170407 Match Preview

Match Preview: Atlanta United at Toronto FC

This weekend Atlanta United embark on their first journey to Canada as they prepare to face Toronto FC on Saturday. Atlanta enters the match coming off a 0-0 draw against the reigning MLS Champion Seattle Sounders and look to remain unbeaten in four-straight matches. After reaching the MLS Cup Final last year, Toronto have yet to be defeated this season with one win and three draws under their belt. Kickoff between the Eastern Conference opponents is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and will be locally broadcasted on FOX Sports South.

Atlanta United (2-1-1)

Atlanta currently sit second in the Eastern Conference standings, just three points behind Columbus Crew and the expansion side has a game in hand. Last week’s scoreless draw in Seattle marked the first match without a goal for Atlanta, who have a total of 11 through four matches this season. But the deadlocked contest was not due to a lack of chances or attacking play. Atlanta’s high press and quick transitions were in full force, especially after their number 10 Miguel Almirón subbed on in the second half. After returning from international duty, it’s likely we’ll see Almirón and Carlos Carmona back in their regular starting positions.

They’re just four games into their inaugural season but Atlanta’s defensive efforts have been impressive as of late. Led by the center back pairing of team captain Michael Parkhurst and Leandro González Pirez, the back line is searching for their third-straight clean sheet.

Atlanta United will again be without MLS Player of the Month Josef Martinez who is still sidelined with a quad injury.

Toronto FC (1-0-3)

Heading into week six of MLS play, Toronto hold sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings and are undefeated in all four of their matches so far this season. However, the Reds have yet to rejuvenate their inspiring goal-scoring rhythm from last season with four goals so far in their 2017 campaign, tied for the third-fewest in the east.

Toronto’s roster is highlighted by their three designated players including U.S. internationals Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, as well as one of the league’s most dangerous playmakers in Sebastian Giovinco. The 30-year-old Italian has scored a total of 43 goals in his past two seasons with the Canadian side and earned the league MVP honor in 2015.

Toronto have been rock-solid defensively, recording three clean sheets on the year and only allowing two goals, however they will be without starting goalkeeper Clint Irwin who suffered a hamstring injury last week vs Sporting KC.

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