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MLS All-Stars to face Juventus in 2018

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For the first time, Juventus will be taking on Major League Soccer’s best in the MLS All-Star Game.

MLS announced on Thursday that the six-time defending Italian champions will take on the MLS All-Stars in Atlanta United’s Mercedez-Benz Stadium on August 1, 2018. Juventus will be the second Italian club to play in the MLS All-Star Game, following AS Roma’s appearance in 2013.

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Since MLS adapted its all-stars vs. foreign club format in 2002 (with a brief return to the old East vs. West format in 2004), MLS has gone 9-6. Last year the MLS All-Stars lost 4-2 on penalty kicks to Real Madrid in Chicago’s Soldier Field.

Atlanta’s new MLS team will begin play at Bobby Dodd Stadium

Source: Atlanta United
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ATLANTA (AP) After initially planning to spend its first three months on the road, Atlanta United will play some home games after all.

The MLS expansion team announced Wednesday that it will use Georgia Tech’s 55,000-seat Bobby Dodd Stadium as a temporary home until its new retractable-roof stadium opens next summer.

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Atlanta United president Darrel Eales said the decision was sparked by strong fan interest – the team has sold more than 22,000 season tickets – and the desire to have a competitive team right from the start.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium was supposed to be ready for the start of the 2017 season, but construction delays pushed back its opening to at least June 1. It should be ready in time for its primary tenant, the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.

The MLS schedule is expected to be unveiled in January.

Atlanta MLS franchise to be called Atlanta United FC

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UPDATE: Club president Darren Eales confirmed the name to MLSsoccer.com

Atlanta’s Major League Soccer franchise isn’t schedule to enter the league until the 2017 season, but it’s just about time for the team owned by Home Depot co-founder and Atlanta Falcons (MLS) owner Arthur Blank to enter the “unveiling our identity/brand” phase of the build-up to their debut MLS season.

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On Thursday, a report by SI‘s Brian Straus shed the first bit of light on just what that identity will sound and look like. According to Straus’ report, the Atlanta MLS franchise will, unfortunately, be called Atlanta United FC.

What’s with the “unfortunately,” you ask?

First things first, it’s generic, lame and woefully overdone throughout the soccer world — particularly in the UK, which despite what many would have you believe, isn’t the end-all, be-all for soccer history, culture and quality. On a related note, what, exactly, is Atlanta United…uniting? Unless they’re merging with the NALS’s Atlanta Silverbacks (highly unlikely), it’s nothing more than a grab at relevance and relation to something — anything — in this vast soccer world.

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I’m painfully aware that the explanation from Blank and Co. will be “Atlanta United will unite this city under this team” when the name is made official next month. With more than a year to get the club’s identity and “brand” right, MLS’s third United (D.C. and Minnesota) is what they came up with.

For the record, most (if not all) of Twitter is in agreement with the above opinions.

In the end, does a club’s name really matter? Of course not, because we’ll all end up calling them “Atlanta” in everyday conversation. As long as the fans show up to support the team, and the product on the field is good, that’s what they should/will be judged on. But for now, while no team exists with games to be played, all we have is a name to discuss, dissect and destroy.

The club’s name will be formally introduced on July 7, along with a logo that is “thought to feature a prominent ‘A’ and the club’s red, yellow/gold and black colors.”

Advice to David Beckham: Miami United FC — because we all know it’s been considered at some point — should be shelved immediately.

MLS Atlanta makes shrewd hire, bringing in Carlos Bocanegra as technical director

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The yet unnamed MLS Atlanta club now has a technical director, as the club has hired former USMNT captain Carlos Bocanegra.

It’s a good move for the young club, which gains a respected and connected man. The 35-year-old defender has played admirably in Scotland, England, France and Spain in addition to Major League Soccer stints with Chicago Fire and Chivas USA.

[ MLS RUMORS: Balotelli to Orlando | Van der Vaert to KC ]

Bocanegra will work with MLS Atlanta president Darren Eales, who has worked with Premier League clubs West Bromwich Albion and Tottenham Hotspur.

From MLSAtlanta2017.com:

In his role as technical director, Bocanegra, together with Eales, will oversee day-to-day non-coaching soccer operations of the first team, including development and implementation of a worldwide scouting network and oversight of player wellness and rehabilitation. In addition, he will oversee youth academy programs and serve as a liaison with MLS league officials on player regulations and other league rules.

“I feel very fortunate to have played the game of soccer professionally for so many years and am excited to be part of something special here in Atlanta,” said Bocanegra. “I’ve always wanted to stay involved with soccer at the top level, and to have that opportunity with MLS Atlanta is a great way to start this next chapter. I’m a competitor and I look forward to bringing that drive and passion into everything I do here in Atlanta.”

The 110-times capped defender scored 14 goals for the Yanks. The fighting Bocas begin play in 2017.

MLS Atlanta urges David Beckham, Miami to share stadium with Dolphins

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David Beckham, listen up. The man behind Atlanta’s Major League Soccer franchise has some advice for you…

Get yourself in cahoots with an NFL franchise.

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That’s the message from Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who is funding ATL’s expansion franchise which will join MLS in 2017.

Blank will house Georgia’s first MLS franchise in the new NFL home of the Falcons, which is schedule to be finished next year, with special partition roofing providing a more intimate atmosphere for soccer games to reduce the 65,000 capacity stadium to around 30,000.

With Beckham and his ownership group still struggling to hammer out a stadium deal for his new franchise in Miami, Blank dished out some advice to Becks as he’s (Miami Beckham United) had various plans for a downtown stadium denied by the council members.

The Falcons owner is currently in London ahead of his teams match on Sunday against the Detroit Lions at Wembley, and here’s what Blank had to say when asked if Beckham’s team should stadium share with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and the University of Miami’s American Football team.

“Yes,” Blank told reporters. “It’s a challenge Beckham has to overcome. It’s important he finds a balance between the commercial side and the special, emotional atmosphere you want for a soccer stadium.”

Is Sun Life Stadium a good option for the new MLS franchise in Miami? Eh, so, so.

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We have seen the stadium packed at 71,00 capacity for recent international friendlies between Colombia and Brazil, plus plenty of other one-off soccer games but one has to remember the pretty poor crowd of under 50,000 who turned up for Manchester United vs. Liverpool in the Guinness International Champions Cup final back in August. Okay, that match was played on a Monday night in Miami, it was a preseason friendly tournament and it was raining, but you would have expected a better crowd than that.

Anyway, what do you reckon Becks? Good idea? How about you folks, Sun Life and FIU Stadium seem like the best options left on the table, right?