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Game Thread: Toronto FC 0-2 Atlanta United (FT)

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Who will win the battle of the last two MLS Cup winners?

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Toronto FC John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

FT — TFC lose to Atlanta United for the first time. Goals from Tito Villalba and Julian Gressel sink the Reds, who will try to bounce back at home on Saturday.

88’ — Martinez is called offside again, so another Atlanta United goal is denied. He passed it across the face of goal for Dion Pereira, who put it into the empty goal, an exact copy of the goal that was denied earlier.

86’ — Two changes for Atlanta United. Tito Villalba comes off for Dion Pereira and Julian Gressel makes way for Jeff Larentowicz, who’s on for his 399th MLS appearance.

82’ — Jonathan Osorio goes down too easily in the Atlanta penalty area and receives a yellow card for diving.

77’ — Pity Martinez crashes a free kick off the crossbar.

70’ — Michael Parkhurst comes on to replace Brek Shea.

67’ — Toronto FC 0-2 Atlanta United — Moments after a goal was called back for an offside, Julian Gressel deflects the ball off Laurent Ciman and into the ball of the net. Atlanta lead by two.

65’ — Villalba looked to have scored a second goal, but Toronto FC get lucky. Josef Martinez was offside, and the goal was called back.

61’ — Atlanta want a penalty after one of their players fell down in the penalty area, but the referee doesn’t give it, or check the VAR.

60’ — Greg Vanney makes his third and final change before the hour mark, bringing Terrence Boyd on to replace Ayo Akinola.

52’ — Greg Vanney makes his second change in two minutes, as Jonathan Osorio comes on for Nick DeLeon.

51’ — Justin Morrow comes off the bench to replace Ashtone Morgan.

50’ — Akinola and Chapman link up nicely but Akinola can’t get his shot on target.

49’ — Josef Martinez lets it fly from distance but his shot goes wide.

46’ — The second half is underway.

HT — The first half ends at 1-0. After missing a few early chances, Toronto FC conceded in the 17th minute in the form of a Tito Villalba tap in. With plenty of firepower on the bench, Toronto FC will be hoping for a better second half.

41’ — Tito Villalba tries to score the goal of the season but hits the post.

27’ — Michael Bradley intercepts a pass from Brad Guzan, and the ball goes back toward the Atlanta goal, but spins just wide for a goal kick.

23’ — Laryea runs around Brek Shea and gets the ball to Nick DeLeon, who shoots it over the bar.

20’ — Richie Laryea gets a yellow card for re-entering the field of play without the referee’s permission.

17’ — Toronto FC 0-1 Atlanta United — Alex Bono makes an amazing save to deny a free kick from Pity Martinez, but Josef Martinez crosses the rebound in for Tito Villalba, who taps it home from a few yards out. Nothing Bono could really do there.

15’ — Josef Martinez has Atlanta’s best chance to score thus far, but fires it just wide. Alex Bono made a nice diving stop to get his fingertips to it just in case.

8’ — Nick DeLeon tries to slide the ball across the face of goal for Akinola, but a defender gets a foot on it. Chapman skies the follow up attempt. TFC are looking dangerous early on.

5’ — Ayo Akinola was in on goal, but Gonzalez Pirez charges back and gets the ball away.

1’ — The game is underway at Mercedes-Benz Stadium!


Lineups

Toronto FC:

A ton of rotation for Greg Vanney’s side, seven changes in total. Alex Bono gets a chance to prove himself, as does Eriq Zavaleta. After scoring in Orlando, Jay Chapman gets a start, and Ayo Akinola, Ashtone Morgan, Liam Fraser and Richie Laryea all get valuable minutes. TFC have plenty of firepower off the bench, which could trouble defenders as they tire late in the game.

Atlanta United:

Preview

Toronto FC continue their busy start to the month in Atlanta on Wednesday evening, as they travel south to take on the reigning MLS Cup champions, Atlanta United.

Atlanta United, much like TFC did last season, are suffering from a bit of an MLS Cup hangover. After eight matches, the Five Stripes are currently 9th in the Eastern Conference standings with 11 points. With a few games in hand, they shouldn’t be too worried yet, but as TFC learned the hard way in 2018, they can’t take any game for granted.

Toronto FC are sitting in 4th place in the Eastern Conference, with 16 points through eight games, but with three games in hand over all three of the teams above them.

The Philadelphia Union and D.C. United currently share top spot with 20 points through 11 games, and the Montreal Impact are in third with 17 points through 11. TFC will be looking for at least a draw in Atlanta so that they can pass Montreal and jump into third place ahead of another busy week. With both Philadephia and D.C. coming to Toronto over the next seven days, picking up points against Atlanta is very important.

There’s a big question ahead of tonight’s game. Will Quentin Westberg get another start and remain TFC’s starting goalkeeper or will Alex Bono get some minutes to try and win back his job? Only time will tell.

There is one thing that every good game thread must have, of course, and that’s the song. As Mitchell mentioned on Saturday, Charlie is in Europe, so instead of him picking a reasonable song choice that has some kind of connection to the game, I'm just going to go with another version of Old Town Road.

Team news: Injuries & suspensions

Toronto FC:

  • Questionable: F - Jozy Altidore (hamstring)
  • Questionable: D - Drew Moor (calf tightness)

Atlanta United:

  • Out: D - George Bello (right adductor)
  • Out: M - Kevin Kratz (calf injury)
  • Out: D - Mikey Ambrose (right meniscus)
  • Out: F - Brandon Vazquez (knee)

How to watch

Match date/time: Wednesday, May 8th. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. ET

TV channel: TSN 4/5

Radio: TSN 1050

Live stream: TSN GO, ESPN+