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Atlanta Up Next For MLS Expansion?

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Move over David Beckham and Miami, Atlanta is joining first.

Kevin C. Cox

The MLS Expansion wheels are turning yet again. Philly.com is reporting that multiple sources are claiming that the Peach State capital is close to being awarded the next expansion bid MLS.

The announcement could come as early as next week on April 16. MLS threw some cold water on the rumors saying:

"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."

For months it has been speculated that Miami would be first in line, but MLS only made a promise of awarding them an expansion bid if David Beckham and his ownership group got a stadium plan in place.

Right now Arthur Blank, the potential owner of the Atlanta club, has his stadium plan in place to be complete by 2017. The MLS team in Atlanta would begin play in 2017 when the new stadium opens in downtown Atlanta. The new stadium in Atlanta will be for the Falcons but the stadium is built with soccer in mind. There will be a retractable roof and a covered upper deck similar to what the Vancouver Whitecaps use at BC Place.

Atlanta would likely become an Eastern Conference squad, which means for FC Dallas they would only face one another once a season. Atlanta is right around 800 miles from Dallas (depending on the route that your take), just a couple hundred more miles than Dallas to Kansas City.