MX23RW : Sunday, December 5 16:15:56| >> :600:2596530:2596530:
Oct 17, 2021 at 12.30am UK at BMO Field
TorontoToronto
0-2
AtlantaAtlanta United

Achara (24'), Delgado (90+2')
Auro (83')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Araujo (45+2'), Moreno (90+7')
Rossetto (16'), Walkes (90+8')
Barco (84')

Preview: Toronto vs. Atlanta United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Major League Soccer clash between Toronto and Atlanta United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

What has been a torrid season for Toronto FC is finally nearing an end, yet the Canadian outfit will look to finish the campaign on a strong note, starting with the visit of Atlanta United on Sunday evening.

For Atlanta, hopes of extending their season into the playoffs remain and the 2018 Major League Soccer Cup winners could move into a top-seven spot this weekend with a victory, should other results go their way.


Match preview

Atlanta United players react after Philadelphia Union scored an an own goal on June 20, 2021© Reuters

Having lifted the MLS Cup in only their second season as a franchise club back in 2018, Atlanta backed up their victory with a semi-final place the following season, whilst securing consecutive trophy wins with their maiden US Open Cup triumph.

Dropping to their lowest ever finish as an MLS club in last year's disrupted campaign, Atlanta have somewhat bounced back this season and remain in the hunt of a playoff spot.

Currently just outside the top seven, Atlanta are one of five sides separated by three points, starting with themselves down in eighth, going up all the way to Orlando City in fourth.

Six games of the regular season remain for Atlanta to climb into the playoff spots, with a crucial matchup against sixth-placed New York City FC on the horizon, after their tie against Toronto.

In fact, Sunday's meeting will be one of two the pair have against each other before the season concludes, with Atlanta targeting six points in their playoff hunt.

Despite their more advantageous league position over the Canadian side, it is not a shoo-in Atlanta will get the results they crave, given their shaky form over Toronto in recent years.

With only one win in the last four matches between the two, Atlanta will be hoping the match goes the way it did the last time they played each other earlier this year, when the Five Stripes edged past their opponents 1-0.

Toronto FC players celebrate after a goal by forward Patrick Mullins on June 24, 2021© Reuters

A victory would be much welcomed for Toronto manager Javier Perez, whose side are currently on course for their worst finish in MLS history.

MLS Cup winners themselves as recently as 2017, their fall from grace has come at a dreadful time for a side that were threatening to win the CONCACAF Champions League not too long ago.

Finishing as runners-up in the tournament during their MLS Cup-winning season, defeat to Mexican side Guadalajara in the final denied Toronto a famous double.

Remarkably, Toronto could still find themselves competing in the 2022 edition of the tournament, should they go all the way and secure an eighth Canadian Championship title.

It will not be easy for Toronto, who face Pacific FC in the semi-finals next month, before a potential showdown for the title with fellow MLS club Montreal in the final.

Success in the competition closer to home will without doubt gloss over what has been a season to forget for the side from South-West Canada.

Toronto Major League Soccer form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • L

Toronto form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L

Atlanta United Major League Soccer form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W



Team News

Toronto FC interim head coach Javier Perez looks on during the first half against New York City FC at BMO Field on August 7, 2021© Reuters

Whilst their performances on the pitch have been poor, their luck with injuries has not been much better and Toronto will be missing a number of key players once more for the visit of Atlanta.

Chris Mavinga (abdominal), Dominic Dwyer (abdominal), Jordan Perruzza (back), Eriq Zavaleta (concussion) and Tsubasa Endoh (abdominal) are all expected to return to the fold soon, but will be absent for their next fixture.

Two players who will not feature for the hosts again this season are Ralph Priso and Ayo Akinola, whose campaigns were ended by a broken ankle and an anterior cruciate ligament injury respectively.

However, perhaps Toronto's biggest miss will be veteran striker Jozy Altidore, who has been absent since August following foot surgery and will likely sit the rest of the campaign out.

Similarly, Atlanta will be without their fair share of players for this clash, most notably star striker Josef Martinez, who is missing through a knee injury sustained in their recent defeat to Montreal.

Martinez has been a constant source of goals for Atlanta since joining in 2017, and Perez will be keen to see his talisman return before the season finishes, especially if the Five Stripes make it to the playoffs.

Erick Torres (COVID-19), Jurgen Damm (muscle), Amar Sejdic (muscle) and Emerson Hyndman (ACL) will also miss the match against Toronto, yet Jake Mulraney could see himself return to the starting 11.

The Irish-born midfielder scored Atlanta's only goal in the defeat to Montreal and has not started any of their last four matches.

Toronto possible starting lineup:
Bono; Laryea, Lawrence, Gonzalez, Auro; Shaffelburg, Osorio, Bradley, Delgado, Achara; Soteldo

Atlanta United possible starting lineup:
Guzan; Robinson, Franco, Walkes; Hernandez, Lennon, Mulraney, Sosa, Bello; Chol, Barco


SM words green background

We say: Toronto 0-2 Atlanta United

Atlanta need the points whilst Toronto do not and despite their stuttering record in recent years against the Canadian side, expect the 2018 MLS Cup winners to come out fighting in this one.

They may be without their biggest goal threat in Martinez, but Atlanta should still have enough firepower to see off a depleted and disappointing Toronto side.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or draw in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Draw:data


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How you voted: Toronto vs Atlanta

Toronto
12.5%
Draw
25.0%
Atlanta United
62.5%
16
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Atlanta United FC forward Josef Martinez (7) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against DC United at Audi Field on August 24, 2021
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Tables

Eastern Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England34227565412473
2Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia341412848351354
3Nashville SCNashville341218455332254
4New York City FCNY City341491156362051
5Atlanta UnitedAtlanta34131294537851
6Orlando City34131295048251
7New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls34139123933648
8DC United34145155654247
9Columbus Crew34138134645147
10CF MontrealMontreal341210124644246
11Inter MiamiInter Miami34125173653-1741
12Chicago Fire3497183654-1834
13Toronto34610183966-2728
14FC CincinnatiCincinnati3448223774-3720

Western Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England34227565412473
2Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia341412848351354
3Nashville SCNashville341218455332254
4New York City FCNY City341491156362051
5Atlanta UnitedAtlanta34131294537851
6Orlando City34131295048251
7New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls34139123933648
8DC United34145155654247
9Columbus Crew34138134645147
10CF MontrealMontreal341210124644246
11Inter MiamiInter Miami34125173653-1741
12Chicago Fire3497183654-1834
13Toronto34610183966-2728
14FC CincinnatiCincinnati3448223774-3720

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