Atlanta United and the Portland Timbers will face off for the first and only time this season Sunday night at Providence Park. Kickoff is set for 10 p.m. ET
Last year, these two teams faced off twice, once in the regular season where the match ended in a tie and also in MLS Cup, where Atlanta won 2-0 in front of over 72 thousand fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
With only nine games remaining in the regular season for the Five Stripes, every game becomes important. Here is a preview for each team:
Record: 13-9-3, 42 points, 2nd Eastern Conference
The Five Stripes are currently in a four-game winning streak, in all competitions, and will look to continue this trend when they visit the team from the Pacific Northwest. Last Wednesday night, Atlanta won Campeones Cup and they did so by playing its best game of 2019.
One thing for concern for this team is that while this team looks almost invincible at home, they have struggled while playing on the road, having only three wins and eight defeats. With the loss by the Philadelphia Union Saturday night, a win by Atlanta would place the team in first place in the Eastern Conference, while still having a game in hand over the Union.
Manager Frank De Boer also said Friday that players Franco Escobar and Eric Remedi did not make the trip, due to both players dealing with small injuries.
The Five Stripes have only played once at Providence Park, in 2017, when Atlanta also tied the Timbers after a goal by Julian Gressel.
Record: 11-9-4, 37 points, 7th Western Conference
Just like Atlanta in 2017, the Timbers will play the majority of the final part of the regular season at home due to stadium renovations.
Portland has 10 games remaining, including Sunday’s, and nine of them will be at home and with only a difference of five points between second and seventh place, the Timbers will have a good opportunity to climb up in the standings after a slow start to the season.
Like always, Portland will depend on its playmakers such as Diego Valeri, with 15 assists, Brian Fernandez, with 10 goals and Sebastian Blanco in order to obtain another three points.
The Timbers faced the Chicago Fire Wednesday, a match that they won 3-2 after two goals by Fernandez and one by Jorge Moreira.