ExLink - 08/04/18 - ATLvTOR

Atlanta United vs. Toronto FC | 2018 MLS Match Preview

Atlanta United vs. Toronto FC
2018 MLS Regular Season — Week 23

Mercedes-Benz Stadium — Atlanta
August 4 - 4 pm ET


The current MLS Supporters’ Shield leaders will host last year’s runaway winners when Atlanta United meet Toronto FC Saturday afternoon at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The Five Stripes have lost just once in their last 11 games and have a four-point cushion atop the league table, while Toronto have won back-to-back games for the first time this season and the now-healthy Reds appear to be on a climb up the Eastern Conference standings.

Each of the first two meetings between Atlanta and Toronto have ended in 2-2 draws.

Atlanta United

Atlanta (14-4-5) halted the Montreal Impact’s strong run of form at Stade Saputo, winning 2-1 last Saturday night.

Josef Martinez continued his torrid scoring pace, netting a brace to increase his total to a remarkable 24 goals in 23 games. That moves him within three goals of the MLS regular-season record held by Roy Lassiter, Chris Wondolowski and Bradley Wright-Phillips, as Atlanta extended their unbeaten streak to four games.

“There’s nothing else to do when a player performs like that,” Tata Martino said of Martinez. “We just hope it lasts the entire season. When a goal scorer is performing at such a high level, you just have to let him be.”

  • Suspended: D - Franco Escobar
  • Suspended after next caution: D - Michael Parkhurst, F - Romario Williams
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Greg Garza (shoulder surgery), M - Darlington Nagbe (right adductor injury), D - Sal Zizzo (right knee injury), D - Mikey Ambrose (right knee injury)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Brad Guzan — Miles Robinson, Michael Parkhurst, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Chris McCann — Julian Gressel, Jeff Larentowicz — Hector Villalba, Miguel Almiron, Ezequiel Barco — Josef Martinez

  • Notes: Martínez needs just four goals to set the new MLS record for most goals in a single season. He has one goal in one appearance against Toronto. … Atlanta United have lost just once in their last 11 MLS matches (6W-4D), conceding multiple goals just once.

Toronto FC

Toronto FC (6-11-4) made it consecutive league wins over the Chicago Fire and four victories in a row in all competitions when they defeated the Fire, 3-0, at BMO Field Saturday night.

Jozy Altidore opened the scoring on a rebound, his first league goal since bagging a brace in a 3-1 home win over Real Salt Lake in March. Twenty minutes later, the in-form Jonathan Osorio made it 2-0 and Sebastian Giovinco clinched the win with a deflected strike one minute from full time.

“[The game against Atlanta] comes at a good time. We’re trending in the right direction, had our best half I think of probably the season in-league in the second half last game,” Greg Vanney said. “I thought our rhythm came back, some of the swagger that we know of our group started to arrive again.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Drew Moor (quadricep strain), D - Auro (hamstring strain)

Projected Starting XI
(3-1-4-2, right to left)
GK: Alex Bono — Gregory van der Wiel, Eriq Zavaleta, Chis Mavinga — Michael Bradley — Ashtone Morgan, Victor Vazquez, Jonathan Osorio, Justin Morrow — Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore

  • Notes: Giovinco has 10 goals+assists since the start of June. He had six in the first three months of the MLS season. … Toronto have lost one of their last four MLS games (2W-1D) after dropping three straight matches. They have won consecutive league game for the first time since last Sept.-Oct.

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Atlanta United 0 wins, 4 goals … Toronto FC 0 wins, 4 goals … 2 draws
  • At Atlanta: Atlanta United 0 wins, 2 goals … Toronto FC 0 wins, 2 goals … 1 draw
  • Last meeting at Atlanta: Atlanta United 2, Toronto FC 2 (Oct. 22, 2017)


Referee: Armando Villarreal
Assistant Referees: Kyle Atkins, Cameron Blanchard
4th Official: Marcos DeOliveira
VAR: Guido Gonzales