Atlanta United (2-0-1) will play its third home game of the season at 7:30 p.m. Saturday against Portland (1-2-0) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The game will be broadcast on the MLS channel on AppleTV. It will kick off at 7:39 p.m. You can sync the radio broadcast from 92.9 FM through the app. You can follow the coverage of Doug Roberson, who has covered the franchise since 2014, on Twitter @DougRobersonAJC.
Here is a scouting report for the game:
Portland manager: Giovanni Savarese
Portland on road: 0-1-0
Atlanta United at home: 1-0-1
Portland goals for/against: 4/5
Portland expected goals for/against: 3.0/3.9
Atlanta United goals for/against: 6/2
Atlanta United expected goals for/against: 4.1/2.7
Portland key players
Zac McGraw: One goal
Juan Mosquera: One goal, one assist
Atlanta United key players
Thiago Almada: 2 goals, 2 assists
Caleb Wiley: 2 goals, 1 assist
Matheus Rossetto: 1 goal
Luiz Araujo: 1 goal
1. Will Atlanta United keep improving? Manager Gonzalo Pineda’s team keeps getting better from week to week. It posted its first shutout Saturday in a win against Charlotte. It also scored a season-high in goals.
2. Who will start? Neither Giakoumakis nor Derrick Etienne have started. Neither will be available next week at Columbus because they’ve been called to their respective national teams. Will Pineda keep going with what’s working and start Wiley and Miguel Berry this week, knowing they likely will start next week, or give Giakoumakis and Etienne their first starts and risk disrupting chemistry?
3. Will Portland play a low block? The Timbers will go without several key players because of injuries. Pineda said he doesn’t assume the Timbers will play defensively at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, though it is what most opponents do. If Portland does sit deep, can Atlanta United break them down?
Questionable: Machop Chol (hamstring) and Tyler Wolff (shoulder).
Out: Ozzie Alonso (recovery from torn ACL), Rossetto (hamstring)
Out: Felipe Mora (left knee), Sebastian Blanco (left knee), David Ayala (right knee), Dairon Asprilla (right knee), Tega Ikoba (right knee), Yimmi Chara (right hamstring), Cristhian Paredes (right hamstring) and Evander (hip).
What was said
“I’m just focused on this week. I’m not focused on next week. I want to put the best possible lineup for this game against Portland. Then, we’ll try to worry about Columbus.” – Pineda
“Yeah, there’s still definitely areas where we’re looking back at video and looking back at clips. How do we deal with different situations? How do we, you’re striving for perfection, right? And so every play, every pass, every ball, can we be a step this way, step that right way? How do we fine-tune things? And so that’s now the process.” – Brad Guzan
Referee: Ted Unkel
Assistants: Corey Parker, Ian McKay
Fourth official: Ben Pilgrim
VAR: Jair Marrufo
AVAR: Jozef Batko
Atlanta United’s predicted 11
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan
Centerback Miles Robinson
Centerback JuanJo Purata
Right fullback Brooks Lennon
Left fullback Andrew Gutman
Defensive midfielder Franco Ibarra
Midfielder Amar Sejdic
Attacking midfielder Thiago Almada
Right wing Luiz Araujo
Left wing Caleb Wiley
Striker Miguel Berry
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Atlanta United’s 2023 MLS schedule
Feb. 25 Atlanta United 2, San Jose Earthquakes 1
March 4 Atlanta United 1, Toronto FC 1
March 11 Atlanta United 3, Charlotte FC 0
March 18 vs. Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m.
March 25 at Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.
April 1 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.
April 8 at New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.
April 15 at Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m.
April 23 vs. Chicago Fire FC, 4:30 p.m., FS1
April 29 at Nashville SC, 1:30 p.m., Fox
May 6 at Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m.
May 13 vs. Charlotte FC, 7:30 p.m.
May 17 vs. Colorado Rapids, 7:30 p.m.
May 20 at Chicago Fire FC, 8:30 p.m.
May 27 at Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m.
May 31 vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m., FS1
June 3 at Los Angeles FC, 10:30 p.m.
June 10 vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.
June 21 vs. New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.
June 24 at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.
July 2 vs. Philadelphia Union, 4 p.m., Fox
July 8 at CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
July 12 at New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m.
July 15 vs. Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m., FS1
Aug. 20 at Seattle Sounders, 10:30 p.m.
Aug. 26 vs. Nashville SC, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 30 vs. FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 2 at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Sept. 16 vs. Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 23 vs. CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 at Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 7 vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 21 at FC Cincinnati, TBA
About the Author
Credit: Ben Hendren for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution