After two tough results, Atlanta United traveled to Portland looking for anything but a loss. Portland, however, was expecting nothing but three points in their return to Providence Park after a tough 3-0 loss to San Jose. In a situation where Tata and the Five Stripes desperately needed to find an answer, they may have done just that. After a one game suspension, Yamil Asad started in the left wing behind Villalba, who started in place of Kenwyne Jones. Miguel Almiron played in Julian Gressel’s usual spot in the middle, and Gressel moved to right wing.
The first half featured many moments where Atlanta United could have found the back of the net, but seemingly were playing too unselfish. A few extra passes in the box resulted in some blown chances for the Five Stripes, and ultimately a scoreless first half.
Just 24 seconds into the second half, Jeff Larentowicz crossed the ball to Gressel, who found the left corner of the goal, notching his first ever MLS goal. This goal also marked the 8th match out of 10 this season where Atlanta was the first side to score. Atlanta 1, Portland 0.
Unfortunately, the lead didn’t last too long. David Guzman took a free kick that found Liam Ridgewell’s noggin and the back of the net. Ridgewell snuck behind Michael Parkhurst and Mark Bloom and was seemingly unaccounted for as he made what was seemingly a free run to the goal. Atlanta 1, Portland 1
Alec Kann stood tall in goal for the remainder of the game, making massive saves against Fanendo Adi late in the game. In the first minute of stoppage time, Atlanta United fans found themselves sending praise to the soccer Gods after Guzman sent a beautiful strike off the left post.
Final Whistle. Atlanta United 1, Portland Timbers 1.
Atlanta dominated possession 70-30, which was crucial in holding Portland’s high-powered attack to just one goal. The hard earned point came at a perfect time for the Five Stripes, and the momentum is just what Atlanta needed before they head back to Bobby Dodd for two straight home games against Houston and NYCFC.