MLS Cup 2018: Atlanta United vs. Portland Timbers TV and streaming info, and the big stars to watch
The expected attendance of over 72,000 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium will set a new MLS Cup final record, and will be one of the biggest crowds anywhere in world soccer this weekend.
Saturday, 8 p.m. at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
TV, radio and online streaming: Fox and FoxSportsGo.com in English (on air at 7:30); UniMás and Univision.com/Deportes in Spanish (on air at 7 p.m.); SiriusXM FC satellite radio (channel 157) in English (on air at 7 p.m.)
Fox’s announcers: John Strong, Stuart Holden and reporter Katie Witham; Rob Stone hosts with Alexi Lalas and Maurice Edu
UniMás' announcers: Raúl Guzmán, José Luis López Salido, Diego Balado, Marcelo Balboa, reporter Ramses Sandoval and host Iván Kasanzew
SiriusXM’s announcers: Joe Tolleson, Tony Meola, reporter Brian Dunseth and host Jason Davis
Exact kickoff time: 8:08 p.m.
How Atlanta got here: Finished 2nd in the East with a 21-7-6 record and 69 points; beat New York City FC 4-1 on aggregate in the conference semifinals; beat the New York Red Bulls 3-1 on aggregate in the conference finals.
How Portland got here: Finished 5th in the West with a 15-10-9 record and 54 points; beat FC Dallas 2-1 on the road in the first round; beat the Seattle Sounders on penalty kicks after a 4-4 aggregate tie in the conference semifinals; beat Sporting Kansas City 3-2 on aggregate in the conference finals.
Expected attendance: Over 72,000, which will set a new MLS Cup final record. The record has stood since 2002, when the Los Angeles Galaxy and New England Revolution drew 61,316 fans to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. It will also be one of the top attendances in the world this weekend. Only Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Mexico’s Club América and the Copa Libertadores final between Argentina’s Boca Juniors and River Plate (relocated to Madrid because of fan violence in Buenos Aires) are likely to have bigger crowds.
Stars to watch
Atlanta F Josef Martínez: The 25-year old Venezuelan was the runaway winner of this year’s MVP award after obliterating MLS' single-season scoring record with 31 goals. He also had one in the U.S. Open Cup, one in the All-Star Game and three big ones in the playoffs.
Portland M Diego Valeri: Few players have been more entertaining since the Argentina native arrived in MLS five years ago - and few have been more prolific. He has 79 goals and 73 assists in his time in Timbers green and gold.
Atlanta M Miguel Almirón: He was one of Atlanta’s first marquee signings, commanding an $8 million transfer fee from Argentine club Lanús. And the Paraguay native has been worth every cent, delivering 22 goals and 29 assists in two seasons. This might be his last game in Atlanta, as rumors have flown for a while that major English clubs want to sign him. The transfer fee could be as high as $25 million.
Portland M Sebastián Blanco: Another marquee Argentine in the Rose City, he’s had a monster playoff run with three goals in five games. He had done plenty before that, too: 22 goals and 19 assists in two years. The best of his strikes came in the Western Conference final at Kansas City, a 30-yard blast that turned the series in the Timbers' favor.