Thursday, May 11, 2017

Week 11 Prediction Thread - Timbers v. Atlanta United

Hopefully the home cooking will help the Timbers!
Yeesh. While I knew the Portland Timbers' defensive issues were the source of some concern for many, let's just say that the panic went into four alarm fire territory after this result. This isn't to say that I think the talent available along the backline isn't terrible and the defense overall had some moments where they were solid, the issue was that between individual errors and an improved San Jose attack, the Timbers were ran out of the stadium. The team now turns their attention to another new challenge as the other MLS Expansion side for 2017 visits Providence Park for their first ever visit to Providence Park. Atlanta United certainly started out the 2017 like gangbusters with huge wins in week 2 and 3 versus their expansion brethren, Minnesota United FC, and the Chicago Fire before the team got strategic reinforcements that have paid dividends.  

Atlanta United has been brought back to earth a bit in consecutive losses by a 3 to 1 score, home versus D.C. United followed up by a loss at Yankee Stadium to New York City FC. ATL has been one of the better offenses, currently tied with 19 goals scored with Houston sitting just 1 goal behind the Timbers, but it's been their defense that has been up in the air - as is the case with many expansion sides. Josef Martinez has been one of the more prolific scorers, netting 5 goals in 3 matches, but he's been injured and didn't travel with Atlanta this weekend. However, ATL has Hector Villabla, Yamil Asad and Miguel Almiron, three very creative midfield attackers to rely on for scoring. Michael Parkhurst, a longtime MLS veteran, has been the organizing force behind their defense, but Greg Garza, a very capable and stout fullback who has played in every match so far, also didn't travel due to injury. Suffice to say, Atlanta does have attacking options and decent defenders, but they will be hard pressed to overcome some of their missing options.

Portland played San Jose without the services of Darlington Nagbe and Diego Valeri, and the end result was an offense that struggled with linkage all evening. While Timber Coach Caleb Porter had some compliments for the effort, he also realizes this team needs to improve their consistency especially when their top 2 playmakers aren't available. Word is that Valeri is most likely available after being injured against Vancouver, so that development will indeed aid the overall attack that struggled to find their creativity and positioning against an Earthquakes side. With all this going on, how does our crack prognostication staff feel about this weekend's match? Well, let's all find out, shall we?

I am Groot! No, wait, I am Tortie!

Tortie - Timbers 11, Atlanta United 7.

I can assure you that Tortie knows the difference between football and soccer, especially since she has watched many matches at home. When asked about this weekend's date, she meowed and flopped quite a bit in excitement for the game. The meows lined up more for the home side for this week, but apparently it's a crappy week to be a goalkeeper in her eyes.

This view will get very different after 2019 or 2020.

Kip - Timbers 3, Atlanta United 2.

It's obvious that both sides can score the ball based on what we've seen in 2017, although both offense haven't been what they were in the start of the year. With Diego Valeri scheduled to be back and a Timbers side really frustrated by what happened in San Jose, I expect them to come out fired up and ready to go. I think the Timbers' defense will be better, but they will give up a goal or two to make things interesting, which might be a theme for 2017. I expect Valeri to get on the score sheet while Sebastian Blanco adds to his score tally.

What channel is the game on again? I can't go to the park.

GB - Timbers 3, Atlanta United 3.

We asked our gray boy about this match not around dinner time, and he was relatively chatty about it. Much like his girlfriend Tortie, GB predicted plenty of goals but he expects the defenses to provide some resistance on the evening. He was very specific with 3 meows for both sides in terms of goals, and when asked if that was correct, I got a confirming "OOT". Who am I to argue with such a confident submission?

Duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck...

Rick - Timbers 2, Atlanta United 1.

After a promising start, where they grabbed eight points from their first five games, Arlanta have only won one of their last four, losing the other three, and lie 7th in the Eastern Conference. Josef Martinez (5 goals in his last 3 games) and H├ęctor Villalba (4 goals, 2 assists) look to be the main threat to the Timbers defence. Trinidad and Tobago captain Kenwyne Jones has been used sparingly and to little effect in the last five games, after netting by twice in the first four games. Good news for the Timbers is that Diego Valeri is likely to be back although Darlington Nagbe is still questionable. Scorer: Adi with a brace.

I am queen of all I can see!

Spot - Timbers 0, Atlanta United 2.

Spot wasn't very impressed with the Timbers, and she kept walking away when she was asked about goals or a score for the home side. She did meow twice when asked about Atlanta, so apparently the cat who likes scoreless draws decided that for this week, there would be a score. Just not one the home side might like very much.


  1. Editors Note - Jennifer is currently on assignment and will be returning to predictions very soon.

  2. So after today's 1 all draw between Portland and Atlanta United, GB picked the right result but got the score wrong.