After falling short in the U.S. Open Cup to the Chicago Fire, Atlanta United get their flannel shirts ready to chop down the Timbers.
While Atlanta United remain in the number one spot in the Eastern Conference of the MLS, they’ll find themselves in a difficult match up with the Portland Timbers, who haven’t tasted defeat in their last 10 games and are currently 6th in the Western Conference. With their most dangerous piece, Diego Valeri, playing in the midfield, the chances the Timbers are able to create in a match is something to keep in mind.
Atlanta United will be met with a team that enjoys orchestrating build up plays from possession almost as much as us and with Valeri as the conductor, the Portland Timbers have done so successfully throughout the regular season. Known as one of the most efficient finishers in the MLS, Valeri holds 6 goals under his belt and with the ball on his feet, he poses a threat as far out as the middle of the pitch.
Atlanta’s fast paced attack and style of play will have to go through Portland’s experienced midfield first. An important cog in their defensive midfield shape is Colombian midfielder, Diego Chara. While he isn’t particularly big in stature, Chara has a very high work rate and isn’t afraid to make challenges and recover lost balls. The seniority is definitely on Portland’s side and they’ll use their experience to their advantage as much as possible (drawing fouls, etc).