Atlanta United had perhaps a little too much trouble getting past a pointless Charlotte FC last week but it has another chance of prolonging a winless run in Week 4 when CF Montreal visits the Benz. The Canadian side has three losses from three in regular-season play, though it did make it to the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals. It’s the type of game Atlanta should win, but as we saw a week ago, the Five Stripes are prone to inconsistency.
After missing out on the playoffs in 2021 by two points, Montreal avenged itself with a Canadian Championship trophy in Wilfried Nancy’s debut campaign. The Quebec side brought back almost all of last season’s core and added Nashville defender Alistair Johnston in the offseason. Though things haven't gone to plan in domestic play, Montreal has started the season with one of the toughest schedules in the league to go along with CCL action. Montreal fell to road losses to Orlando and NYCFC, with a home defeat to Philadelphia sandwiched in between. Its CCL journey has fared much better, as Nancy’s side knocked out Liga MX side Santos Laguna 3-1 on aggregate before a quarterfinal matchup with Cruz Azul.
Now that its international commitments are put aside, Montreal will put its full focus on MLS just in time for Atlanta. Romell Quioto and Djordje Mihailovic are the main danger men and combined for 12 goals and 18 assists last season. They already have a combined two goals and three assists so far, albeit the majority of which came in CCL. Montreal’s real problems come in defense, as it’s been outscored 10-2 across its first three MLS games. Atlanta showed it has no problems creating chances against Charlotte, but the Five Stripes finishing needs some work and Montreal is the perfect opportunity for the good guys to find its scoring boots.
Atlanta’s 2-1 win over Charlotte was the result we all predicted/expected but didn’t quite come in the desired fashion. The Five Stripes needed a last-gasp Jake Mulraney winner to take the three points after a less-than-inspiring performance. Despite similar records, Montreal will mount a much tougher test than Charlotte and Atlanta will have to take it up a gear to make it three home wins from three.
Atlanta has a 5W-2T-2L advantage in the all-time record against Montreal and split last season’s three meetings evenly.
- 1-0 (H), 5/4/21
- 2-2 (A), 8/4/21
- 2-1 (A), 10/2/21
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Atlanta United 3-1 CF Montreal
Josef Martinez will follow up his opening goal of 2021 with a brace against Montreal from a pair of Marcelino Moreno assists before Thiago Almada comes off the bench to seal the victory. Montreal will make things interesting with a Quioto strike but it won’t be enough to keep Atlanta from closing the curtains on March with a W.