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Atlanta to host 2018 MLS All-Star Game

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta United burst into the Major League Soccer scene in blistering form this season, and the league is ready to bring its marquee game to Mercedes-Benz Stadium to capitalize on that massive interest.

League commissioner Don Garber announced Monday that Atlanta will host the 2018 MLS All-Star Game, with Gerardo "Tata" Martino named head coach of the makeshift side for a midsummer tilt against a yet-unknown opponent.

"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 league-issued press 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."

The Five Stripes broke the league attendance record Sunday night against Toronto FC with 71,874 supporters in the stands at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and Arthur Blank will now watch as his budding expansion franchise tries to reach full maturation in the MLS post-season as they hunt for the MLS Cup.

"We are honored to host the 2018 MLS All-Star Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium," Blank said. "Along with events such as the Super Bowl, College Football Playoff national championship, and NCAA Final Four, being selected to host the MLS All-Star Game in Atlanta again delivers on our promise to bring the biggest events in sports to Atlanta.

"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."

Though an opponent has not yet been selected, the All-Star Game has historically featured a major European powerhouse, such as Real Madrid, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, and Manchester United. The 2017 iteration of the friendly showcase ended on penalties, with Real Madrid pipping the All-Stars after drawing 1-1 in regulation time.

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