Does Atlanta’s aggressive offense and home crowd win the “Nagby Derby”? Or does Portland play the “road warrior” card one more time?
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Personally, I find Atlanta to be one of the more intimidating sites to play, but Portland faces that every year in Seattle. The Timbers even managed a 1-1 draw at Atlanta earlier this year. I don’t think the audience and noise levels will affect the team as much as Atlanta’s offense will keep Portland on their heels all day. The 5 Stripes haven’t been held under a goal at home since a 2-0 loss to Sporting KC in May, and that was more from a red card given to Guzan in the first half.
Portland, meanwhile, is 0-3-3 against the East in away games with a -8 goal differential. If the Timbers can keep this game low-scoring, maybe they have a chance, but I don’t think the statistics favor Portland at all. Picking the ATL to win 3-1.
I’m in for Atlanta. They have too much talent plus that home-field advantage. I was pulling for NY in the semi-final mostly because it just seemed too easy for Atlanta to come in and win the league in the second year. But I respect the investment they’ve made in every aspect of their team and they are reaping near immediate rewards. They’ll likely look quite a bit different next year with Tata and big-name players leaving, but I’m excited for both the home and away matches against them next season.