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ATLANTA -- Major League Soccer is closing in on a deal with Falcons owner Arthur Blank to bring an expansion franchise to Atlantas new downtown stadium. The team would likely begin play in 2017, when the $1 billion retractable roof stadium is set to open next to the Georgia Dome to provide a new home for the NFL Falcons. "Our discussions with Major League Soccer continue, but we do not have a final agreement at this time," Kim Shreckengost, the chief administrative officer for Blanks AMB Group, said Tuesday in an email to The Associated Press. "We hope to complete the agreement soon, at which time we will make a formal announcement." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that a new team will be announced April 16. "We are continuing discussions with Arthur Blank to bring a Major League Soccer expansion team to Atlanta," said Dan Courtemanche, a spokesman for MLS. "However, we have not finalized an agreement at this time." The MLS has long coveted the Atlanta market, the largest in the U.S. without a team, as it moves toward its goal of expanding to 24 franchises. The 19-team league has already announced expansion franchises in New York City and Orlando that are scheduled to begin play next season, in addition to a provisional franchise in Miami owned by a group that includes David Beckham. That team is contingent on a deal for a new soccer-specific stadium in south Florida. There are no such concerns in Atlanta, where the Falcons new stadium was designed to accommodate an MLS team, providing Blank with additional revenue streams for the elaborate facility. While most MLS teams are moving toward smaller stadiums that are built solely for soccer, the Atlanta franchise would follow the model of teams in Seattle and Vancouver, which play in larger facilities downsized to provide a more intimate setting. For instance, Vancouvers BC Place has a curtain system that blocks off the upper deck, reducing capacity from 54,000 to 21,000. Atlantas new stadium will likely have a similar capability. Atlanta had two franchises in the old North American Soccer League. The Chiefs won the leagues first championship in 1968 but folded after the 1973 season, having spent their final year known as the Apollos. The Chiefs returned to the NASL in 1979 when the Colorado Caribous moved to Atlanta. That incarnation lasted only three seasons, never drawing as many as 8,000 fans a game before folding due to heavy financial losses. Atlanta has a team in a new version of the NASL, a league that ranks below MLS on the U.S. soccer ladder. The Silverbacks play at a 7,500-seat stadium on the outskirts of the city and are apparently not involved in talks on the MLS expansion team. Adidas Clarke MacArthur Jersey . Next years tournament is also within sight for Bosnia-Herzegovina, which has never played in a World Cup, but Cristiano Ronaldo looks destined for the playoffs with Portugal after a night when the qualifying picture in the nine groups became much clearer. Adidas Chris Driedger Jersey . Hes even holding a bat on one of his 2014 baseball cards. So far, hes playing like his picture. http://www.cheapsenatorsjerseys.com/?ta ... son-jersey. After falling 5-0 on home ice in a game that could have tied them for second in the wild card standings, Washington head coach Adam Oates had some strong words for Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin. Adidas Mark Stone Jersey . The team made the announcement after Saturdays 6-5 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. RHP Kenny Giles will be called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to fill Adams spot on the roster. Cheap Adidas Senators Jerseys . Bayern led second-place Leverkusen by 10 points with a game in hand, while Dortmund was another four points off the pace. Freiburg midfielder Felix Klaus scored in the last minute as his side twice came from behind to climb provisionally out of the relegation zone.ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas centre fielder Leonys Martin wound up being the star of a battle of top pitchers. Martin had a leadoff triple in the eighth that chased Seattle ace Felix Hernandez. An inning later, Martin singled in the winning run with two out as the Rangers scored two unearned runs off closer Fernando Rodney for a 3-2 win over the Mariners on Wednesday night. "He was in the middle of the first run by hitting the triple off Hernandez, who was outstanding tonight," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "And then he comes up in that situation against one of the best closers in the game. He just tried to put the ball in play, and it worked. Its good for him, its good for the team, and we can build on it." Rodney (0-1) retired the first two in the ninth before Kevin Kouzmanoffs single ricocheted off the glove of sliding shortstop Brad Miller and dribbled into the outfield. Mitch Moreland drew a walk before pinch-hitter Donnie Murphys grounder was fielded by Miller, whose toss to second base was high. The error allowed Moreland to slide in safely and extended the game. "It was hit right at me. It kind of ran up on me," Miller said. "I threw it too high. I saw it was too high off the get-go. Everybody did their part but me. Everybody played their butts off. Ive just got to make that play next time." Rodney then threw a wild pitch that allowed the tying run to score. Martins sharp single to left gave Texas its fourth victory in its final at-bat at home already this season. It was Rodneys first blown save in four chances. Pedro Figueroa (1-0) worked a perfect ninth for his first major league victory. Hernandez retired 10 in a row before Martins triple. He allowed four hits and one run, when Martin scored on a sacrifice fly against pinch-hitter Michael Choice, the first batter for reliever Charlie Furbush. "All of my pitches were working. I just made one mistake in the game," said Hernandez, who struck out nine. "That was that fastball to (Martin)." Texas ace Yu Darvish struck eight and walked two in seveen innings, but remains winless in his last eight home starts despite a 2.dddddddddddd33 ERA in those games. Darvish didnt allow a run in his first two starts of the season, but was down 2-0 in the second after No. 9 hitter Mike Zunino and Abraham Almonte had consecutive two-out RBI singles. "Youve got to give Seattle credit, they fought him pretty hard for their at-bats, they just wasnt going up there making outs," Washington said. "That was their two runs. ... He kept us in the game, he really did. Usually when you give Felix one or two runs, he know how to take it to the house, but we kept battling him and we finally got him out of the game and some good things happened." Martin also had a nifty running catch, reaching and lunging with his arm fully extended steps from the centre-field wall to rob Dustin Ackley of a hit in the sixth. But there was also a play in the fourth when Zunino reached on what was ruled a single after a ball dropped between Martin and left fielder Shin-Soo Choo, who were both calling for the ball but backed off to avoid a collision. That was the last of Seattles seven hits in the game. This was the third head-to-head matchup of the star pitchers, and the first since 2012, the same year Darvish came to the major leagues from Japan. Hernandez won the first two, and has given up only two runs over 24 innings (0.75 ERA) in the three games -- while Darvish has a 6.75 ERA (13 earned runs over 17 1-3 innings) opposing King Felix. NOTES: Nick Franklin, who had a one-out triple in the second before scoring Seattles first run, was recalled earlier Wednesday along with outfielder James Jones after left-hander Blake Beavan (shoulder tendinitis) and outfielder Logan Morrison (strained right hamstring) were put on the 15-day disabled list. ... The Mariners had to hold up momentarily before coming off the field at the end of the fourth when Washington came out to question a force play at second base for the third out. Washington didnt challenge and ask umpires to look at the replay, which showed clearly that Moreland was out by a step. ' ' '

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