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MLS Cup guide: What to know before kickoff at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta

The 2018 Major League Soccer champion will be decided this weekend when Atlanta United hosts the Portland Timbers to battle for MLS Cup. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:08 p.m. ET Saturday in 71,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The two teams arrived in Atlanta earlier this week and begin training sessions Thursday. The first set of training sessions will be at Atlanta United’s training facility in Marietta, Ga., while Friday’s sessions will be at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Full coverage of both teams will begin Thursday at ProSoccerUSA.com, and below is a schedule of events and everything you need to know before the match.

How to watch, listen

Those watching the match at home see it on Fox and UniMás. The match will be live-streamed on Fox Sports GO. In Canada, MLS Cup will be on TSN and TVAS, and for broadcast information in other countries you can check this list.

Coverage on Fox begins at 7:30 p.m. ET. Rob Stone will host field-level studio coverage. The network is using 26 cameras to broadcast the match, including new corner-flag cameras that were announced Tuesday. Alexi Lalas and Maurice Edu will provide analysis, and John Strong, Stu Holden and Katie Witham will call the match.

You can also listen to the match on the radio at 92.9 The Game and La Mejor Atlanta.

If you have a busy Saturday scheduled and are worried about forgetting to tune in, receive a reminder for the game by liking or retweeting this:

The stadium

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is home to both the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL and the Five Stripes. This season, Atlanta United set a new MLS record for total home attendance, with an announced 901,033 fans in attendance over 17 home matches. Mercedes-Benz Stadium was also the home of the 2017 MLS All-Star Game — a record crowd of 72,317 came out to watch that match. 

The stadium has a clear bag policy for any type of bag exceeding 4.5 x 6.5 inches in size. There is a bag valet available at Gates 1, 2, 4 and the North Premium Seating entry on field level for a cash-only fee for any bags that are not in compliance, according to the club’s website. Gates will open 1.5 to 2 hours before the match.

There is a chance of rain Saturday, according to Weather.com, so note that “large umbrellas” are among the items prohibited in the stadium. See the full list here. Temperatures are expected to range from a high of 41 degrees to a low of 36, but Mercedes-Benz has a retractable roof so will be temperature controlled.

 

Sep 10, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta United fans march to Mercedes-Benz Stadium prior to the game against FC Dallas. (Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports)

How to get there

Parking: Mercedes-Benz Stadium is located at 1 AMB Drive Northwest. The stadium has a host of parking lots available with prices ranging from $12.30 to $68.80. The club recommends using the Waze app to get to a specific lot. Parking lots open 4-5 hours before each match.

Tailgating is allowed in all flat parking lots and is prohibited in multi-level garages. When purchasing lots, look for the tailgating icon.

Note: Atlanta United’s website has an advisory as of Dec. 5: “The MLK Jr. Bridge, between Ted Turner Drive and Forsyth Street, will be closed for the upcoming match. Please take MARTA, grab a Lyft, or plan ahead if driving to the match.”

MARTA (routes provided by atlutd.com):

  • Southbound: Take the Red (Airport) or Gold (Airport) Lines to Five Points Station. Transfer for free onto either Westbound train: Blue (Hamilton E. Holmes) or Green (Bankhead). Exit at the GWCC/Philips Arena CNN Center Station and head up the escalator to Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
  • Northbound: Take the Red (North Springs) or Gold (Doraville) Lines to Five Points Station. Transfer for free onto the either Westbound train: Blue (Hamilton E. Holmes) or Green (Bankhead). Exit at the GWCC/Philips Arena/CNN Center Station and head up the escalator to Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
  • Eastbound: Take the Blue (Indian Creek) or Green (Edgewood/Candler Park) Lines to the Vine City Station or the GWCC/Philips Arena/CNN Center Station. Exit the train and head up the escalator to Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
  • Westbound: Take the Blue (Hamilton E. Holmes) or Green (Bankhead) to the GWCC/Philips Arena/CNN Center Station. Exit the train and head up the escalator to Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
  • See a route map here

Biking: There are 250 bike racks available for those who’d prefer to ride a bike to the stadium on match day. 

Lyft: Mercedes-Benz Stadium is partnered with Lyft and has two pickup/drop-off zones. The biggest one is accessible after exiting from Gate 1, inside the Blue Lot on Blue Lot on Northside Drive. The other zone is at the corner of Centennial Olympic Park Drive and Andrew Young International Boulevard. 

Stadium map:

(Courtesy of ATLUTD.com)

Where to sit (or stand)

The lowest-price tickets left on TicketMaster are 300-level seats for $187. Sitting anywhere in the 200 level will cost you at least $276. Most of the 100-level seats are at least that much, if not more. However, you can also snag standing-room only tickets for $167. 

The ticket office is located outside Gate 1.

Seating map:

(Courtesy of ATLUTD.com)

Can’t get to the stadium?

Atlanta United has a list of “Pub Partners” that air Atlanta United matches. Here’s the complete list: 

Full MLS Cup schedule

Thurs., Dec. 6

  • 10 a.m., Atlanta United Training followed by press conference
  • 1:30 p.m., Portland Timbers press conference followed by training
  • 3:15 p.m., MLS WORKS Community Service Event, unveiling of a mini pitch and renovated teen center at the James T. Anderson Boys & Girls Club.

Fri., Dec. 7

  • 10 a.m., Atlanta United training
  • Noon, Portland Timbers training
  • 3 p.m., State of the League Address by commissioner Don Garber

Sat., Dec. 8

  • 3-4 p.m., Parking lots open
  • 6-6:30 p.m., Gates open to public
  • 7:30 p.m., broadcast coverage begins on Fox
  • 8:08 p.m., MLS Cup kickoff schedule
  • Postgame ceremony to immediately follow match

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