Ridgewell gets equalizer in 1-1 draw with Atlanta United
The Portland Timbers hosted (and defeated) the expansion Minnesota United team to start the 2017 season, and Minnesota’s expansion partner Atlanta United visited on Sunday afternoon, and achieved a much better result as they drew the Timbers 1-1 with Atlanta midfielder Julian Gressel getting the opener, and Portland’s Liam Ridgewell getting the equalizer at Providence Park in Portland.
The first half did not feature many good scoring chances, but the Timbers would have the first good opportunity with a Diego Valeri free kick from just outside the box being smothered at the near post by Atlanta goalkeeper Alec Kann. Just before the half, Atlanta’s Miguel Almirón led a good attack down the left side, with Portland goalkeeper Jake Gleeson making a nice kick save, and it was scoreless at the half.
Just seconds into the second half, Atlanta would take the lead when Atlanta defender Jeff Larentowicz found midfielder Julian Gressel at the top of the Timbers box, and hit a perfectly placed low shot just side the left post to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
It was only four minutes later when the Timbers leveled the score, when a free kick from Portland midfielder David Guzmán came through to defender Liam Ridgewell, who headed down and past Kann to level the score at 1-1.
For the rest of the match, the majority of good chances would be by the home side, with the next good chance being in the 74th minute with Fenendo Adi‘s curing shot from near the top of the box forcing a good save by Kann, with rebound shots by Sebastián Blanco and Adi being blocked by defenders at close range.
In second half stoppage time the Timbers would come within inches of stealing the win when after a Timbers free kick was cleared back to near the top of the box, and Guzmán’s powerful curling strike rattled off the left post. Neither team would threaten again and would have to be satisfied with the 1-1 draw.
Jake Gleeson had three saves for the Timbers while Alec Kann had three saves for Atlanta.