Atlanta United and Portland Timbers advance, will meet in 2018 MLS Cup
Atlanta will host the final on Dec. 8
The final is set. On Saturday, Dec. 8, Atlanta United will host the Portland Timbers in MLS Cup 2018. Both teams advanced to the final on Thursday, setting up a highly-anticipated battle with a ton of South American flair. Atlanta is the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, and Portland is the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference.
Here's how it happened:
Portland Timbers 3, Sporting Kansas City 2
Going to Kansas City and getting a win was always going to be tricky, but the Timbers scored three goals in the second half, including a crazy strike from Sebastian Blanco, to move on.
After Daniel Salloi scored in the first half to give Sporting the lead, Portland drew level on 52 minutes with what's one of the best goals in MLS playoff history. Look at this hit from Blanco:
Captain Diego Valeri would then score two goals, with his added time strike putting it away as the Timbers scored on all three of its shots on target.
Portland returns to the MLS Cup for the second times in four years. The Timers beat the Columbus Crew 2-1 on the road in 2015 to win the title.
As for going to Atlanta, Portland did that once this season, playing to a 1-1 draw in June.
New York Red Bulls 1, Atlanta United 0
In just the franchise's second season, Atlanta United is into the MLS Cup. After beating the New York Red Bulls 3-0 in the Eastern Conference Championship first leg on Sunday, the club went on the road and lost 1-0 on Thursday on a late goal, advancing to the final 3-1 on aggregate.
You can watch the final on on fuboTV (Try for free).
In the second leg on Thursday, Atlanta United was more than comfortable, focusing on doing what it could to keep the Red Bulls' attack at bay. And while Chris Armas' team had no trouble scoring for the majority of the year, Atlanta nearly shut them out. The Red Bulls were top five in goals scored during the regular season, yet the team could not put more than one past Atlanta over 180 minutes, as the club moved within potentially 90 minutes of its first title. Tim Parker scored a goal from close 94 minutes in for the lone goal.
The Red Bulls had nearly 70 percent possession but just six shots on frame. A comeback was always unlikely, but some wasted chances early in the second half destroyed any chance of doing so.
The final will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET and air on Fox and Unimas.
The final gets underway on Thursday with the first leg and concludes on Sunday
The draw is on Monday, but we rank the teams that are still alive
Here is when all of the group stage games will be played
There were more losers than winners on this day
Now all eyes are on Monday's draw
United still has a chance to win the group