ATLANTA - JULY 22:  The Georgia Dome is shown during the World Football Challenge match between AC Milan and Club America on July 22, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

We go from no-hope San Diego (the perception, anyway) to the apple of Garber's eye, Atlanta. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution comes a story on an English Premier League team researching the city as a possible place to invest in MLS.

The idea that a(nother) foreign club might enter the U.S. market through a subsidiary in MLS is not one of which I'm fond. I didn't like Barca Miami as a concept, and I don't think I could be swayed to consider this a better situation. Arthur Blank's name has always been connected to MLS expansion in Atlanta, and I would much prefer he be the one to pony up the cash and make it happen.

But this is the most sketchy of news considering that the story does not reveal the source and that MLS itself indicated they know nothing about it. If the English club in question is doing their own thing with the eventual aim (should their research yield positive results) of pitching MLS on becoming an owner, than we're still a long way from the Atlanta City Blues or some such thing.

Garber has consistently mentioned the Southeast as a possible location for Franchise #20. It will take a willing owner with cash to make it feasible, and if Blank isn't willing to move on the MLS timeline, I do wonder if the league might sign up the English interest. The factors involved make me fearful.

And so does what Garber did back in March, practically inviting English clubs to think of the U.S. as their untapped cash cow.

I'm clearly jumping the gun. I do think Atlanta makes sense. I just hope we get a deep-pocketed American owner committed to the game (which it's possible Blank wouldn't be, I'm not sure) rather than an English club opening an American branch.

The perception of American soccer, important both here and abroad, won't be helped if we're home to a bunch of minor league outposts.

I would love to know who the club in question might be, however, and which other cities they might be researching.
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