Updated: Jul 28
Atlanta United welcomes Toronto to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the second game of the season following a rollercoaster of a game against San Jose which Atlanta won 2-1 with two ridiculous late goals from MLS player of the week Thiago Almada. There are a number of interesting storylines in this match, new Designated Player Giorgos Giakoumakis finally has his visa and is cleared to play, Atlanta United is looking to level their record against Toronto(4 wins, 4 draws, and 5 losses) , and the pressure will be on Federico Bernardeschi and Thiago Almada for their respective teams to be the difference makers for their teams.
Atlanta United Roster
Looking first at Atlanta United the only changes will be the likely inclusion of some of the winter transfer window's signings. Giakoumakis will be allowed to play for the team but it is unlikely he will start as the Friday practice will be his first with the team and his match fitness is questionable as his last full 90 was on January 14th when he played 16 minutes off of the bench including a 90th minute goal for Celtic to win 2-0. He will most likely be subbed on around the 60th minute. Looking at the other two major signings, Luis Abram and Miguel Berry, they both may earn a starting spot in this match. They have been training with the team for a while and have gotten some minutes off of the bench in the season opener.
If Abram does get his start it will be interesting to see which of Miles Robinson and Juanjo Purata are dropped for him to replace. If it was up to me I would actually push Miles up to play defensive midfielder over Rossetto. This is because Rossetto didn't have a great game against San Jose, Robinson has played as a DM before, and with Robinson and Ibarra playing as defensive midfielders we would have a very compact defensive setup in the middle of the park which could be important for defending against the incisive runs of Bernardeschi.
Toronto FC Roster
Looking north to Toronto their expected lineup will be very similar to the opener, a 3-2 loss to D.C. United that saw Lorenzo Insigne exit the game early with a leg injury which is expected to put him out of this game, although Bob Bradley hasn't officially ruled him out yet with the Italian star reportedly training on his own on Thursday.
As tempting as it is to look at their massive defensive failures last season go with 3-1 I will be slightly more constrained and say 2-1. It also feels like Sean Johnson always plays at least decently against us, which is definitely a part of my logic behind the slightly more restrained prediction. Luiz Araujo is going to have a far better game on Saturday than in the home opener, the penalty miss got in his head and messed him up the whole game, so he is going to play great and score off a great solo run into the right side of the box and beat Johnson with ease in the 35th minute. Then Bernardeschi is going to score immediately after half time when we always aren't really set and get caught sleeping so much, a nice outside of the box goal in the 50th minute. Then Araujo will play a great through ball for Giakoumakis in the 80th minute for the winner.