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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.

Toronto can maintain their 100% record at BMO Field in the 2024 MLS campaign when they host Atlanta United on Saturday afternoon.

Last weekend, the Reds suffered their first defeat of the domestic campaign, losing 2-1 to New York City FC, while the Five Stripes defeated Orlando City 2-0.

Match preview

© Reuters

Faced with adversity for the first time all season, we will see how Toronto respond after squandering an early lead in the Bronx a week ago.

It was the first time John Herdman‘s side conceded in MLS this year, while they failed to do anything with their man advantage in the second half.

TFC had gone 309 minutes without conceding in this competition before a sensational free-kick goal from Santiago Rodriguez, making it the fourth-longest such streak in their MLS history.

The Reds are also off to the fourth-best start in club history, having claimed seven points from three domestic encounters and posting three clean sheets.

Saturday will be the first of back-to-back league fixtures for them at BMO Field, with this side ending a three-match losing run at home in league play thanks to a 1-0 triumph over Charlotte FC earlier this month.

They have not won consecutive MLS encounters at BMO Field since defeating Charlotte and the Portland Timbers by a combined score of 7-1 in between July and August 2022.

Atlanta United midfielder Edwin Mosquera (21) celebrates on November 8, 2023© Reuters

After failing to score in their opening regular-season affair versus the Columbus Crew (1-0 loss), Atlanta have responded strongly, winning consecutive matches in convincing fashion.

The Five Stripes only managed two efforts on target against the Crew but have registered nine and seven, respectively, in their last two matches, winning both of those fixtures by a combined margin of 6-1.

Gonzalo Pineda has been impressed with the creativity that his side have brought to the table when in possession, but more than that, his players have shown over the past two weeks an ability to maintain advantages, something we rarely saw from them in 2023.

Through three domestic fixtures in 2024, the Five Stripes are tied with Toronto and the Vancouver Whitecaps for the fewest goals conceded in MLS thus far (two).

This team have struggled to come away with three points away from home, winless in six successive domestic contests outside of Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the regular season and playoffs, with their last road triumph coming at Lumen Field versus the Seattle Sounders in August of last year (2-0).

Atlanta United are undefeated in their last three MLS encounters with Toronto but have not beaten them at BMO Field since 2021 (2-0).

Toronto Major League Soccer form:

Atlanta United Major League Soccer form:

Team News

Toronto FC forward Lorenzo Insigne (24) celebrates on March 3, 2024© Reuters

Raoul Petretta is questionable for Toronto this weekend with a groin strain, as is Kevin Long, who is dealing with a sore foot, Jonathan Osorio has an issue with his hip and Brandon Servania is dealing with a knee injury.

Richie Laryea and Sean Johnson are expected to miss this match due to thigh problems, Nicksoen Gomis has a wrist issue and Deybi Flores will be on international duty with Honduras.

Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty scored his first professional goal in their defeat to New York City, Alonso Coello picked up his first career MLS assist, Matty Longstaff made his first career start in this league and the first overall pick at the 2024 MLS SuperDraft, Tyrese Spicer, made his TFC debut.

Because of the international window, several Atlanta players could be unavailable this weekend, including Caleb Wiley (USA Under-23), Bartosz Slisz (Poland) and the joint top-goalscorer in MLS, Giorgos Giakoumakis (Greece).

Ajani Fortune was called up to the Trinidad and Tobago squad for their CONCACAF Nations League playoff with Canada, which, should they win, would earn them a berth at the Copa America this summer, while Thiago Almada is with the Argentina Under-23 side and Luis Abram was named to the Peruvian national team.

Giakoumakis and Saba Lobzhanidze netted in their victory over Orlando City in what was the 200th appearance in Atlanta colours for goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who made three stops to collect a clean sheet.

Toronto possible starting lineup:
Gavran; O’Neill, Long, Rosted; Bernardeschi, Thompson, Coello, Marshall-Rutty; Longstaff, Insigne; Akinola

Atlanta United possible starting lineup:
Guzan; Lennon, Gregersen, Williams, Morales; Slisz, Muyumba; Lobzhanidze, Firmino, Silva; Etienne

SM words green background

We say: Toronto 1-1 Atlanta United

While both sides have shown to be potent in the attacking third early into the new campaign, they have also been pretty solid defensively, and we expect to see a close encounter this weekend between two sides in high spirits.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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