Toronto FC vs Atlanta United Preview: Last year's runners up host high-flying Atlanta
Atlanta United continue tough schedule with a test against Toronto FC | Photo: Icon Sportswire

Atlanta United will face their second consecutive 2016 MLS Cup Finalist on Saturday night as they take on Toronto FC. Atlanta sit in second place in the Eastern Conference, just a point ahead of Toronto who are in sixth.

Both sides boast some of Major League Soccer's biggest stars and all will be on show on Saturday evening.

Team News

Toronto FC: Goalkeeper Clint Irwin will miss the clash against his "former" side due to a hamstring injury. Irwin was selected by Atlanta in the 2016 Expansion Draft but was immediately dealt back to Toronto FC. Defender Ashtone Morgan will also be sidelined for Saturday's game, as well as a number of weeks due to a stress fracture in his foot.

The hosts will have all their stars as the likes of Michael Bradley and Sebastian Giovinco will be available. Toronto could only manage a 0-0 home draw against Sporting Kansas City last time out and will be aiming to get back on track.

Atlanta United: The visitors are still without their star striker in Josef Martinez, but the likes of Miguel Almiron and Kenwyne Jones should be ready to go from the start unlike last week. Jacob Peterson has been ruled out with an ankle problem while Zach Loyd continues to miss time with his groin problem. 

Atlanta played to a 0-0 draw against the reigning champions last week in Seattle, extending an unbeaten run to three games but a win could see them top the Eastern Conference to finish the weekend.

Julian Gressel strikes the ball during Atlanta's 0-0 draw against the Seattle Sounders. (Source: Ted S. Warren/AP Photo)
Julian Gressel strikes the ball during Atlanta's 0-0 draw against the Seattle Sounders. (Source: Ted S. Warren/AP Photo)

What to Watch For

Similarly to last week, the forward role will be interesting as Atlanta continue without their top goalscorer. Kenwyne Jones will likely get the start for Atlanta and will hope to make an impact, using his size and strength as well as aerial ability to keep Toronto on their toes. 

Atlanta's defense has impressed in recent weeks, allowing just one goal in the last three games but will have to keep Giovinco in check on Saturday night. Giovinco has terrorized defenders since moving to Major League Soccer and Atlanta will have to be at their best to keep him at bay. 

Both teams are expected to finish near the top of the Eastern Conference and with all the stars on show, Saturday night should provide plenty of entertainment for both sets of fans.