MLS Cup 2018: What to know about the final between Atlanta United and Portland Timbers

The hours are winding down until Saturday night, for the 2018 MLS Cup with Atlanta United hosting the Portland Timbers. Tata Martino and company look to win the title in just the franchise's second season, while the Timbers hope to bring home their second title in four years after beating the Columbus Crew in 2015. Here's what to know:

What is MLS Cup?

It's the championship game of Major League Soccer, the league featuring mainly American franchises and three Canadian franchises. It pits the Eastern Conference champions, Atlanta, against the Western Conference champions, Portland. 

Where is it and when is it?

The match will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, and kickoff is officially set for 8:08 p.m. ET.  This will be the stadium's second big championship game of the month after hosting college football's SEC Championship last Saturday, where Alabama beat Georgia. 

What to know about the two teams

Atlanta is a cool story because the team began playing in MLS in 2017. With former Argentina and Barcelona coach Martino leading the way, the club has spent big, by MLS standards, to bring in some really good players like Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez. They are fast, flashy, technical and have been one of the most entertaining teams over the last couple seasons. They fell short last season but enter this one as the favorites. 

Portland is a team that has been here before, but this year is doing so with a different coach. Giovanni Savarese took over for Caleb Porter and has taken this team straight to the final as the fifth seed. With Diego Valeri leading the way, the team knocked off No. 4 FC Dallas, No. 2 Seattle Sounders and No. 1 Sporting Kansas City on its way to the final. Like Atlanta, Portland has a lot of South American flair. Between the two teams, there are two South American head coaches and 17 South American players.

What's on the line?

The MLS Cup, of course. It would be Atlanta's first trophy in Martino's last game as he's expected to move to coach the Mexico national team. Also, if the Timbers win, they'll qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League, a cup Atlanta is already qualified for. 

Martinez's future

Atlanta star striker Josef Martinez has be destroying the league with his performances since he arrived last season, and he's done more than enough to warrant interest from European clubs. But after one stint in Europe and finding a new home in Atlanta, it looks like he'll stay in the United States for a good while.

MLS Cup 2018 odds

So who is going to win 2018 MLS Cup? Visit SportsLine now to get an exclusive pick on Atlanta-Portland in the 2018 MLS Cup.  

What's the match format?

There has to be a winner. The game will play 90 minute of regulation, and if it is tied, they'll play 30 more minutes of extra time. If after an additional 30 minutes the game is still tied, it will go to penalty kicks.

How to watch

 The match will air in the United States on FOX and UniMas. You can watch the game online on fuboTV (Try for free). 

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CBS Sports Writer

Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

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