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Atlanta United's MLS Cup triumph ends city's long spell of sporting heartbreak

Atlanta United lift their first MLS Cup in just their second-ever season with a convincing 2-0 win over the Portland Timbers.
Michael Parkhurst talks about finally getting his hands on the elusive MLS Cup and Tata Martino's impact on both Atlanta United and MLS.
Herculez Gomez and Sebastian Salazar break down Atlanta United's MLS Cup victory and discuss how the team can improve on this season.
Jeff Larentowicz says Atlanta's failure to win the Supporters' Shield helped spurn them on in MLS Playoffs.

ATLANTA -- Michael Parkhurst had listened to these types of celebrations before. Four times, he'd ended up on the wrong side of MLS Cup finals. Four times, he'd ended up in a room of dejected teammates, listening to other people's joy bouncing down corridors and rushing past.

"I've dreamed of what it would feel like in the locker room with the champagne," Parkhurst said, who lost three consecutive title games with New England and another in Columbus. "I've heard it through the walls."

Atlanta sports...

Atlanta United end Portland's magic road form to lift MLS Cup

Atlanta United lift their first MLS Cup in just their second-ever season with a convincing 2-0 win over the Portland Timbers.
Atlanta United and owner Arthur Blank celebrated winning the team's first ever MLS Cup.

ATLANTA -- Atlanta United defeated the Portland Timbers 2-0 on Saturday night to win their first MLS Cup. Josef Martinez was the game's MVP with a goal and an assist, while Franco Escobar made the game safe with a second-half tally.

Here are three thoughts on Atlanta's victory:

1. Atlanta grinds down Timbers to win MLS Cup

Finals are often cagey affairs. The more time passes and the tension rises, the more risk-averse teams tend to get. But Atlanta took a patient approach against Portland...

Everything you need to know about MLS Cup: Atlanta United vs. Portland Timbers

MLS Cup is upon us. It won't be much longer until Atlanta United and the Portland Timbers kick off Major League Soccer's marquee attraction at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Georgia's capital.

Before that ball is first kicked, join Jeff Carlisle and Matt Pentz from the ground in Atlanta, and Arch Bell as they walk us through how the Five Stripes and the Timbers have been preparing this week, as well as the stats and matchups that will determine who lifts MLS Cup come Saturday night.

Atlanta United:...

Diego Chara has never been an MLS All-Star, but he's 'irreplaceable' for Portland

Alejandro Moreno breaks down what makes Atlanta United the favorites in MLS Cup, from their undeniable talent to their unique home advantage.
It was an up and down season for the Portland Timbers, who rode the talents of Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco to their 2nd-ever MLS Cup final appearance.

ATLANTA -- Diego Chara thought he had missed his chance.

The diminutive midfielder was 17 years old, playing with local youth side Club Atletico Boca Juniors in his hometown of Cali, Colombia. Diego Umana, a coach with Deportes Quindío, came calling to see if there were any prospects he could bring up to the professional level. But that day, Umana opted for some of the other team's prospects. In a sport in which opportunities are fleeting and have to be seized at the right time, Chara thought...

Atlanta United delivers the passion of South American football without the pepper spray

ATLANTA -- Franco Escobar's introduction to top-level Argentine soccer should have been one of the most thrilling days of his young life.

A native of Rosario, Escobar began his career with Newell's Old Boys, one of Argentina's leading clubs. His first-team debut in 2015, as fate would have it, was to come against Boca Juniors at the famous Bombonera. That was something straight out of a teenager's dream: jumping straight into the fire, playing in one of the biggest games his nation has to offer,...

Miguel Almiron's journey to MLS Cup: from Asuncion to Atlanta United FC

ASUNCION, Paraguay -- The crumbling stands, patches of red-colored soil under the goal posts and tufts of dense grass down the flanks of the field at Club 3 de Noviembre's stadium in the San Pablo barrio of Asuncion offer a reminder of the humble beginnings of Atlanta United's Miguel Almiron, as well as how far the Paraguayan's career has come.

On Saturday, there will be none of the kinds of hardships Almiron faced at his first club. The 24-year-old will step out to represent Atlanta United...