PORTLAND — Defender Liam Ridgewell scored the equalizer for Portland some four minutes after Atlanta went ahead and the Timbers settled for a 1-1 draw with the expansion United on Sunday.
Atlanta rookie Julian Gressel scored from the top of the box, getting past the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Jake Gleeson in the 46th minute. It was Gressel's first MLS goal.
Ridgewell then headed in the equalizer, and celebrated with his trademark "Ridgy Roll" on the turf for the sellout crowd at Providence Park.
The Timbers (5-3-3) had a good chance in stoppage time but David Guzman's shot caromed off the left post.
Atlanta (3-4-3) had dropped its last two matches, including last week's 3-1 loss at NYCFC. Portland was the United's sixth road game in its last seven.
Gressel's goal gave Atlanta 20 for the season, pulling United even with Toronto atop the Eastern Conference. Josef Martinez leads United with five goals.
Ridgewell's goal also gave Portland 21 for the season, matching Houston atop the West. Fanendo Adi leads the Timbers with six goals.
Diego Valeri returned to the Timbers after missing two games because of a hip flexor.
Portland was coming off a 3-0 loss at San Jose.
There was a scary moment early in the first half when Atlanta winger Yamil Asad took a ball to the head at close range and fell limp to the turf. He returned to the game and it was unclear if he had been checked for a concussion.
It was Ridgewell's first goal of the season. He missed six games because of a foot injury.
Gressel was the eighth overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. Born in Germany, he was a four-year starter at Providence.