Toronto FC and Atlanta United play to 1-1 Draw
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Saturday, March 4, 2023
Toronto FC picked up their first point of 2023 MLS season as they played Atlanta United to a 1-1 draw.
Atlanta did a great job dictating the tempo of play throughout the first half. They took chances in the attack and forced Johnson to make key saves.
Johnson made an excellent stop in the 40th minute, which was important as it kept the match scoreless and ensured that TFC didn't concede a late goal prior to the end of the half.
Federico Bernardeschi opened the scoring in the 52nd minute when he took full advantage of the available space and struck a nicely placed shot that beat the goalkeeper on the near post.
Atlanta responded less than 10 minutes later as Mattheus Rossetto scored the equalizer. He struck the ball from outside the box, which took a deflection and went into the back of the net.
Ayo Akinola made an excellent defensive play in the 64th minute as he tracked back when Atlanta were on the counterattack following a TFC free-kick.
It looked as though Atlanta had scored the go-ahead goal in the 78th minute, however, the goal was disallowed due to an offside. They continued to push the pace offensively and had another goal scoring opportunity, but Johnson made another timely save to keep the score 1-1.
Johnson was a big factor in the club leaving Atlanta with one point. During his post-match media availability, he mentioned that Atlanta is a tough place to play and build off the result for next weekend's home opener, saying:
"Yeah, I think all things considered, it's a really tough place to play. There are a good opponent. You know what games are like coming here. Traditionally it's going to be a grind. I think everybody came in with the right mentality. Can't ask anything more of the guys."
During coach Bradley's post-match press conference, he complimented Johnson on his performance and mentioned that he is a great communicator on the backline, saying:
"Sean came up big tonight. He made a couple really big saves. Was sharp. Always communicated well behind the line, and you know, when we needed him tonight, he was always there."
Unfortunately for Toronto, striker Adama Diomande was subbed off due to an injury. This is the second straight week that a player in the starting-XI was forced off due to an injury in the first half.
Toronto were already without the services of Lorenzo Insigne, who was forced to sub off in last week's season opener due to an injury. Luckily for the Italian winger, the injury isn't expected to sideline him for a lengthy period of time.
While updating the media on the severity of the injury earlier this week, coach Bradley mentioned that the TFC Designated Player was questionable for tonight's match, and is hopeful that he will be in the lineup for Toronto's home opener at BMO Field next Saturday.
Photo credit: Toronto FC (@TorontoFC - Twitter)