Atlanta faces stern test in Toronto FC


Two potent attacking teams will be on display on Saturday as star-laden Toronto FC will host Atlanta United, which has displayed plenty of attacking verve through the first four games in its maiden MLS season.

Having already made long road trips to Minnesota and Seattle, Atlanta's four road points are an impressive early haul and a trip to the intimidating BMO Field will be a true test of its strong early form.

"It's tough to win games in this league on the road, as we all know," Atlanta defender Michael Parkhurst said. "We're going in there to try to win the game but also know that any result is a good result, if we're able to take points away. It's going to take a team effort. Guys are going to have to step up."

Josef Martinez has five of Atlanta's goals but he'll remain out of action with a quad injury, while Toronto, with a lineup that features Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco, has made a slow start offensively with only three goals in four games. It will be hoping its star power can get on track at home.

Defensively, Atlanta (2-1-1) has been just as impressive in having conceded only three times. They will be up against a strong Toronto back line that has only conceded twice and will see Justin Morrow back from injury.

However, Toronto (1--0-3) will be without starting goalkeeper Clint Irwin, who picked up a hamstring injury last week, and will start backup Alex Bono for the next four to five weeks. Bono's no stranger to starting as he played 16 times last season when Irwin missed almost three months due to injury.

"I've been in this situation before. That's how I got the opportunity last year," said Bono, who was Toronto's first pick and sixth overall in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. "I got my string of games last year by coming off the bench. I prepare for every game as if I'm starting and I really think that's a huge mentality for any goalkeeper at any level.

"As we've seen here at TFC, you never know what's going to happen."

What to Read Next