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The Five Stripes could be staring at another record

Jarrett Smith
July 10, 2018 - 6:41 pm

Atlanta United went through something last Wednesday that every team goes through. They got gut punched twice in less than 200 seconds and dropped all three points on the road against Dallas.

It was a tough loss away from home, which is a feeling Atlanta fans have not had to deal with in weeks.

Saturday night, Atlanta bounced right back and picked up all three points in a convincing 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union, restoring order to Atlanta’s 2018 universe and pushing their road record to 6-2-2.

The Five Stripes have been on a blistering pace away from Mercedes Benz Stadium this season and even with the dropped points in Dallas Wednesday night they are sitting with 20 points after 10 matches on the road.

Winning on the road in MLS is notoriously difficult to do. The travel is some of the most consistently difficult in the world. In fact, since the 2014 season only three teams have ended the year with a winning record away from home. Atlanta has a real chance to not only become the fourth team, but to break the record for road points in the post-shootout era.

We have to qualify the era because back in the early days of MLS, ties were settled by shootouts where the attacking player would start 35 yards away from goal and have five seconds to get a shot away in a breakaway situation. It is absolutely as amazing as it sounds. Since there were no draws the 1998 Los Angeles Galaxy and 1999 D.C. United teams both posted 39 points away from home, a mark that will probably never be equaled in modern day MLS.

The current record for points in a season on the road is 32, set by the Seattle Sounders in 2011 when they went 9-3-5. Toronto FC’s 2017 team – considered by many to be the best of all time – bagged 27 points.​

Atlanta drew a favorable schedule in 2018, with their longest trips to clubs that have not been able to put it together this season. With the Five Stripes needing just 12 points to match the record it certainly seems doable. Even if they fail to break the record in 2018, Atlanta is doing more than enough work on the road to make their lives in the playoffs easier.

Atlanta’s  away schedule the rest of the way is as follows:

Montreal, Orlando, D.C., Colorado, San Jose, Red Bulls and Toronto.

Four teams have reached 30 points since the death of the shootout era and three of those teams won the Supporters’ Shield. None of those teams lifted MLS Cup at the end of the season, however.

If Atlanta manages to reach that 30 point barrier on the road it feels safe to pencil them in for Supporters Shield. From there, it will be all about aiming at more historic firsts.