Atlanta United conquer the Portland Timbers in a rematch of the 2018 MLS Cup. With tonight's win, Atlanta seals the first place spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
Frank de Boer named an attacking minded starting XI ahead of taking on the Portland Timbers. The full XI: Brad Guzan (GK), Florentin Pogba (DEF), Miles Robinson Leandro González Pirez (DEF), Leandro González Pirez (DEF), Julian Gressel (DEF), Justin Meram (MID) Jeff Larentowicz (MID), Darlington Nagbe (MID), Ezequiel Barco (MID), Pity Martínez (FWD), Josef Martinez (FWD).
Atlanta United defeated Portland Timbers 2-0 Sunday night at Providence Park to move into first place in the Eastern Conference. Josef Martinez added to his league-record goalscoring streak, tallying for the 11th consecutive match, and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez added his first goal of the MLS season to lead Atlanta. Brad Guzan made five saves to post his league-leading 12th clean sheet of the season.
Atlanta opened the scoring for the eighth consecutive match with Gonzalez Pirez finally tapping home from short range. Off a corner kick, Josef Martinez redirected a shot on target, but it was saved by Steve Clark. The ensuing rebound ricocheted off Julio Cascante toward goal, resulting in the defender attempting to clear, but it went straight to Gonzalez Pirez, who had crashed the goal and was able to tap the ball in from a yard out.
While each team had a couple of good scoring chances through the final half hour of the first half, it ended 1-0. Atlanta immediately doubled the lead, though, a minute after the break. From midfield, Julian Gressel delivered a pinpoint through ball to Martinez, and with Clark about to rush out, Martinez immediately curled his shot into the upper right corner for a 2-0 lead.
Atlanta United (14-9-3, 45 points) returns to action Friday, Aug. 23 when it travels to play Orlando City SC. It returns to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Tuesday, Aug. 27 to host Minnesota United for the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final (8:00 p.m., ESPN+).