Giovanni Savarese, head coach of the Portland Timbers, cheers on his team during the first half of the match against the Sporting Kansas City at Providence Park on November 25, 2018 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Timbers’ Savarese has won a title in Atlanta before

Giovanni Saverese’s first chance to coach a team to a championship came when he led the New York Cosmos against the Atlanta Silverbacks for the NASL title in 2013 at Silverbacks Park.

The Cosmos won 1-0 in front of a few thousand people.

Now in his first year as an MLS coach, Savarese will returns to Atlanta where he will lead Portland against Atlanta United on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Savarese said on Monday that he and his coaching staff were recently talking about how odd that will be.

“Quite interesting,” he said.

That NASL title was one of three won in five seasons by the Saverese-led Cosmos.

The stakes and scenario of at least 70,000 people in the stadium will be quite different on Saturday than they were at Silverbacks Park, he said, but the work isn’t that different.

“The same thinking process that you have and the more you’ve been there gives you experiences that you feel can help and things that maybe you shouldn’t have done that also give you that experience,” he said.

“For me, the first year has been great to make it all the way because of work the guys have done. They believed all along that we could achieve this.”

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.