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Atlanta United

Mike Stewart / Associated Press

Several high-profile failures have plagued Atlanta's reputation on a national stage over the years: unpreparedness for ice and snow storms, a recent highway collapse and subsequent shutdown from a fire and chronic traffic and public transportation woes.

 

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Mercedes Benz Stadium under construction
Alison Guillory / WABE file

Workers are racing to complete Atlanta's new $1.5 billion stadium project in the next three months after ongoing roof issues have delayed the facility's opening.

 

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Mercedes-Benz Stadium general manager Scott Jenkins told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the building is 90 percent done, and "is looking great."

 

Todd Kirkland / associated press

Atlanta United President Darren Eales said Tuesday construction on Mercedes-Benz Stadium remains on schedule for the Major League Soccer team to play the first game in the facility on July 30.

"At this stage, it is still as planned," Eales said.

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Even so, Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank acknowledged the complex retractable roof on the $1.5 billion stadium has been a challenge.

Todd Kirkland / associated press

The stands are packed with red-and-black-clad fans who chant incessantly, accompanied by a steady drumbeat and swirling flags.

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"Atlanta!" they shout from one end of Bobby Dodd Stadium.

 

"United!" everyone else responds.

 

There's plenty to cheer about with an expansion team that has already displayed a dynamic style of play, scoring 11 goals in its first three games.

 

City Lights: Atlanta United; Chocolate; And More

Mar 7, 2017
Courtesy of Atlanta United

Tuesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Todd Kirkland / Associated Press

Atlanta United said Monday it is "taking measures internally" to address an anti-gay chant used by some fans attending the team's first Major League Soccer match.

 

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United spokesman Chris Winkler said the team was aware of the chant during Sunday night's 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls. In a statement to The Associated Press, the team said the chants "have no place in our matches" and fans participating in those chants will be removed from games.

 

Todd Kirkland / Associated Press

Atlanta United had the lead and the sellout home crowd in its first match as an expansion team.

 

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The New York Red Bulls had the experience that made the difference in a second-half turnaround that included some unexpected help from Atlanta — a decisive own goal.

 

New York scored two second-half goals in a span of about 6 minutes and the Red Bulls rallied for a 2-1 victory over Atlanta on Sunday night.

 

John Bazemore / Associated Press

Atlanta United F.C. kicks off its first season of Major League Soccer on Sunday at Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium, with a match against the New York Red Bulls.

In the past, Atlanta has had not one, but two, teams in America’s top soccer leagues. Both were called the Chiefs – the first Chiefs even won a title – but both fizzled out. So what makes us think the sport will take off this time around in Atlanta?

Season ticket prices for 2017 range from $360 to $4050.
Courtesy of Atlanta United FC

Atlanta's new professional soccer team, Atlanta United, will likely play the first ten to 12 games of its first season on the road as it waits for the Mercedes-Benz Stadium to be completed.

Vice President of Business Operations of Atlanta United Ann Rodriguez said the team plans to play all of its home games next year in the new stadium and that it's not looking at other venues right now.

"We're looking at potentially opening on the road, playing the first 10-12 games on the road instead of the usual half home, half away," Rodriguez said. 

Marietta City Council approved the site plan to the Atlanta United soccer team for a practice facility. A previous deal with DeKalb County ended abruptly.
Branden Camp / Associated Press

Atlanta United FC can now move forward on building its new headquarters and six soccer fields in Marietta, Georgia.

It's part of an effort to make the city a soccer magnet.

Marietta City Council gave the professional soccer team, Atlanta United, final approval recently to build six practice fields and offices for its team and youth academy programs.

The team plans to spend $50 million to build the complex and has signed a 30-year lease. 

It will pay $1 per year for the first 10 years and $300,000 per year after that.

Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen / flickr.com/peterras

Mercedes-Benz has naming rights to the new Atlanta Falcons football and Atlanta United soccer stadium in Atlanta.

On Tuesday night, Mercedes-Benz asked Sandy Springs City Council members to rename a street where its new headquarters will be. 

It would like a section of Barfield Road between Abernathy Road NE and Mount Vernon Highway NE to be renamed to Mercedes-Benz Drive.

Donna Boland with Mercedes-Benz said it's part of the company's tradition of more than 40 years.

Its former headquarters is on Mercedes Drive in Montvale, New Jersey. 

Courtesy of Atlanta United FC

The Atlanta United Football Club is already breaking Major League Soccer records.

More than 26,000 fans paid deposits to secure season tickets. And it's for a team that doesn't start playing until March 2017. 

Sean Dennison, senior director for corporate communications with Major League Soccer, said the team with the second-highest season ticket deposits was the Seattle Sounders FC with about 15,000 deposits in 2009.

Rosalie, a dog up for adoption at Dekalb County Animal Services
Dekalb County Animal Services

If the Atlanta United Football Club builds its practice facilities in DeKalb County, one of the buildings set for demolition will be the county animal shelter.

There are plans for a new shelter near DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, but at least one county commissioner says it's unlikely it will be ready in time.

Commissioner Jeff Rader says the county will need to spend a lot more money than the $7 million budgeted for the new animal shelter.