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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Bob Bradley: Atlanta United's first-year success can't compare to 1998 Fire

Atlanta United opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium in dominant fashion, routing FC Dallas in front of more than 45,000 fans.

Bob Bradley has rejected the notion that Atlanta United is in the midst of the best-ever inaugural MLS season, saying no team can surpass his Chicago Fire side of 1998.

Atlanta is well placed to make the playoffs in its first season, with a three-point cushion, at least two games in hand and seven of its nine remaining games at home.

But Bradley, who will lead Los Angeles FC into its first season next year, said United have a long way to go to be compared to the Fire, whom he led to dual MLS and U.S Open Cup trophies in their debut campaign.

"Atlanta is doing very well. We won the double." Bradley told Soccer Today on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.

"So when you said we did very well, let's cut to the chase a little bit. We won the double.

"As good as Atlanta is doing this year, when there was a headline early in the year that this is the greatest expansion team of all time, somebody lost their mind."

Bob Bradley will take over another expansion team when he leads LAFC into MLS in 2018.

And Bradley said the "makeup" of his Fire squad -- with a trio of Poland internationals in midfield led by Piotr Nowak along with star Czech defender Lubos Kubik -- had led to his team being discounted.

"That Chicago team probably never got the credit it deserved because there were those people that didn't like the makeup of the team, or where certain guys came from," he added.

"But inside the league, if you talk to players who played against those Chicago teams, I can assure you the level of respect was very, very high."

But Bradley also acknowledged that the success of Atlanta United had contributed to the pressure on LAFC next season.

"There is definitely pressure," he said. "Atlanta is part of it, but the pressure is this is because this is Los Angeles. This is a city that, when it comes to sports, understands winning.

"The expectation [is there] that we're going to build a team that competes from the beginning, that's exciting, that plays good football."

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