Match Preview: Atlanta United vs. Portland Timbers
ATLANTA - Atlanta United will host Portland Timbers in MLS Cup on Saturday, Dec. 8 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The match is scheduled to kick-off at 8 p.m. EST and will be nationally televised on FOX/UniMás.
Atlanta defeated New York Red Bulls 3-1 on aggregate in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Championship to reach MLS Cup. In Leg One, Josef Martinez, Franco Escobar and Tito Villalba each scored goals for Atlanta, while the defense allowed just one shot on target. In Leg 2 at Red Bull Arena, Atlanta lost 1-0 yet executed a game plan that allowed the team to advance 3-1 on aggregate. In the Eastern Conference Semifinal, Atlanta defeated New York City FC 4-1 over two legs.
Atlanta United is just the second expansion team in MLS history (formed through an expansion draft) to reach MLS Cup within its first two seasons. The Chicago Fire reached MLS Cup 1998 in their inaugural season, defeating D.C. United 2-0 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. to win their lone league championship.
The Portland Timbers are playing in the league's championship match for a second time, after winning MLS Cup 2015 in a 2-1 victory against Columbus Crew SC at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The Timbers became the first team to win MLS Cup as the away team in that final, since the league began awarding MLS Cup host to the team with the better regular-season record (beginning in 2012). This year, the Timbers began their run with a win at fourth-seeded FC Dallas in the Knockout Round, then defeated second-seeded Seattle Sounders FC and first-seeded Sporting Kansas City to reach the final.
The game also features a matchup of the previous two Landon Donovan MLS MVP's in Josef Martinez, who broke the league's single-season scoring record in 2018 with 31 goals, and Diego Valeri, Portland's Argentine maestro who won the award in 2017. Atlanta's Miguel Almirón finished as the runner-up this season.
Saturday, Dec. 8, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA |8 p.m. (EST)
Atlanta United (21-7-6, 69 points) vs. Portland Timbers (15-10-9, 54 points)
English TV | FOX
Spanish Radio | La Mejor 1600 AM
English Radio | 92-9 The Game (local)
7 p.m.: AT&T Countdown to Kickoff (FB Live/Periscope)
7:30 p.m.: The Pre-Game show (92-9 The Game)
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