The duel between CF Montreal and Atlanta United was played evenly for 87 minutes, but it seemed that the visitors were one man less from the opening whistle.
At least that’s what Quebecer Samuel Piette thought after the Bleu-blanc-noir lost 4-1 on Saturday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“At one point in the first half I wanted to ask the referee to count the Atlanta players on the field because I felt like they were playing with one or two more men. “They were everywhere on the field,” said the captain of the Montreal team.
After verification, Atlanta United (13-8-10) was indeed playing with the regulation number of players, but the second-best attack in MLS showed why it should be taken seriously.
Dominated during the first 30 minutes of play, CF Montreal (11-15-4) allowed two quick goals, those of Xande Silva and Thiago Almada, but it was Giorgos Giacoumakis, from the first moments of the second half, that did damage. the most.
Giacoumakis took advantage of the generosity of defender Gabriele Corbo to beat goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois, giving his team a 3-1 lead and joining Luciano Acosta and Hany Mukhtar atop the MLS leading scorers with 15.
Coach Hernán Losada also had some difficulty understanding what happened in the sequence, although he had specifically asked his players to be focused upon returning from the locker room.
“It’s a shame that we didn’t start the second half well because we know that Atlanta creates scoring opportunities. It’s a shame this goal came so quickly. “It was a difficult match, on a difficult surface, but everything remains in our hands,” he observed.
During this clash, fans were able to see just how big the difference in talent was between the two teams. Atlanta United added players before the end of the transfer period and eliminated their rival in the evening, dominating time of possession between 64% and 36%.
CF Montreal could never adapt on the field and only seemed to be in the game for five minutes after Ahmed Hamdi’s goal.
“In the first half we were dominated, but it was still 2-1 at half-time. I felt like we were a little lost on the field, especially on defense. When you play on Wednesday and then on Saturday, it is difficult to prepare tactically. Atlanta also played on Wednesday and seemed more prepared. “It’s frustrating,” Piette said.
Edwin Mosquera completed the scoring for Atlanta United, which with the victory secured a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They also completed a two-game sweep this season against CF Montreal and have yet to suffer a home loss against them.
The Montreal team, for its part, fell short of victory for the fifth consecutive game (0-3-2). The sum of results in the rest of the Garber circuit miraculously allowed him to remain in eighth place in the East, while the top nine in the standings participated in the playoffs.
Guilty of a foul that earned him a red card at the end of the match, defender Joel Waterman will be suspended for CF Montreal’s next match, next Saturday against Orlando City SC.
The defense is broken
The Montrealers quickly came under pressure from Atlanta United in the first quarter of an hour and the home team took the opportunity to test the defensive block.
Despite the heat in the area, the Bleu-blanc-noir resisted, but what had to happen happened. If they persisted, Gonzalo Pineda’s team scored two goals in just three minutes.
On the right flank, Saba Lobjanidze delivered a beautiful low cross to the other side of the box, where Xande Silva sent the ball to Sirois. Waterman thought he had managed to clear the ball before it crossed the goal line, but he was a fraction of a second too late.
In the 33rd minute, Caleb Wiley made a long run down the left side and passed the ball to Xande Silva, who separated from Corbo and Sirois before joining alone with Almada in the penalty area. The 22-year-old Argentine only had to complete the maneuver.
However, CF Montreal did not give up. In the 40th minute, Lassi Lappalainen controlled a long cross from Waterman and headed the ball towards Hamdi. The Egyptian shot without warning that goalkeeper Brad Guzan could not stop.
The visitors’ efforts were nullified early in the second half. After accepting a pass from Sirois, Corbo lost his lucidity and lost the ball to Giacoumakis, who finally threw it behind the Quebec goalkeeper.
The Montreal team came knocking a few minutes later, but Chinonso Offor’s deflected header hit Guzan’s right post.
The two teams then exchanged a few chances until Waterman received a red card for a foul against Jamal Thiare. Mosquera added a goal when his shot was deflected by Nathan Saliba past Sirois.