- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 16, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - Major League Soccer and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed plan a “major announcement” Wednesday on a proposed expansion team to play in Atlanta’s new downtown stadium.

Blank has long coveted a top-level soccer team for the city, and negotiations with the MLS intensified after he reached a deal on building a new $1 billion retractable roof stadium next to the Georgia Dome. Site preparation has already started, and the facility is expected to open in 2017.

Both the MLS and a top official from Blank’s organization acknowledged last week that the two sides were close to a deal.

Blank, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and the mayor are scheduled to attend the 5 p.m. news conference.

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