2018 MLS Cup winners Atlanta United face the prospect of another Conference Final this year, coming up against surprise package Toronto FC on October 29th. There is an argument however to say that Frank De Boer’s side might not be the same one that conquered all last year, with the side dropping 11 points from last season and falling from second to third in the overall table, which might make this the upset to root for at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Whilst they have flattered to deceive at times, even during these crucial Play Off games, during De Boer’s first season, the results can’t be argued with too much: they boast homefield advantage in a Conference final and remain the heavy favourites to progress through into yet another MLS Cup final. Our soccer markets had them as third favourites to win the MLS Cup going into the Play Offs at +800, and now boast odds of +350, the second best of the four teams left in the competition.
For Toronto, this year’s Play Offs have been a series of exciting performances and surreal results. After an improved year that saw them jump from 9th to 4th in the Conference table, they opened their Play Offs with a homefield advantage fixture against D.C. United and favourite odds of -180. They won 5-1, with four of their goals coming in the first half of extra-time. They then moved into a daunting road match against top seed NYCFC, but once again dug deep and produced a stunning 1-2 win thanks to two goals from Alejandro Pozuelo.
Whilst it’s hard to overlook the danger an individual like Josef Martinez (who has continued smashing goalscoring record after record again this season) poses for Toronto, it should be said that Brad Guzan and the Atlanta defence have also been superb for most of this season. Guzan’s 14 shutouts were the best in the Conference and the side go into their game against Toronto having not conceded once in their two Play Off games.
For Atlanta, Alejandro Pozuelo has a wealth of experience at both Toronto and several European clubs that could prove pivotal in a matchup as close as this. His two goals against NYCFC took him to 14 for the season, three ahead of Jozy Altidore on 11 and his 13 assists was also the highest in the club, five ahead of Marky Delgado on 8.
Despite coming into this game unbeaten in twelve matches, Toronto are marked as underdogs in our soccer odds, coming in at +280. We have a regular time tie next at +270, with victory for Frank De Boer and Atlanta currently priced at -130.