Our prediction for this MLS match:
Atlanta United will look to extend their winning run to three games when they take on Toronto at their Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Thursday morning. The Five Stripes have been showing signs of improvement of late, and, no doubt, that has something to do with Josef Martinez’s return to the starting XI. The Venezuela international, who scored the winner against Los Angeles FC, will be the man to watch in the home team.
Both Adams and Hyndman are sidelined with injuries, while Ibarra, Luis Araujo, and Mulraney are closing in on returns. The Reds, on the other hand, aim to bounce back from a 2-1 loss to New England Revolution. Considering that Toronto have been struggling at the back in recent weeks, we are tempted to put our money on the in-form hosts. All Akinola, Endoh, and Dwyer are out of contention through injuries for the visiting team.
Highlighted Player (Josef Martinez):
Josef Martinez started his senior career at Caracas, but he made no more than 36 league appearances for the Venezuelan outfit from 2010 to 2012. Martinez then moved to Europe and the 170-cm tall striker scored 4 goals in 34 appearances for the capital club. In the 2013/2014 season he played for fellow Swiss outfit Thun (on loan) and on June 7, 2014 he signed a contract with Serie A team Torino.
In December, 2017 Josef Martinez scored his first ever goal in the Italian top flight in a 2-2 draw with Palermo. The Venezuela international currently plays (on loan) for Atlanta United in MLS and he made his debut for Gerardo Martino’s team against New York Red Bulls. Speaking of his international career, Martinez made his Venezuela debut against El Salvador, coming from the bench after 76 minutes.
On November 10, 2016 he scored a hat-trick for La Vinotinto in a thrilling 5-0 victory over Bolivia and it has to be noted that he has four caps (two goals) for Venezuela U20 team.
Highlighted Team (Toronto FC):
Toronto is a club based in Canada, but they have been competing in Major League Soccer since 2007. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment own both the soccer club and National Hockey League’s Toronto Maple Leafs. BMO Field is the club’s home ground and the capacity of the stadium is 30.000.
The Canadian outfit impressed in the 2016 MLS Cup and they faced Seattle Sounders in the title game at BMO Field. However, the Canadians were more than unfortunate not to lift the silverware as they were beaten by the Sounders on penalties.
Speaking of the Canadian Championship, Toronto FC won their fifth domestic title in 2016, with the team beating Vancouver Whitecaps in the final of the tournament. Montreal Impact are considered the club’s biggest rivals and there have always been fireworks in meetings between the two Canadian sides. Toronto FC’s home kit is red and it is no surprise they are nicknamed the Reds. It has to be noted that the club was founded back in 2005.