MLS: MLS Cup-Portland Timbers vs Atlanta United FC

Atlanta United midfielder Darlington Nagbe (6) chases the ball with Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Chara in the second half of last season’s MLS Cup championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Newly crowned Atlanta United, fresh off a Campeones Cup title earlier this week, returns to action Sunday with hopes of a positive performance away from Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The team travels to face Portland Timbers at Providence Park in a 10 p.m. showdown (televised nationally by FS1) in a rematch of MLS Cup 2018. Road points have been tough this season for Atlanta, which enters the match in second place in the Eastern Conference standings, trailing Philadelphia Union by three points with a game in hand. Portland sits in the seventh and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

United got a victory in its last away match on Aug. 6 at Orlando City in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals. But the club has gone more than three months without a road victory in MLS play, dating back to a May 15 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The matchup with Portland (11-9-4, 37 points) will be the third regular season meeting all-time between the clubs and Atlanta’s second trip to Providence Park. Both regular season matches ended in 1-1 draws with Julian Gressel scoring for Atlanta in each match. The two sides’ last meeting was a memorable one, a 2-0 United victory in the 2018 MLS Cup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium behind goals from MLS Cup MVP Josef Martinez and Franco Escobar.

Atlanta (13-9-3, 42 points) added the second trophy in club history Wednesday night, defeating Liga MX champions Club América 3-2 to win Campeones Cup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Emerson Hyndman, Jeff Larentowicz and Martinez scored for Atlanta, which became the first MLS side to win Campeones Cup.

In its last league match, Atlanta defeated New York City FC 2-1 Aug. 11 behind a brace from Martinez, who had his MLS-leading 18th multi-goal performance since 2017. He extended his scoring streak to 10 consecutive MLS matches, breaking the record he set last season.

With his 70th career league goal, Martinez also passed Bradley Wright-Phillips for the most goals scored in any three-year span in league history (68 from 2014-16).

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