Atlanta United, champs of the East, one win away from ending the Curse of the 1996 Olympics

There’s a belief in Atlanta sports circles that the city has endured one athletic heartbreak after the next because those in charge of bringing the Olympics to the Capital of the South must have sacrificed something tremendous to land such a sporting event. They might have sold their souls and gave up decades of sports fortune, the story goes.

If such a Curse of the 1996 Olympics exists, it has been rather unkind to Atlanta over the last 22 years. The fans have endured seemingly nonstop disappointment on the field of play, starting with the Braves’ meltdown in the 1996 World Series.

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But with Atlanta United’s victory over the New York Red Bulls in the MLS Eastern Conference Finals, the city will get yet another chance to end the curse. We don’t yet know who the foe will be, but we know the Five Stripes will host the MLS Cup Finals on Dec. 8 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

In just the second year of existence, Atlanta United has earned its first conference title, and they did it by overcoming the best team in MLS history, at least in terms of points earned. It was a tall task, but after a decisive 3-0 victory in the first leg of the conference finals, the writing was on the wall.

Weird things can happen in a 90-minute match to decide a championship, but one thing is for certain: Atlanta United will be the favorite, no matter which side they face from the West. And in just their second year, Atlanta newest professional team has a very good chance to end a very long drought.

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