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Toronto FC vs Atlanta United: Match Preview

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From one boogeyman to another

Toronto FC v Atlanta United - Eastern Conference Finals Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Atlanta United’s draw with Inter Miami was about all we could hope for, but it’s going to take a bit of a miracle to get a result in this weekend’s game against league leaders Toronto FC. The Five Stripes take on TFC at Rentschler Field in Connecticut, as travel to and from Canada is restricted.

SOCCER: OCT 14 MLS - New York Red Bulls at Toronto FC Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

TFC has consistently been one of the top teams in the league over the past few years, and this season is no different. Greg Vanney’s side hold top spot in the Supporters Shield with 38 points, 3 ahead of the next closest side, Philadelphia. Since a quarter-final exit at the MLS is Back tournament, Toronto has gone 9W-2T-2L, and wins over direct challengers like Columbus Crew and the Union have put TFC in the drivers seat. Spanish playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo is the driving force behind Toronto’s stellar campaign. He’s notched 8 goals and 9 assists in 19 games and looks to be the favorite for the MLS MVP. Striker Ayo Akinola has cooled off since breaking out at Disney, but still boasts a respectable tally of 8 goals. That’s some firepower for Atlanta to deal with, and any defensive mistake is sure to be punished.

Atlanta United at Inter Miami David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Atlanta has consistently struggled against Toronto, like Miami. The Five Stripes have a 1W-3T-3L record in all comps versus TFC, including last season’s heartbreaking playoff loss. Still, if there’s one thing 2020 has taught us, it’s that we should expect the unexpected. Speaking of which, Atlanta, on 19 points, is still in the final playoff spot after the Miami draw but only by a thread. A very, very thin thread. Chicago, Miami, and Cincinnati are all within three points of the good guys and have favorable fixtures this weekend. A result at Toronto might be too much to hope for, but with only 5 games left in the season, it may be necessary if Atlanta is to last beyond November 8th.

Predicted Starting XIs

Toronto’s Predicted XI (4-2-3-1)
Atlanta’s Predicted XI (4-2-3-1)

Prediction: Toronto FC 2-0 Atlanta United

The lack of a clinical touch displayed by Miami in Wednesday’s first half won’t be repeated Sunday. Goals from Pozuelo and Akinola will be more than enough to propel Toronto past a toothless Atlanta.