In this MLS midweek matchup, defending champions Atlanta United hosted Toronto FC. As the last two teams to win the competition, this should have been a much closer game. Despite having a rocky start to the campaign, Atlanta United have regained form, making a charge up the table. Before the match Toronto FC had the best points per game ratio in the MLS, breathing down the necks of the conference leaders with a few games in hand. But the game finished 2-0 for Atlanta United, who closed the gap on Toronto FC in the league. This tactical analysis will look at exactly how the game was won.
Frank de Boer made two personnel changes from his win against Sporting KC earlier in the week. Maintaining a 4-2-3-1 formation, Brek Shea returned to the starting lineup, replacing veteran Michael Parkhurst. Héctor Villalba also returned to the lineup with Ezequiel Barco leaving the Atlanta camp for international duty.
Greg Vanney, on the other hand, made a whopping six personnel changes after beating Orlando. He too set up his team in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Jordan Hamilton, Jonathan Osorio, Marky Delgado, Justin Morrow, Chris Mavinga and Auro dropping out of the lineup. All but Hamilton made the bench as Ashtone Morgan, Eriq Zavaleta, Richie Laryea, Liam Frasier, Jay Chapman and Ayo Akinola started in their place. This is the first game that Jonathan Osorio and Justin Morrow haven’t started in the 2019 MLS season.
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