Competition: Major League Soccer – Toronto FC vs. Atlanta United FC
Venue: BMO Field – Saturday, April 8 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)
Match Odds: Toronto 3/5 – Draw 3/1 – Atlanta 4/1
Toronto FC welcome Atlanta United to BMO Field for their first ever meeting on Saturday night, with both sides looking to continue fairly solid starts to the season in the Eastern Conference.
Toronto have yet to lose any of their opening four games this season but they enter the weekend in sixth place as they’ve only managed to seal one win so far.
The 2016 MLS Cup runners-up have looked solid defensively – conceding just two goals – but haven’t been the attacking unit we have become accustomed to watching over the past two seasons.
The Reds need Giovinco to get off the mark. The Atomic Ant has yet to score this term and Toronto will be hoping to take all three points in their second home game of the season here.
Atlanta have surprised many people with just how experienced they’ve seemed in their debut MLS campaign so far. The expansion franchise lost 2-1 to the Red Bulls on the opening weekend but have picked up seven points from a possible nine since and look to be in a great position.
They enter the weekend in second place in the East and could go top with a win depending on Columbus Crew’s result in Chicago earlier on Saturday.
The loss of Josef Martinez to injury is a major blow for Atlanta, who drew 0-0 at Seattle without the Venezuelan star last week. Tata Martino’s side would probably settle for a draw in the second of four-straight road games here.
Toronto goalkeeper Clint Irwin is out after leaving the SKC game with a hamstring strain last week so Alex Bono will start his second game of the season. Ashtone Morgan remains sidelined with a foot injury.
Atlanta are set to be without MLS Player of the Month Josef Martinez for the second-straight week as he continues with his recovery from a quad injury. Zach Loyd is out with a groin problem.
Toronto’s form: D/D/W/D
Atlanta’s form: L/W/W/D
Key Stat: Atlanta have registered 21 shots on target through their first four games – averaging the second-highest amount per game in the league so far.
Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – We’re six weeks into the new season but incredibly Giovinco has yet to get off the mark. He missed the game in Vancouver through injury but has played two-and-a-half games without firing for Toronto. He will be hoping to shine as the Reds look to get their first home win at the second attempt on Saturday.
Toronto FC 2-1 Atlanta United – Atlanta did well to leave Seattle with a clean sheet last week but they conceded several chances and might be in trouble if Giovinco finally finds his form. The Reds are favourites and look primed to get their first home win of the season here.