sure I’ve ever cheered as loud as I did at that moment.

While most of the crowd was busy celebrating the Goal-a-Palooza in the stands, others standing in line at the concession stands said that the lines were so much better this time around. At the home opener, there were not enough concession stands open and what was open was slow. I got in line for a hot dog and a bottle of water about 30 minutes before the game started and gave up about 25 minutes in. I left some money with a friend of mine in line and went back to watch the pre-game ceremonial stuff. The friend I left in line finally came by to hand me my food AFTER Atlanta’s goal (which was around the 25th minute of the game). She also nearly got in the middle of a fight in line. To say this week’s experience was an improvement would be a huge understatement.

There’s no doubt that the improved concessions in the stadium helped the mood of the crowd – maybe not as much as those four goals did, but nonetheless, the crowd was really into this game. The capos in the supporters section kept the chants simple and the sections were loud enough to get the rest of the stadium going. The A-T-L thunderclap and the “Atlanta! United!” call and response were SO LOUD. In person it was amazing to see the crowd coming together like that. When I watched videos last night of the chanting and watched the game again this morning, I may have shed a tear of joy. My friend Jason Longshore of Dirty South Soccer said it best in his Daily Dirt sub-heading today: “Atlanta United’s supporters earn an assist yesterday.”

As of 9:30pm ET on Sunday, Atlanta United are at the top of the Eastern Conference. ATL is also leading the league in goals scored with 11 and are currently in third place for the Supporters Shield. If anyone had asked me a month ago where I thought ATL would be in the standings three weeks in, I don’t think I could have predicted this.

Our next MLS game at Seattle on 3/31 will be a huge test. Three of the four ATLUTD players (Almiron [Paraguay], Martinez [Venezuela], Jones [Trinidad & Tobago], and Carmona [Chile]) that have been called up to their national teams this week are starters. How will the international break affect the team, especially against the defending MLS champions? Sure, we beat them 4-2 in preseason, but the Seattle Sounders played all of their bench and trial players. A few of their starters got subbed in late in the game, but we didn’t really get a sense of how ATL would fare against the Seattle starters.

Only time will tell, but I will be biting my nails off at a bar with my Terminus Legion family in 12 days anxiously watching the Five Stripes (not sure I’m in on this nickname yet, but I had to try it) take on Dempsey, JMO and that Seattle crowd.

Featured image courtesy: atlutd.com

Follow and chat with me on twitter: @robynsaghini

Subscribe + get caught up: Weekly Dispatch 2017

Atlanta United Inaugural Season Opener

Official Atlanta United FC Reporter

By Robyn Saghini @robynsaghini

Almost 24 hours later, I’m still trying to process everything that happened Sunday. So much happened during the day that I almost don’t even remember the actual game itself at all. Fortunately, I remembered to record it so I’ve got it playing in the background while I write this.

I was so excited and anxious about opening day that I had to take some sleep aids on Saturday night to make sure I got some sleep. And then I woke up at 5am and forced myself to go back to sleep for a little longer. I woke up about every half hour after that until I finally gave up and got out of bed.

As I went through my morning routine, my head was filled with how I wanted this day to play out. As a member of leadership for Terminus Legion, the tailgate planning took over my week. Food trucks, games, beer, parking spaces…the list goes on. I arrived at the tailgate around 11:30am and paced for about an hour until the food trucks arrived to set up. Once everything was in place, I got to walk around and talk to people. And there were SO MANY PEOPLE. All four of the ATLUTD supporters groups were tailgating in the same lot, and combined, we have well over 1000 members, but there had to be 4000-5000 people in that parking lot. It was elbow to elbow and lines everywhere. Everyone was having a great time, though – I didn’t even hear any complaints when our kegs were tapped!

Me and Susannah Collins from the MLS Digital Team

During my tailgate tour, I saw the MLS video crew walking around and tapped Susannah Collins on the shoulder to tell her I was her boss’ sister. Once the crew heard that, they were all too excited to get me on the live show, where Susannah and I played a round of Giant Jenga, so that was fun. I also did a quick Facebook live video interview with Doug Roberson of the AJC and leaders of the other supporters groups.

Seven hours after arriving at the tailgate, I finally walked through the 3rd Street tunnel to Bobby Dodd Stadium. I walked over to the Golden Spike and signed it. Walking up the stairs to the supporters section is when the goosebumps came. Standing in the supporters section and watching the players – OUR players – walk out for practice was when the noise really started. But it wasn’t until right at the end of the National Anthem that my eyes started to water. And then the whistle blew and it was game on!

I missed quite a bit of the first half due to the fact that I couldn’t find a spot within any of the sections and I walked back and forth looking for someplace to settle. I did, however, catch the first ever MLS goal (that counts – I saw plenty in preseason) for Atlanta United FC. In the 25th minute, Ty Mears lobbed a cross to the far corner of the 6-yard box and Yamil Asad slid in to push the ball into the goal. The noise at that moment was absolutely deafening. Everyone was jumping and screaming and hi-fiving. It was such an amazing moment.

The crowd outside before the game courtesy: Robyn Saghini

ATL did have one additional chance late in the first half. Greg Garza passed to Josef Martinez, who shot it right at Luis Robles for a save. The second half saw a few more chances for ATL, but it was the New York Red Bulls who ended up with two goals to take the win. Carlos Carmona was shown a straight red card late in the second half after a rather deliberate and unprofessional foul.

Despite the loss, I walked out of the stadium with a smile on my face. I understand that the team has only been together for just over a month and they’re still working on getting their rhythm and that it will take a little time. I get that the majority of this team doesn’t have any MLS experience and may not have even watched a single MLS game before this weekend. Eventually, all of that will come together and the wins will come.

But 24 hours later, I’m still smiling because the moment I’ve waited for has finally arrived. Atlanta United is here. My team is here. And we’re not going anywhere. #UniteAndConquer

Featured KICKOFF image courtesy: Robyn Saghini

Come chat with me on twitter: @robynsaghini

Soccer Is In My Blood

Official Atlanta United FC Reporter
Official Atlanta United FC Reporter

By Robyn Saghini @robynsaghini

Hi there! My name is Robyn Saghini and I am an MLSFemale Official Reporter for Atlanta United FC. My love for soccer is in my blood. My dad grew up in Argentina and passed his love for the sport to me and my brother. I was on a team for one season when I was six years old, but I wasn’t very interested in playing. My brother started playing when he was four and never looked back, which meant I got dragged to games and tournaments all the time.

I grew up in New Jersey, so we were MetroStars (and later NYRB) fans. When we moved to Atlanta, my dad and I would get together on weekends and watch NYRB games when they were televised. For the last three years, I’ve been slowly backing away from NYRB and finally ended that relationship for good last October.

In 2011, Dad and I attended a pre-season MLS tournament just outside Atlanta. As we walked out of the stadium after the game, we were asked to sign a petition to bring an MLS team to Atlanta, which of course we did. A few years later, I saw a post about an MLS Cup Final watch party from the ATL Wants MLS Facebook page. Turns out the guy who started the petition was starting a supporters group for the new Atlanta MLS team he had heard some whispers about. I signed on immediately and became a co-founder of Terminus Legion, the first and largest supporters group for Atlanta United.

Over the last three and a half years, I’ve been working with TL and the Atlanta United front office to help spread the word about the team. I’ve spent hours on social media trying to convince whoever will listen that Atlanta is a soccer city.

With less than two weeks until the first regular season game for ATLUTD, there are almost 30,000 season tickets sold. Over 40,000 tickets have been sold for the home opener and it’s on track to be a sold out game. Once the tickets for the home opener at Mercedes Benz Stadium go on sale, I have no doubt they’ll sell out the entire stadium (over 70k seats).

Atlanta IS a soccer city. Atlanta United is our team. This is our time. #UniteAndConquer

Come chat with me on twitter: @robynsaghini