Toronto FC vs. Atlanta United | 2018 MLS Match Preview

ExLink - 10/28/18 - TORvATL

Toronto FC vs. Atlanta United
2018 MLS Regular Season — Week 35

BMO Field — Toronto
October 28 — 4:30 pm ET

Atlanta United can clinch a first Supporters’ Shield title with a Decision Day presented by AT&T victory over last year’s Shield winners when the Five Stripes meet Toronto FC at BMO Field.

Atlanta maintained a one-point lead over the New York Red Bulls with a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire last Sunday, while Toronto FC are looking to avoid a season-long four-game losing streak to close out a disappointing 2018 season.

This is the second meeting this season, with the teams playing to a third-ever 2-2 draw on Aug. 4 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. After Sebastian Giovinco opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time, Josef Martinez struck for a brace in a 14-minute span early in the second half before Tosaint Ricketts leveled late for the visitors.

Toronto FC

Toronto (9-18-6) dropped a third consecutive game, losing to the rival Montreal Impact, 2-0, at Stade Saputo last Sunday.

Ignacio Piatti put the hosts in front in the 74th minute from the penalty spot after it was determined following Video Review that he was pulled down by Eriq Zavaleta. Piatti put the game away with his 16th goal of the season one minute from full time, cutting inside of Chris Mavinga and past the onrushing Alex Bono to easily tap into the empty net.

“We were a little out of sync early, which led to some transitions, but we were able to find some good opportunities,” head coach Greg Vanney said. “In the end the game is ultimately about making the big plays when the plays are there to be made. We didn’t make the opportunities when we were able to get in on goal, we didn’t finish them and punish them in that way.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M - Victor Vazquez (right knee surgery), F - Jozy Altidore (ankle surgery)

Projected Starting XI
(4-1-2-1-2, right to left)
GK: Alex Bono — Auro, Gregory van der Wiel, Chris Mavinga, Ashtone Morgan — Michael Bradley — Jay Chapman, Jonathan Osorio — Marky Delgado — Sebastian Giovinco, Lucas Janson

  • Notes: Sebastian Giovinco has hit the woodwork nine times this year, as many or more than five MLS teams. It’s also tied for the most by a single player in a season since 2010. … Toronto has lost four of their last five league games (1W), getting shut out three times and scoring multiple goals just once.

Atlanta United

There were some nervy moments, but Atlanta (21-6-6) inched closer to clinching the Shield and clinched a 2019 Concacaf Champions League berth after defeating the Chicago Fire, 2-1, in front of 71,812 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday.

Franco Escobar gave the Five Stripes a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute, the left-footed strike his first MLS goal. Michael de Leeuw leveled for the Fire in the 24th minute, but Atlanta needed just two minutes to regain the lead for good on a Johan Kappelhof own goal.

“There will always be goals to accomplish until the final. At least we’re going to try it,” head coach "Tata" Martino said. “And the fact that the team is in Concacaf Champions League in only the second season is a big accomplishment for the team, and doing so along with setting the league record for wins and tying the points record of Toronto last year is also big for us. We know there are still goals to accomplish, but it’s very important what we have done up to this point.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Sal Zizzo (right knee injury), D - Mikey Ambrose (right knee surgery), M - Miguel Almiron (left hamstring injury), F - Hector Villalba (leg injury)

Projected Starting XI
(4-1-4-1, right to left)
GK: Brad Guzan — Franco Escobar, Michael Parkhurst, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Chris McCann — Eric Remedi — Andrew Carleton, Darlington Nagbe, Julian Gressel, Ezequiel Barco — Josef Martinez

  • Notes: Seven of the MLS-record 30 goals Martinez has scored this season have come from penalty kicks. Only one player in league history has scored more penalty kick goals in a season (Jaime Moreno – nine in 2005). … With a draw or a win, Atlanta will surpass Toronto’s 69 points for the most ever in a MLS season. They have gotten 32 points in road games, tied for the second-most ever.

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Toronto FC 0 wins, 6 goals … Atlanta Untied 0 wins, 6 goals … 3 draws
  • At Toronto: Toronto FC 0 wins, 2 goals … Atlanta United 0 wins, 2 goals … 1 draw
  • Last meeting at Toronto: Toronto FC 2, Atlanta United 2 (April 8, 2017)


Referee: Jair Marrufo
Assistant Referees: Adam Garner, Jeffrey Greeson
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
VAR: Geoff Gamble