MLS announces Atlanta as 2018 All-Star Game host

Atlanta United’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium will host the 2018 MLS All-Star Game, the league announced Monday.

The expansion franchise set an MLS record by averaging 48,200 fans per game this season, with matches played at Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium before the club debuted at the newly opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium last month. United also broke the league’s attendance record for a standalone match Sunday, drawing 71,874 for a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC.

MLS commissioner Don Garber made the announcement Monday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium alongside Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and United owner Arthur Blank. Goal reported last week that Atlanta had been chosen to host the All-Star Game.

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“We’re proud to bring our 2018 All-Star Game to Atlanta, a city and club that have taken Major League Soccer by storm,” Garber said in a news release. “Atlanta United’s success is one of the most compelling and impressive expansion team launches in the history of pro sports, and a testament to Arthur Blank’s vision and leadership, and the tremendous team that he has built both on and off the field. Atlanta and its supporters have earned the opportunity to host MLS All-Star week and showcase their passion for the beautiful game.”

Atlanta coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino will manage the MLS All-Star squad against a foreign club, with the opponent and date yet to be announced. The All-Stars fell to Real Madrid on penalties after a 1-1 draw in Chicago this past summer, with Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Bayern Munich among the opponents in previous years.

“We are honored to host the 2018 MLS All-Star Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium,” Blank said. “The Atlanta United supporters and fans of the game from across Atlanta are incredibly dynamic and passionate — they will certainly play a huge role in making this a memorable MLS All-Star Game for the league and a special showcase for our great city and stadium.”

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