What a crazy week... anyways, back to soccer!
So this week has been... wild... to say the least. With Miles Robinson getting arrested, all of the Josef suspension drama, Orlando winning Open Cup and wrapping up with Queen Elizabeth's death (may she rest in peace). All of this craziness may have caused you to forget that matchday is approaching once more.
Atlanta United will face Toronto FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday in an MLS game that will be crucial for the Five Stripes' playoff hopes. I know we've said that about pretty much every game, but this one is for real because they'll be playing one of the teams vying for that seventh-place spot.
Toronto (9-7-14) is 10th in the East and has 34 points in 30 games, just one more than Atlanta. Toronto has 37.2 expected goals for and 51.2 expected goals against - the worst in the league. Despite generally underperforming defensively, their attack thrives when led by Italian internationals Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi who have a combined 13 goals since their arrival in July. However, news was circulating earlier today that Both Insigne and Bernardeschi may not travel with the team after the former was reportedly dealing with a "personal family situation."
Toronto's top scorers are Jonathan Osorio (9 goals, 4 assists), Jesus Jimenez (9 goals, 3 assists), Bernardeschi (7 goals, 2 assists), and Insigne (6 goals, 2 assists).
Atlanta's all-time record against Toronto is 3-4-5. When Atlanta plays at home, the record changes to 2-3-1.
Atlanta United Predicted XI
Toronto FC Predicted XI
How does Atlanta win?
Atlanta really needs its attacking players to get their heads in the game on this one. With Josef out serving a team-imposed suspension, he won't be able to come off the bench and bail the team out in the second half. Players like Thiago Almada, Luiz Araujo and Ronaldo Cisneros have not scored in the past four games, and that is a massive problem when they're being paid to... well... ya know... score?
Part of it is taking shots when you get the chance, but the other part is taking good shots. Lately, these players have not taken many shots and the ones they have taken have been pretty tame. They'll have to change that if they want to get on the scoreboard in this one.
Finally, the same as always - minimize the mistakes at the back. Raul Gudino did a good job of commanding the box against Portland and only conceded two penalty goals. If Atlanta are smart about this, hold together and don't concede first, they may be able to get a result out of this match.