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Tata Martino wants Atlanta United “focused” against Toronto

Now on the verge of winning the Supporters Shield, Tata looks to keep the team focused against Toronto.

MLS: Portland Timbers at Atlanta United FC Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

MLS Decision Day 2018 is coming and Atlanta United is just one win away from winning the Supporters’ Shield. The opponent it will take on, Toronto FC, are the third worst team in the East this year, but going into cold and rainy BMO Field is no easy task.

For Tata Martino, it’s all about focusing on playing at a high level for 90 minutes. “We have to make sure we are focused for 90 minutes in Toronto,” said Martino following Atlanta’s 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire. “Against them, we know it’s going to be difficult, and we have to do our job for the full game.”

After losing to the New York Red Bulls just under a month ago Atlanta knew its window to win the Supporters’ Shield would be tight, yet still in a good position due to the final three games all being against teams eliminated from playoff contention.

After squeaking by the New England Revolution and Chicago Fire, however, and not to mention losing Miguel Almiron for the rest of the regular season, Tata understands the importance of not taking these teams lightly “Lately, we have been playing teams that have been disqualified from the playoffs,” Tata said Sunday. “They still have given us difficult games though. We know we need to compete for 90 minutes. You can’t play mostly a good game, and then have lapses where you lose control of the game.”

interesting to hear Martino talk so bluntly about his team’s lackluster performances in recent weeks. It almost seems as though he’s challenging his squad to play to a level he and we know they are capable of playing. We will all be watching what transpires on Decision Day, and like Tata are hoping to see the team compete and stay focused for the full 90 minutes (Please Toronto, no more late equalizers).