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Mercedes-Benz Stadium nets MLS All-Star game

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home to Major League Soccer franchise Atlanta United, has been selected as the site of the 2018 MLS All-Star game.

The annual mid-summer showcase event will feature the best in MLS hosting one of the top clubs in the world. In 2017, the All-Star team lost on penalties to Spanish LaLiga champion Real Madrid at Soldier Field in Chicago.

The 71,000-capacity Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which opened its doors this August, is a retractable-roof facility featuring innovations in architecture, sustainability and technology, along with flexible seating capacity and football-specific features.

Atlanta finished its first season in the MLS in fourth position in the Eastern Conference, the first expansion team to reach the playoffs since the Seattle Sounders in 2009.

“We’re proud to bring our 2018 All-Star Game to Atlanta, a city and club that have taken Major League Soccer by storm,” said MLS commissioner Don Garber. “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.”

United recently broke the MLS attendance record for a single season and game. United reached 819,404 tickets sold across the season, surpassing the MLS’ previous record of 752,199 set by the Sounders in 2015.

United also sailed past its own single-game record in its match against Toronto. The crowd at Mercedes-Benz Stadium reached 71,874, beating its previous record of 70,245 fans, which it set in a game against Orlando City earlier this season.

The previous single game record before this season was the 69,225 set by Los Angeles Galaxy in 1996 at the Rose Bowl. Outside of MLS, North American Soccer League club the New York Cosmos set the benchmark of 47,856 in 1978.

“We are honoured to host the 2018 MLS All-Star Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium,” said Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank.

“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.”