170512 Match Preview

Match Preview: Atlanta United at Portland Timbers

This weekend Atlanta United heads to Cascadia to face Western Conference opponent Portland Timbers, the only team with a higher goal tally than Atlanta so far this season. Atlanta (3-4-2) currently sit 7th in the East and are looking to bounce back after a tough 3-1 defeat in New York City last week. Sitting in 3rd place in the West, Portland (5-3-2) enters the match also hoping to rebound following their 3-0 road loss in San Jose. You can catch the matchup live at Providence Park on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. ET on ESPN or via WATCHESPN.

Atlanta United (3-4-2)

Travel has dominated the beginning of Atlanta United’s 2017 inaugural season with six out of their nine matches so far coming on the road including two trips to Canada and a few journeys out west to Salt Lake City and Seattle. Needless to say they’ve racked up the miles and won’t be quitting the routine this weekend with their cross-country visit to the home of the Timbers on Sunday.

With a total of 11 points on the season Atlanta sit in 7th in the Eastern Conference standings. However, the expansion side does lead the conference in goals scored and nearly leads the league, oddly enough only second to their week 11 opponents in Portland. Given the success of both sides in the final third, Sunday’s matchup is sure to be an exciting contest.

Crucial to Atlanta’s high-flying, fast-paced, lethal attack have been the contributions of their young South American Designated Players in Miguel Almirón (2 goals, 4 assists), Tito Villalba (4 goals, 2 assists), and Josef Martinez (5 goals). Unfortunately for the expansion side, Martinez has missed the last six matches with a quad injury and has yet to completely recover and break back into the matchday roster.

Encouraging news for Atlanta United, winger Yamil Asad will be available once again after serving a suspension from the MLS Disciplinary Committee. The 22-year-old Argentine has started seven matches this season, tallying a total of two goals and three assists which he will hope to tack on to this Sunday.

Portland Timbers (5-3-2)

The Timbers have enjoyed a solid start to their 2017 campaign, currently sitting in 3rd place in the Western Conference standings with 17 points, just one behind undefeated leaders FC Dallas. At Providence Park they have been particularly impressive with a home record of 3-1-1, the only loss coming at the hands of Sporting KC who are the only team above them in the table at the moment other than Dallas.

Another aspect of their game that’s exceeded expectations this season is their offensive execution, hitting the back of the net more than any other team with a goal tally of 20. A chunk of those courtesy of DP Fanendo Adi who’s bagged six goals and tied for 2nd in the league as well as their Argentine hero Diego Valeri who already has five goals and four assists to his name.

In addition to their two top-scoring Designated Players, the Timbers also have U.S international Darlington Nagbe, Costa Rican international David Guzmán their third DP in Argentine international Sebastián Blanco who have all tallied a combined four goals and eight assists thus far. Portland have many offensive weapons and there’s no doubt Providence Park is going to be buzzing on Sunday with the loud and rowdy Timbers Army.

Listen & Watch – Sunday, May 14 | 4:00 p.m. ET

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