major league soccer cup final preview

18:30    07 Dec 2018

Atlanta United midfielder Ezequiel Barco (L)
Timbers are eyeing their second MLS Cup trophy, but Atlanta are the favourites

Atlanta United will face off with Portland Timbers in the 2018 Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup final on Sunday.

Kick-off is at 03h00 CAT.

The highly-anticipated encounter is scheduled to be played at the Mercedes Benz Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Atlanta secured their place in the final after defeating New York Red Bull 3-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals.

They will look to Josef Martinez, who looks set to finish the season as the top scorer having scored 31 goals in the league.

The 2018 MLS Most Valuable Player (MVP) has the ability to inspire favour ites Atlanta to victory in the final.

Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan is keen to help the team clinch the trophy in front of their fans.

"Ultimately we want to win MLS Cup, so this is part of the journey to get to MLS Cup, to get to a final," Guzan said.

"All of our hard work throughout the season now allows us to host the final, that is important and doesn’t go un-noticed.

"So, now we put ourselves in a position to hopefully go and raise a trophy in our home city."

Watch: The best MLS team goals

Meanwhile, Timbers booked their place in the final after defeating Sporting Kansas City 3-2 on aggregate in the semi-finals.

They will look to their inspirational captain Liam Ridgewell, who has been one of the best defenders this season.

The English defender was part of the Timbers team that clinched the MLS Cup in 2015.

Timbers head coach Gio Saverese has praised Atlanta ahead of the final, but he made it clear that will fight for the trophy.

“I think Atlanta is what you hope an organization can be once you give them the opportunity to be part of MLS," Savarese said.

These are the moments that the true good players, the real players, are built to show themselves.

"It’s exciting, we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished but we’re not satisfied just to be here.”

Atlanta have never won the MLS Cup, while Timbers clinched the trophy in 2015.

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