The MLS playoff hopes of Atlanta United and Toronto are hanging by a thread as both sides meet on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in a critical match for each team. Atlanta have lost two in a row, currently trailing FC Cincinnati for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by six points, while the Reds are just a point ahead of the Five Stripes but have played one more game. Internal issues within the Atlanta camp have reared their ugly head once again as the club suspended record goalscorer Josef Martinez for one game because of an alleged locker room altercation with manager Gonzalo Pineda.
Toronto continue to shoot themselves in the foot as a summer full of optimism has been replaced with disappointment so far this fall. Bob Bradley has seen his side in a position to win each of their previous two encounters, failing to close the deal both times against the Los Angeles Galaxy (2-2) and CF Montreal (4-3).
While their newcomers have made some massive contributions to this team’s attack, with the Reds scoring in eight of their last nine games, the Achilles heel for TFC all year has been a lack of organization on the back end, conceding the second-most goals in the Eastern Conference (53).
Atlanta United Major League Soccer form:
Toronto Major League Soccer form:
Atlanta United possible starting lineup:
Gudino; Gutman, Franco, DeJohn, Lennon; Almada, Sosa, Ibarra; Chol, Cisneros, Araujo
Toronto possible starting lineup:
Bono; Laryea, MacNaughton, Mavinga, Criscito; Kaye, Bradley; Insigne; Bernardeschi, Akinola, Nelson