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:
Burnley vs. Sunderland — 2:45 p.m. ET
AFC Wimbledon vs. Sutton United — 2:45 p.m. ET
Barnsley vs. Blackpool — 2:45 p.m. ET
Fleetwood Town vs. Bristol City — 2:45 p.m. ET Crystal Palace vs. Bolton — 3 p.m. ET
Lincoln City vs. Ipswich Town — 3:05 p.m. ET
O’Reilly, 32, could return to FC Kansas City after the FAWSL Spring Season. Arsenal holds English internationals Alex Scott and Kelly Smith, as well as former WNY Flash assistant coach Pedro Martinez Losa in the manager’s chair.
Heather O'Reilly joins Arsenal,tells me:"I want to help soccer in the US-I’m doing this to be a better ambassador"@JeffKassouf@espnW#NWSL
Robben has been with the club for almost eight years, joining from Real Madrid in 2009.
He has scored 82 goals in 152 Bundesliga matches, 14 goals in 23 German Cup games and 21 goals in 53 Champions League matches, including the winning goal against Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 Champions League final.