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:
“After Guardiola said he was coming to England it was my decision [to go public] because all the media was talking about Guardiola here, Guardiola in Arsenal, Guardiola in Manchester United,” he told The Guardian.
“It was not fair for all managers – when everyone knew he was coming here. If I ask if I would do that again… I have some doubts.”
Pellegrini said the announcement didn’t make it difficult for him, but for his players.
The Argentine also said he’ll wait for an interesting job to come calling, and that he could be done managing forever if such an opportunity doesn’t present itself. That said, we think he’ll find a job that’s to his liking given this comment:
“Of course, I would miss it. The challenge keeps me alive.”
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup hits the third round on Wednesday, with NASL teams entering the fray and at least one fourth-tier or lower side guaranteed to advance to face MLS competition.
The USASA had three teams win second round matches, and two will face each other on Wednesday. The L.A. Wolves knocked off the USL’s Orange County Blues, while L Maquina FC handed the NPSL’s Sacramento Gold an ouster. They will tangle for the right to a high-profile match-up with the L.A. Galaxy.
We’ll also see NASL vs. USL geographical rivalries when Carolina faces Charlotte and Rayo OKC meets Oklahoma City.
Wednesday’s third round matches Chattanooga FC (NPSL) vs. Harrisburg City Islanders (USL)
Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) vs. Richmond Kickers (USL)
Jacksonville Armada (NASL) vs. Charleston Battery (USL)
New York Cosmos (NASL) vs. Jersey Express (PDL)
Carolina RailHawks (NASL) vs. Charlotte Independence (USL)
Miami FC (NASL) vs. Wilmington Hammerheads (USL)
Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) vs FC Cincinnati (USL)
Rochester Rhinos (USL) vs. Lansdowne Bhoys FC (USASA)
Indy Eleven (NASL) vs. Louisville City FC (USL)
Saint Louis FC (USL) vs. Minnesota United (NASL)
Rayo OKC (NASL) vs Oklahoma City Energy (USL)
Des Moines Menace (PD) vs. San Antonio FC (USL)
Arizona United (USL) vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL)
La Maquina (USASA) vs. L.A. Wolves (USASA)
Kitsap Pumas (PDL) vs. Sacramento Republic (USL)
Mata, 28, has been a consistent performer for United, but will his reunion with Mourinho be short-lived? It’s easy to imagine both as ready to move on and Barcelona could be an option if that happens.
Mundo Deportivo says Barcelona could make a bid of close to $40 million in order to help the midfield continue to tick. Mata was a key part of United’s possession-based approach under Louis Van Gaal, and as a player really does fit the bill of a Mourinho-minded mid.
We’re just hoping that if Mata moves, he doesn’t switch anywhere that would change his English language blog posts.