Portland Timbers vs. Atlanta United FC | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Portland Timbers vs. Atlanta United FC
2017 MLS Regular Season - Week 11
Providence Park – Portland, Ore.
Sunday, May 14 – 4 pm ET
WATCH: ESPN and ESPN Deportes in USA; TSN2 in Canada
The two highest-scoring teams in MLS have fallen on tougher times in recent weeks after starting the regular season on fire and they will be equally eager to get back on track in what shapes up to be one of the most attractive matches of Week 11.
With only one point from their last two matches on the road, the Timbers have fallen behind their Western Conference competitors after leading the league early on. They'll hope to rebound at home against Atlanta to cap a week that saw Providence Park expansion plans capture the headlines. Are an ATLUTD side on a two-game losing streak ripe for the taking?
"I look at the way they [Atlanta] play and they play aggressively. And I think especially to start the year, they've caught a lot of teams off guard and they were difficult to kind of manage," Timbers head coach Caleb Porter told the Talk Timbers podcast.
"Now they're kind of settling into the grind of the season and like any team in this league," he continued. "Teams start to figure you out a little bit. I think we're starting to see that. They're starting to realize that 'maybe it's tougher than we thought.' Every team is difficult with some of these fields and conditions."
The Timbers' heaviest loss of the season last week came without influential playmakers Diego Valeri and Darlington Nagbe, who were out injured. But Valeri returned to training on Wednesday, while Nagbe was still doing individual work, leading head coach Caleb Porter to state: "Valeri is likely, unless, you never know, you have some setbacks. Darlington, we just don't know yet."
Their much improved depth will likely be put to the test once again vs. Atlanta.
- Suspended: None
- Suspended next yellow card: None
- Injury Report: OUT — DF Gbenga Arokoyo (Achilles), DF Chance Myers (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE — MF Diego Valeri (hip flexor), MF Darlington Nagbe (hamstring), GK Jake Gleeson (hip flexor), MF Ben Zemanski (adductor)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, left to right): Jeff Attinella — Vytautas Andriuskevicius, Liam Ridgewell, Lawrence Olum, Alvas Powell — Diego Chara, David Guzman — Darren Mattocks, Sebastian Blanco, Dairon Asprilla — Fanendo Adi
Notes: After three starts for goalkeeper Jeff Attinella and five goals conceded, it will be interesting to see if Porter makes a change and brings back Jake Gleeson, who missed time due to injury but was on the bench in Week 10 ... The Timbers rely on their fullbacks to participate in the attack, but left back Vytas and right back Alvas Powell will be tested with Atlanta wingers Yamil Asad and Tito Villalba ready to surprise them with runs in behind. The defensive decisions by the Timbers fullbacks should prove one of the most fascinating aspects of the match.
- Listen: Latest edition of Talking Timbers
- Portland City Council supports Providence Park expansion
- Timbers' David Guzman a quick study in MLS
- How did the Timbers do in the recent transfer window?
- Listen: Soccer Made in Portland
Atlanta United FC
Atlanta United have lost two straight matches and while the Yankee Stadium field dimensions may have impacted their transition game in Week 10, they're back line has been experiencing regular lapses (six goals conceded in last two matches). And now starting left back Greg Garza, who has proven to be another playmaker when pushing into the attack, will miss the Portland match to stay home and rest his hip. But ATLUTD are trying to keep things in perspective.
"We played a very good first six, seven games," Atlanta head coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino said earlier this week. "Just because we’ve played two poor games, it doesn’t mean we have to modify everything.”
- Suspended: None
- Injury Report: OUT – DF Greg Garza (hip); QUESTIONABLE: FW Josef Martinez (quadriceps), FW Jacob Peterson (right lower leg injury)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, left to right): Alec Kann – Mark Bloom, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Michael Parkhurst, Tyrone Mears – Carlos Carmona, Jeff Larentowicz – Yamil Asad, Miguel Almiron, Hector Villalba – Kenwyne Jones
Notes: In addition to missing Garza, US Under-17 stars Chris Goslin and Andrew Carleton won't be available to play vs. Portland ... Yamil Asad comes back from a one-game suspension handed down by the MLS Disciplinary Committee ... It's still unclear whether forwards Josef Martinez and Jacob Peterson will be available for selection.
- Listen: Mouths of the South podcast
- Who is Miguel Almiron? Get to know ATL's young star
- ATLUTD.com profiles captain Michael Parkhurst
- Watch: Best of Miguel Almiron in MLS
- Listen: Latest edition of Soccer Down Here
- Journal-Constitution's Doug Roberson breaks down ATL's struggles
First-ever meeting between the two clubs and the only one of the 2017 regular season.
Referee: Alan Kelly
Assistant Referees: Matthew Nelson (bench side), Ian Anderson (far)
Fourth Official: Alex Chilowicz