On this episode of 21 Thunder, Montreal scores too early and then relies on its defense that shipped five goals last weekend to try to keep a 1-0 lead. Despite an early goal from Nolan Gallard, the team failed to find another lucky goal where Atlanta completely switched off on an easy cross to defend and Montreal lost their 6th game of the year. For Montreal, it was the second game in which the team has taken a lead early and turned around and lost by an embarrassing margin. This time a 13th minute gift of a goal for the Impact doomed them into thinking they could hold off Atlanta United for 77 minutes. They couldn’t. The Five Stripes were persistent in attack and their play forced the Impact into bad fouls which ultimately cost them the game.
Atlanta didn’t exactly win pretty in the game, but Montreal wasn’t interested in playing beautiful soccer. So far, there seem to be three types of performances from United. There’s the complete domination against an over-matched opponent that tries to play Atlanta in an open game, there’s the capitulation by opponents who have no ideas (hi Montreal and Minnesota), and finally the open game that is back and forth that Atlanta draws but should have probably won.
This was a good performance from Atlanta and shows a step forward for the team. Last season, the Five Stripes had several matches where, after giving up an ugly goal, the team failed to find a result and even lost badly. Atlanta largely contained Junior Lolo and Alex el Haddadi was a complete non-factor. Moving forward in 2018, if the club has improved its mentality in that regard, this could be a really special season.
Anyway, here’s how it looked on the box score...
While Montreal struggled to get Stefan Arnaud involved in the attack, Atlanta pushed forward relentlessly. It was clear at the half that perhaps an extra spark in the attack was missing. With the Impact content to watch Atlanta pass the ball round the box and search for an equalizer, Tata Martino decided to take off defensive midfielder Jeff Larentowicz for another forward with Tito Villalba checking into the game. The result was another attacking option and in a way it paid off with Montreal not exploiting the Jeff sized hole in midfield for when they hoofed the ball forward and wasted their possession.
The team stats tell more of the story...
Montreal has now given up 9 goals in their last two games. Manager Albert Rocas seemed to think that as long as Brad Guzan was on the field Montreal would have the same success against Atlanta that every team in the Premier League did against Aston Villa. They didn’t and Atlanta created chance after chance with their possession and eventually broke the Montreal defenders, forcing bad fouls to give United chances to score.
Atlanta United with have a different kind of test next weekend when they take on Matthew Casey, Randall McHolland, Brian Zvonecek, and the rest of Chicago Fire.