AJH v ATL

It ain’t over till it’s over

This past weekend, Montreal received its fix of last-minute goals. After the man with the turtleneck sneaked into the slot on Friday night to bring game #2 to overtime at the Bell Centre, Anthony Jackson-Hamel took advantage of the free space in the box on Saturday afternoon to offer the Impact its first win of the season on a silver platter.

At the end of a game, we advise you to stay tuned or to stay in your seat – and don’t leave early to save a few minutes of traffic – if you are at Stade Saputo: the last minutes of Impact games have been full of twists and turns since the start of the year. Three games, including both home fixtures, saw their result change in the very last turns of the second hand.

The tendency for late drama started against the Impact: only a few moments away from a famous win against the MLS Cup holders, Seattle Sounders FC, at Olympic Stadium, Will Bruin equalized to steal a point for the visitors. Then, in Chicago, Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla, who had turned 18 the day before, thought he had wrapped up the points for his team with his goal in the 90th minute, but Luis Solignac reignited the Fire just before the final whistle. Finally, for the first game of the year at Stade Saputo, Jackson-Hamel, who had been brought on some ten minutes prior, found a pocket of space in the box and skillfully redirected Hernán Bernardello’s off-target shot – raking in a nomination for the AT&T Goal of the week.

“I do what I have to do,” said the striker hailing from Quebec City after the game on Saturday. “For the team, I think it is an important goal, an important win. We needed this home win. With a player down on the other side, we wanted to push. We wanted to score, and we got that goal.”

The Impact in general and Jackson-Hamel in particular have developed a knack for goals at the death. Last year, the number 24 scored his very first MLS goal in the 94th minute of the game against the Red Bulls at Olympic Stadium; then, during the 2017 preseason calendar, he scored not once, but twice in added time, in two consecutive games. And even though these goals are not good for our heart rate, they always create euphoric and memorable moments.

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