After two road games, games in which the Timbers gave up points far too easily, the team comes home to Portland on Mother's Day for a game against MLS debutants Atlanta United. United started out extremely strong but have come back down to earth a bit in the last few games and currently sit 7th in the Eastern Conference, 11 points behind conference leaders Toronto, and with six fewer points than Portland.
Well traveled, until lately
Atlanta's travels have been fairly good to them this season, with two wins and two draws in six games. They lost their second consecutive game last weekend, to New York City FC, and their initially solid defense is starting to let them down a bit. Atlanta has conceded nine goals in their last four games, which helps to explain their recent slide down the standings.
The Timbers also started out 2017 pretty well on the road, until this recent two game road stretch that saw them allow five goals and net only one point. Last week's loss can only be partly explained by the absence of Diego Valeri and Darlington Nagbe, and the Timbers will want to greatly improve their performance on their return to Providence Park.
Health, or a lack of it
Injuries will be a pretty big factor in this game, for both teams. According to coach Caleb Porter, the Timbers should see Diego Valeri return to action, unless he doesn't, while Darlington Nagbe is still a pretty serious doubt. Starting goalkeeper Jake Gleeson should return to the starting lineup as well.
For ATLU, Josef Martinez has been ruled out of this game, which is a potentially devastating blow for a team that depends on his pace and ability to carve open defenses, with Kenwyne Jones stepping up in Martinez' absence. Without Martinez, ATL struggled to create anything of note last week on NYCFC's narrow pitch; it remains to be seen what they can do without him on a wider pitch, whether they'll be able to move the ball and get it into spaces or whether their attack will be easily mopped up by the Timbers' back four.
Portland Timbers probable starting XI: Gleeson; Vytas, Ridgewell, Olum, Powell; Chará, Guzmán; Mattocks, Blanco, Asprilla; Adi
Atlanta United probable starting XI:
Kann; Bloom, Pirez, Parkhurst, Mears; Carmona, Larentowicz; Asad, Almiron, Villalba; Jones
Portland Timbers v. Atlanta United
Sunday, May 14, 2017
1PM PT/4PM ET