Toronto FC vs Atlanta United Preview, Predictions, Betting Picks: Expect Pausity of Goals

Alejandro PozueloA Toronto FC side in need of a positive result after tasting defeat last time out welcomes Atlanta United to BMO Field on Saturday (7.30pm ET). The visitors will be searching for more of the same following their victory last time out.

A corner had been turned by Toronto, or so it seemed. They managed to avoid defeat in the league for the first time in a long time when tying with D.C. United at the backend of May. It was a result that prompted them to go on a four-game unbeaten run, which included wins in the Canadian Championship, and a home victory against the Chicago Fire in Major League Soccer. However, it was back to square one last time out, as they came unstuck in New Jersey, losing by two goals to nil against the Red Bulls. Following that disappointing result, the Canadians will be looking to get back on track on home soil.

In contrast, the visitors found exactly what they were looking for last time out, and that was of course all three points. At home to Inter Miami, the Five Stripes got the job done, scoring twice, and conceding zero on their way to a much-needed win, their first in four MLS games.

It’s not all good news for Gonzalo Pineda, though, because there is still the small matter of what is a rather terrible away record to address. The boss will be no doubt be hoping that his team’s recent regaining of the winning thread will spark traveling improvement.

Lack of creativity at home

Toronto’s recent home form is relatively poor, there can be no getting away from that fact. Sure, they won their last home game, beating the Chicago Fire by three goals to two, but they’d lost two on the bounce prior to that, scoring just one goal in the process. In terms of creativity, TFC haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory this season, even at home, where they’ve produced a rather paltry total average of 0.85 expected goals. They’re the worst team in the Eastern Conference in that respect.

With an average of 8.47 per 90 minutes, they’re also the worst team in terms of shots taken, not just in the east, but across the whole of Major League Soccer, which is worrying. These numbers need to improve if they’re to advance to a more flattering league position than 12th. Fortunately, with the likes of Alejandro Pozuelo and Jonathan Osorio in their ranks, it’s not hard to envisage a bit more creativity emerging before the season is done.

Similar woes for Five Stripes

Much like the hosts have struggled to impose themselves at home at times, Saturday’s visitors have found making offensive strides all too trying, all too often on the road. The Five Stripes have just one win to show for their traveling efforts, and a lack of both goals and creativity is one of the main reasons as to why that’s the case. They have scored just five in six, failing to score on two occasions. Their xG average isn’t as meagre as TFC’s at home, but at 1.28, it is not exactly impressive, especially when they have given away an average of 1.50.

Away wins few and far between

It is not often that this fixture has gone the way of the visitors. When the pair last met, in late 2021, the Five Stripes did win at this venue, taking a 0-2 win, but that was only the second away win that this fixture has ever seen. Atlanta United are now unbeaten in three against Toronto, two of which they’ve won. The four previous renewals at this venue have produced three home wins and a tie, so in that respect it is advantage TFC.

The head-to-head record sees Toronto winning 4-3 at present. Interestingly, less than three goals have been scored in each of the last four meetings between these teams.

TFC vs ATLUTD: How to bet this fixture?

If we look at the early betting lines with the American-friendly sportsbooks, the hosts are considered outsiders, which isn’t too unsurprising given their defeat last time out and their overall efforts at home. However, up against an Atlanta United side that has done anything but thrive on the road, the home win may offer a slither of value at +195. Better still, ‘Toronto FC Draw No Bet’ really appeals at +135.

OK, as touched on in this preview above, there’s been a real lack of creativity from the hosts at home, but that’s been the case for the visitors too. If we look at that all-important commodity of goals scored, then TFC have impressed more at home than the Five Stripes have on the road. The hosts have scored an average of 1.57 goals at BMO Field, while Atlanta have scored an average of just 0.83. This difference in end-product suggests that the hosts probably deserve a little bit more respect, as does the fact that they have collected an average of 1.71 point at home, compared to Atlanta’s average of 0.67 points away from home.

Another viable option at the current odds is ‘Under 2.5 Goals’. Neither side sits among the best offensive teams in the Eastern Conference, with both ranking lowly in terms of expected goals and goals scored. In fact, if we combine TFC’s home games with Atlanta’s away games, we get an average of marginally more than 2.0 expected goals per 90 minutes, which is well below the MLS average, so don’t be surprised if this pair produce something of a low-scoring affair on Saturday. So these are the TFC vs ATLUTD predictions and two betting picks for this MLS game preview:

  • Toronto FC Draw No Bet @ best odds of +135 with BetOnline.
  • Under 2.5 Goals @ +125 with Bovada. It’s +120 with EveryGame.