There's something special – and it's hard to quantify – about local connections in sport.
Regionally, it's perhaps why fans get so excited when the New England Revolution sign Homegrown Players. Casuals and diehards alike have a fleeting or direct connection to them. They've walked in their shoes to some degree.
Played youth soccer against Diego Fagundez (Leominster, Mass.) while he starred for the Boston Bolts? Check. Went to the same private school – Beaver Country Day – as Zachary Herivaux? Applies for some. Grew up in the same Providence, R.I., neighborhoods as Isaac Angking? At the very least, you've passed through.
A version of those local connections travelled over 1,000 miles south on Saturday night – the distance from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., to Mercedes Benz Stadium in Georgia's capital city – when Atlanta United hosted MLS Cup in just its second year in the league.