Atlanta United FC may have to wait a little longer to make their MLS home debut after it was announced on Thursday that the opening of the downtown Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be pushed three months to June 1, 2017.
According to comments by club owner Arthur Blank to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the delay relates to the design of the structure that supports the retractable roof and video board.
Although Blank told the paper that he “fully anticipates” playing all 17 home matches at the new $1.4 billion, 71,000-seat stadium, the article indicates that “an alternate temporary venue will be lined up in Atlanta for the soccer team if needed.” Season ticket prices are scheduled to be announced in February.
Should they wait to play their home opener in June 2017, Atlanta United FC wouldn’t be the first club to start a season with a lengthy road trip: The Chicago Fire (9-game road trip in 2006), Sporting Kansas City (10-game road trip in 2011) and Toronto FC (7-game road trip in 2015) opened their campaigns with lengthy away slates.
And Toronto FC will once again start their regular-season campaign on the road, with eight matches played away from BMO Field as renovations are completed on their home stadium.