In a match between two of the most potent attacking teams in the league, clear cut chances were few and far between for both the Timbers and Atlanta in the early going. Through the first half, the two sides mustered only six combined shots, two of which were on target.
In the final minutes of the half it was Altanta who came closest to breaking the deadlock as Miguel Almiron drove toward the Timbers goal. With a step on the recovery run of right back Alvas Powell, Almiron dished a simple ball toward Atlanta winger Julian Gressel, only for Diego Chara to appear, knocking the ball away from Gressel and toward goal where it caromed off the sliding form of keeper Jake Gleeson, charging off his line.
The chance epitomized a series of narrow misses from the Timbers in the first half, with the side’s back line repeatedly bailing them out as Atlanta steamed forward. The Timbers looked to hit Atlanta on the break, but were rarely able to get the ball down and under control in the visitors’ half.
Atlanta started the second half in a much more productive fashion, opening the scoring in just the 46th minute. With the Timbers looking lethargic after coming out of the locker room, Atlanta worked the ball down the Timbers’ right where Jeff Larentowicz hit a skipping ball across the top of the box. Forward Hector Villalba had the first bite at the chance, but let the ball roll through, finding Gressel at the top of the key where the winger hit a quick shot at the near post that Gleeson was unable to stop.
The Timbers answered back minutes later, pulling things even in the 50th. After a foul out wide in the Atlanta half, David Guzman stepped up and sent a curling ball into the box. With the ball skipping past the far post, Timbers captain Liam Ridgewell was able to get free and put a smart header on the ball knocking it down and past Atlanta keeper Alec Kann for the equalizer.
With the sides energized by the goals, chances began to come for both the Timbers and Atlanta. Portland would pepper the Atlanta goal with shots, coming close to getting the break through in stoppage time as Guzman lashed a volley at the near post, leaving Kann stranded but hitting the woodwork rather than the net.
The Timbers are back in action next Saturday as they take on the Montreal Impact on the road.