After a listless 2-1 loss against St. Louis City SC last weekend, the Portland Timbers (1-0-2) face an uphill battle against one of the Eastern Conference’s hottest teams, Atlanta United (2-1-0).
Storylines so far
Evander, Paredes, Yimmi, oh my! In just their fourth game of the season the Timbers find themselves in the midst of an injury crisis, with Seven first-team players ruled unavailable for selection against Atlanta United with various issues (Tega Ikoba has since been upgraded to available):
Evander is officially listed as OUT for Saturday’s Timbers match.— Sam Svilar (@sammich923) March 16, 2023
The full availability list:
Mora (L knee)
Blanco (L knee)
Ayala (R knee)
Asprilla (R knee)
Ikoba (R knee)
Yimmi (R hamstring)
Paredes (R hamstring)
Evander (hip) #RCTID
Newly-acquired Eric Miller is also unavailable for the match after he and his wife Kassey welcomed their baby Margot into the world on Thursday, congrats to the Millers!
With all of those pesky injuries in mind I would once again expect the Timbers to line up with the same 3-5-2 formation that Giovanni Savarese is becoming increasingly fond of deploying. Diego Chara and Eryk Williamson are the only healthy central midfielders available for the Timbers, so it will be interesting to see who plays in the #10 role with Evander out.
Set-pieces were once again a topic of conversation in the loss to St. Louis for the Timbers, who scored from one through Zac McGraw in the third minute, before conceding the game-winner from one in the 75th minute.
An early goal for @TimbersFC.— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 12, 2023
Eryk Williamson and Zac McGraw connect from the corner kick in the opening minutes. #RCTID pic.twitter.com/L1TL9o7UPK
Atlanta United have made an impressive start to their 2023 MLS season, picking up seven points from a possible nine, including an opening day 2-1 win against the San Jose Earthquakes and an absolute shredding (3-0) of Charlotte FC last weekend. Atlanta’s star midfielder Thiago Almada (2 goals, 2 assists) is the dangerman the Timbers have to try to contain, but keep an eye on 18-year-old Caleb Wiley, who had a hand in all three of Atlanta’s goals against Charlotte.
The Timbers made a signing! Read about Portland’s new #9 Franck Boli here.
Read Sam’s preview of the Timbers’ first trip to Atlanta since MLS Cup 2018.
How to watch
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium | Atlanta, GA
Time: 7:30 p.m. PT
Watch: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV (streaming only)
Listen: 750 The Game (English), La GranD 1150AM/93.5 FM (Spanish)
— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) March 18, 2023
▪️ Ivacic makes his 2023 debut
▪️ D. Chara's 337th start ©️
▪️ Ikoba returns #RCTID pic.twitter.com/9jsknveTuK
Here we go, 17s! Our Starting XI for tonight's match vs. @TimbersFC— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) March 18, 2023
Watch live: https://t.co/Qu9Y1wCG4W ️ pic.twitter.com/PFWvyNasue