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Preview: Toronto FC heads to Atlanta for final MLS away game of 2021

The Reds are looking to break a four-match winless run.

MLS: Philadelphia Union at Toronto FC Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

For their final away day of the 2021 MLS season, Toronto FC heads to playoff-chasing Atlanta United with eyes on a first league win in four games.

Javier Perez’s men have drawn their last two games against CF Montreal and Philadelphia Union respectively, so a preparatory victory against Atlanta would be the perfect result ahead of TFC’s highly anticipated Canadian Championship semi-final clash with Pacific FC.

Kickoff is set for 6:00 pm EST at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with the game available to watch live on TSN.

Having recorded eight points from their last six MLS games, Toronto will be looking to finish strong in their last two fixtures of the regular season. Jozy Altidore is the man in form for the Reds with two goals in his last two appearances. The American started his first game since August 8th and looks set to retain his place in the XI.

Altidore is now the Reds’ joint-top scorer in MLA along with Jonathan Osorio with four strikes.

With two defeats out of two against Atlanta this season, TFC will look to their second all-time top scorer to fire them to a morale-boosting victory.

Saturday’s hosts have won three of their last five games and currently sit sixth in the Eastern Conference, three points clear of the New York Red Bulls in eighth.

In their last match, Atlanta came from 1-0 down to beat Inter Miami 2-1 thanks to a 73rd minute winner from Josef Martínez. The Venezuelan is the home side’s leading scorer with 11 MLS goals in 21 matches this year, and while he looks set to feature on Saturday, his compatriot on the opposing side will not.

In his pre-match press conference, Perez confirmed that Yeferson Soteldo has been ruled out for the next couple of games “at least.” There is now a huge possibility that the Venezuela international may not feature again for TFC in 2021.

Goalkeeper Alex Bono could also miss out on Saturday after sustaining an injury in mid-week training. Ayo Akinola, Ralph Priso and Tsubasa Endoh remain long-term absentees.

Other than that, everyone who featured against Philadelphia has been deemed fit and injury-free, but with the CanChamp semi-final up next, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Perez drastically altered his XI and rested key players for the trip to Atlanta.

Toronto’s last affair with Atlanta was quite the ill-tempered one as both sides went down to ten men during the final 10 minutes of play. While Atlanta may have won the last two matchups, TFC have dominated this fixture over the years, going unbeaten in seven of the 10 total encounters against their Eastern Conference rival.

Ultimately, domestic silverware is still on the table for Javier Perez and co., so expect to see some young guns in the starting lineup and/or play a good chunk of minutes in Atlanta this weekend.

Predicted Lineups:

Atlanta United: Guzan; Robinson, Franco, Walkes; Lennon, Rossetto, Ibarra, Bello; Araujo, Baco, Martínez

Toronto FC: Westberg; Auro, Bradley, Zavaleta, Morrow; Okello, Delgado; Marshall-Rutty, Pozuelo, Nelson; Altidore