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Report: Major League Soccer coming to Atlanta

Apr 6, 2014, 4:24 PM EDT

We told you in early February that the 23rd MLS franchise was Atlanta’s to lose, and apparently they play well with the lead, as Arthur Blank is reportedly being granted his long-held wish to own a Major League Soccer franchise.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that Georgia is getting an MLS team.

An announcement is scheduled for April 16 in Atlanta, a person with knowledge of the situation said Sunday. The Atlanta team would become the 22nd franchise in MLS and would open play in 2017, which is also when the new $1 billion downtown stadium is scheduled to open.

Here’s the MLS response to AJC’s query:

“A Major League Soccer official issued this statement on Sunday: “We are continuing discussions with Arthur Blank to bring a Major League Soccer expansion team to Atlanta; however, we have not finalized an agreement at this time.”

When the Falcons released their plans for a $1 billion stadium, it included goals for hosting World Cup matches and some images of the palace in soccer mode, such as this:

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