- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 11, 2017

ATLANTA (AP) - Atlanta United President Darren Eales said Tuesday construction on Mercedes Benz Stadium remains on schedule for the MLS team to play the first game in the facility on July 30.

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

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

“There’s always an issue with a roof that is that complicated and large,” Blank said. “It’s not an issue, it’s just the complexity. A roof like that has never been built in the world, and when you build something that iconic and unique, it does take more time, more schedule, it’s more money and more everything, but the end product for the next 40 years in Atlanta is going to be worth it.”

Blank also owns the NFL Atlanta Falcons, who will share the facility with Atlanta United.

The Falcons said last week they expected an update on the timeline for the stadium within a few days.

Blank, Eales and MLS Commissioner Dan Garber on Tuesday celebrated the unveiling of Atlanta United’s training complex in suburban Cobb County.

Garber said in a ceremony at the training facility the MLS “can’t wait to get into Mercedes Benz Stadium in September.” He said later he misspoke when he said September.

“We are still focused to getting in as planned,” Garber said of Atlanta United’s July 30 home game against Orlando City scheduled for the new stadium. “The goal is to be into the stadium in late summer, so don’t read too much into my comments about September. Chalk it up to the commissioner getting too excited up on the podium.”

Atlanta United’s temporary home facility is Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium.

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