Each Wednesday, Jay Riddle joins the show to deliver his signature segment "5 Things I Learned". Here's today's edition...
1. Gresselmania has been freed from his pizza prison. No, Julien Gressel was not put in a jail cell made out of pizza. That would be both delicious and easy to escape from. However, we did learn on the Soccer Cooligans podcast last week that his girlfriend is not a fan of pizza, and as a symptom, Julien had not been able to enjoy a slice since his arrival in Atlanta. This put Twitter on high alert, and I called on the Atlanta United Twitterverse to show their solidarity with him by tweeting pictures of pizza to him using the hashtag #FreeGressel🍕. I'm happy to report that on Sunday at 9:21pm, Julien tweeted a picture of himself,his girlfriend, and a pizza. Well done everyone. Now we just need to quell the anti-rocket lettuce on pizza furvor, improve italian meats knowledge levels such as confusion over pancetta vs Prosciutto, and cure Brittany Arnold of her assertion that deep dish is a type of pizza.
3. ATL is the capital of the South. No really. Rob Stone of Fox Sports tweeted precisely those words just 16 minutes into the match on Saturday, sending Orlando fan Twitter into a tail spin. Atlanta United is still undefeated against our purple rivals, and all the swamp salt in the world can't change the fact that Orlando Ain't The South. Just ask the two Orlando City fans at the tailgate who asked to take a picture with my "Orlando Ain't The South" 2 pole. They agreed and called reports from Orlando residents tweeting otherwise "Fake News". It's time for Orlando Twitter to stop spreading falicies and just enjoy Kaka's occasional flash of class while they still can and pray Dom returns to his 2014 form or the the only thing that will make them close to being Southern is being South of the playoff line.
4. Bobby Dodd became a fortress, but can it be replicated at Mercedes Benz? After remaining undefeated at home in the last 7 home matches, Atlanta United will be looking to replicate that form at their opening match in MBS against FC Dallas on September 10th. 8 of their next 13 remaining matches are against Eastern Conference opponents, so it's paramount that Atlanta United find away to maintain their current form at home. However, Darren Eales seems confident that the stadium design, and quicker beer lines will mean our supporter's noise levels will quadruple when compared with the atmosphere at Bobby Dodd. If accurate, this could make it difficult for the opposition to communicate effectively with one another during matches, but could also mean an adjustment period for our own squad.
5. When we say goodbye to Bobby Dodd, we also say goodbye to the Varsity tailgate experience and 3rd Street tunnel march. Tailgating at The Gulch near the Mercedes Benz Stadium will no doubt be a different experience. Sources tell me that the front office will be revealing details of the new tailgating logistics to the supporters groups in the coming days. If anything it should provide even more space, which could mean even larger attendance numbers. And that's a good thing for a number of reasons. Our supporters groups do a lot beyond making tifos, chanting, and waving flags. Whether it's raising money directly through tailgate attendance and watch party raffles, or doing local community service outside of game day - our SGs do a lot. Delta 17 likes to spread the love around and has done work for a number of different charities, Resurgence has been a dedicated partner and fundraiser for New American Pathways, Terminus Legion are long time supporters of Soccer In The Streets and just donated $400 to their recent ATL Nations Cup event and they will also be volunteering with Habitat for Humanity on August 12th. Footie Mob works closely with Creature Comforts and makes financial contributions to their “Get Comfortable” charity that helps the homeless and hungry in Athens, and at an individual contributor level, one Footie Mobber, Darian Sinclair has raised more than $1900 for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation to help find cures. The Faction is a big supporter of the Fugees Family in Clarkston, GA having raised $2017 for them at the last Bobby Dodd tailgate; bringing their total to over $10,000 donated to The Fugees so far this season. So if you've been looking to join a Supporters Group and ever wondered what the membership fees or tailgate tickets are about, please remember that these groups are giving back in ways that are often unseen or heard of as loudly as their support of the team on match days.