I don’t know what I expected from today, but it wasn’t that. Toronto FC absolutely tear Atlanta United apart, winning 4-1 and destroying their Supporters’ Shield hopes. That was a real cracker of a performance from the Reds in a year where there hasn’t been a lot to cheer about. So, that was fun.
Nobody knows what the next few months will hold for this club. But that’s one hell of a way to finish a disappointing season. Stay tuned for off-season content from Waking the Red, but for now — I won’t say it’s been fun, but it has been a pleasure.
90’ — Ashtone Morgan also gets a warm reception from fans as he’s replaced by Jason Hernandez, who gets a likely retirement sendoff.
89’ Toronto FC 4-1 Atlanta United — Oh my God Seba. The Italian volleys home into the tightest of spaces between Brad Guzan and the post. Hell of a cross from Chapman as well.
85’ — Jonathan Osorio leaves the pitch for the last time in 2018 to a standing ovation from BMO Field. Jay Chapman comes on to replace him.
83’ Toronto FC 3-1 Atlanta United — The Reds add to their lead with a class goal. Giovinco makes a blistering run from way out wide on the left side in acres of space, and he cuts into the box. He threads an excellent pass across which Delgado smartly avoids, leaving it on a platter for Janson.
77’ Toronto FC 2-1 Atlanta United — Josef Martinez scores possibly the most obnoxious penalty I’ve ever seen. He skips toward the ball and jumps before striking it low to the left side to score. The call was a little soft too, as Ashtone Morgan didn’t seem to make a whole lot of contact with Darlington Nagbe.
69’ — Julian Gressel looks hungry. He puts a crazy curved shot on goal from inside the box which caroms off the bottom of the crossbar and away from the net. Tata Martino also just yanked Ezequiel Barco from the game, deploying Romario Williams with his final sub. Also, the Red Bulls are winning. So there’s that.
64’ — Atlanta have woken up a bit. Julian Gressel just had a goal overturned for offside (without VAR). Both he and, for some reason, Chris Mavinga were pretty angry.
62’ — Seba hits the low left goalpost on a short free kick attempt. I don’t remember the last time he scored one of those, actually. Monterrey?
58’ — Looked like Justin Morrow had scored to make it 3-0, but VAR determines that Lucas Janson was a good bit offside on the initial run.
46’ — We come back out for the second half and Atlanta makes another sub to try and get the Shield back. Jeff Larentowicz is out, here comes Hector Villalba.
45+’ — Martinez desperately chases down a ball rolling through the box but Alex Bono comes up huge and pounces on it on the edge of halftime.
41’ — Josef Martinez will be kicking himself right now. Nick Hagglund gifts him a fantastic opportunity one-on-one with Alex Bono, and the MVP candidate rolls it off the post. It has not been Atlanta’s day so far.
38’ — Julian Gressel has a go from distance but he can’t put it on frame either. Atlanta are really struggling to generate quality chances.
29’ — Tata Martino ain’t happy. He pulls Chris McCann out of the game and puts in Greg Garza.
25’ — Paging Atlanta...
21’ Toronto FC 2-0 Atlanta United — What is going on?! TFC look very positive, and they get another one up on the board after being shut out in two straight games. This move started with a blistering run up the wing from Justin Morrow. Jonathan Osorio pulled off some magic at the top of the box to get it wide to Marky Delgado who finished coolly to make it two-zip for the good guys.
19’ — Darlington Nagbe tries to test Alex Bono with a shot from well outside the box but it curls outside the right post.
16’ — Jonathan Osorio makes Brad Guzan stop him point-blank from a volley, although Oso was a good few feet offside the whole time anyway. Still a good save on what would’ve been a pretty finish.
9’ Toronto FC 1-0 Atlanta United — Lucas Janson puts the Reds up early! He finishes nicely (might’ve been deflected) from inside the box. A nice goal for TFC after some pretty decent attacking moves.
Lucas Janson's deflected strike has Toronto FC up 1-0. pic.twitter.com/5sVGXZyokv— Mitchell Tierney (@mitchelltierney) October 28, 2018
1’ — Kickoff! Anthems have been sung and we’re ready to go. Atlanta kick off and TFC head toward the north end, it looks like.
Lineups are out! TFC are going with pretty much the strongest 11 you could ask for at the moment given who’s healthy, and Atlanta of course, are putting their best foot forward to try and lock up the Supporters’ Shield.
Unless I’m quite mistaken, TFC have never played a game against Atlanta that didn’t end 2-2. Pretty much every meeting between the sides was a banger of a game, although the context was very different.
The Five Stripes have plenty of unreal firepower up front with likely MVP Josef Martinez and other young stars like Miguel Almiron (if he’s healthy enough to play) and Ezequiel Barco. They’ve pretty much been the main storyline in MLS this season.
Toronto definitely won’t have a full-strength lineup, with several players getting a head start on their off-season recovery.
Atlanta will definitely have some history on their minds. They currently sit on 69 points, needing one more to pass 2017 Toronto FC for the all-time points record in MLS. If they win, the record is theirs. They are, though, facing Supporters’ Shield competition from the New York Red Bulls, who could also overtake TFC’s record with a win against Orlando City.
Yes, it sucks that TFC are out of it. And it also sucks that Atlanta could swipe the MLS points record from the Reds in their house. But hey, on their day these are two fun teams to watch. Let’s at least hope for an entertaining game of football to close things out on this miserable rainy Sunday.
I’ll leave you with one of my all-time favourite songs. It’s not super relevant to the match (although I’m sure Jeff and Mic Mac will have us covered in the comments) but it’s a belter and I do not care if y’all don’t like it.
Team news: injuries and suspensions
Toronto FC: Victor Vazquez and Jozy Altidore will definitely miss out, and I’d expect a few more of the older players to watch from the sidelines.
Atlanta United: Defenders Sal Zizzo and Mikey Ambrose will be out, as will depth forward Brandon Vazquez. It also looks likely that Almiron will be kept out with his hamstring injury.
How to Watch
Match date/time: Sunday, Oct. 28, 4:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: TSN 4
Live stream: TSN GO, ESPN+
Radio: TSN 1050 (Toronto)