After winning back-to-back games at home, Atlanta United sought to carry on its winning ways north of the border when they faced Toronto FC, an Eastern Conference team, in their first-ever meeting of the season. The 5-Stripes, who were without several key players due to international duty, faced a chilly evening at BMO Field as they lost 2-0 on the road. The match was preceded by snowfall earlier in the day.

“You can always find those types of excuses after the game. You can say that we maybe were lacking a little bit of quality, but for me those are excuses,” head coach Gonzalo Pineda said in his post-match press conference. After the home team had three shots in the first twelve minutes of play, Atlanta had its first real chance of the game in the thirteenth minute.

The Reds tried to play out of the back, and the visitors capitalized on a misunderstanding. After snagging a pass, Tyler Wolff discovered Saba Lobjanidze inside the box. With his first touch, the Georgian produced a forceful volley that missed the goal, spoiling what could have been an incredible ending for Atlanta United. Toronto FC did indeed score first after a few minutes of pressing their attack.

Tyrese Spicer became the first player selected overall in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft to score his first goal as a professional in the 35th minute after a combined play.In the 43rd minute, experienced goalkeeper Brad Guzan of Atlanta United made a spectacular stop to thwart Toronto’s second goal. Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne exchanged back heel passes on a short corner kick before Bernardeschi curled the ball into the area with his left foot. Toronto placed a header on the frame from close range, but Atlanta United’s large, bald wall moved fast to stop the shot.

Guzan finished the game with eight saves, two of which came in stoppage time in the second half to deny a late goal by Bernardeschi and a fantastic diving stop in the 89th minute.In the 50th minute, Atlanta had one of their better offensive opportunities of the second half. A tempting cross was sent into the center of the box by Brooks Lennon. In his first-ever MLS start, Jamal Thiaré came up for the header and scored. But Luka Gavran, the goalie for Toronto, made the save.

“The goal gave them some momentum,” McCarty stated. “But we go into half down 1-0 and weren’t overly concerned about not getting back into the game. We felt that we would get chances and it was just a matter of putting one away.”For Atlanta United, Lobjanidze would have another excellent opportunity in the second half. Xande Silva, who entered the game as a replacement in the second half, made a swift throw-in that gave Tristan Muyumba enough room to advance the ball toward the goal. Saba, who happened to be nearby, was given the ball off. In the 66th minute, the winger’s attempt was deflected, resulting in an Atlanta United corner kick.

In the 71st minute, Toronto would put the visitors behind by two goals. The Reds regained control in their defensive half following a few careless passes by Atlanta United. Guzan stopped the first attempt, but Prince Owusu grabbed the rebound. He converted it to increase the score 2-0. Following their journey to Canada, the 5-Stripes will welcome the Chicago Fire on Sunday, March 31, in an attempt to maintain their perfect record at Mercedes-Benz Stadium this season. The kickoff is set at an early hour of 3:30 p.m.

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