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.
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:
Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola get a tactical rubber match with plenty on the line when Manchester United and Manchester City meet at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
Fourth-place City enters the day one point ahead of United, and both trail Liverpool but have played two less matches.
In case you’ve forgotten, here are the other two meetings between Guardiola and Mourinho this season:
Iheanacho, De Bruyne lead City’s 2-1 win in September. Zlatan Ibrahimovic made it interesting by pulling back a goal, but Pep Guardiola’s bunch fired the first shots of the season’s derbies with a win at Old Trafford.
It was the same venue six weeks later, when Juan Mata‘s 54th minute goal was the only marker as United knocked Manchester City out en route to its EFL Cup title.
City keeper Claudio Bravo on Guardiola’s City: “Our team plays differently to the rest of the teams, but at the same time it’s not easy. We are still in a stage of construction, keep improving and keep growing day by day. I think all the experiences we have got this season are going to help us a lot to grow in the future and get closer to trophies”
United is without two of the most influential players in the world, and on the road. Those obstacles are a lot to overcome, and United will have to overload the midfield — maybe with both Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick — and use a classic Mourinho parking of the bus to get a result. But Marcus Rashford can be a menace on the counter, and just may find his way past Bravo. City 2-1.
The Crystal Palace manager is disappointed in referee Jon Moss after the head official failed to give Victor Wanyama a second yellow card following a tackle on Andros Townsend in the first half of Spurs’ 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Wednesday.
Sitting on yellow for a foul on Luka Milivojevic, Wanyama slid late on Townsend. The midfielder certainly made sure it looked worse than it was, but even without the tomfoolery it could’ve been a yellow.
Moss instead gave Wanyama a talking-to, and Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino subbed the fiery midfielder at halftime. Allardyce isn’t too happy, as a dismissal may have given his side a chance at adding Spurs to its list of defeated Top Four candidates.
“The second challenge was the worst. Mauricio was very clever to sub him at half time. I think the referee made the wrong decision, I don’t think he was brave enough.”
Woah. That merits a punishment for someone like Jose Mourinho, so let’s see if the FA sends a fine Allardyce’s way. To be fair to Big Sam, we wouldn’t have been surprised to see that second yellow.
Yet it wouldn’t take that much “bravery” to send Wanyama off at Selhurst Park as opposed to, say, White Hart Lane. For what it’s worth, Moss has sent off three players this season and one of them was Granit Xhaka at home for Arsenal against Swansea.