Villalba and Larentowicz score for Atlanta United FC
ATLANTA, Georgia – The Montreal Impact bowed 2-0 in front of Atlanta United FC, Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Héctor Villalba and Jeff Larentowicz offered their team the win, scoring before and after the break respectively.
“They put the pressure on at the start of the game and they were able to score in the first half,” said Impact head coach Mauro Biello. “We created some chances to equalize, but we did not take those opportunities to get the result we wanted on the road. In the end, details like this make the difference.”
Frenetic start to the game
The hosts and their 43,502 supporters were eagerly awaiting the Bleu-blanc-noir; Atlanta had scored 17 goals in four games and pressed energetically from the first whistle, Villalba testing goalkeeper Evan Bush in the first minute, but the American was up to the task.
In the 12th minute, Villalba, once more, entered the box from the right side and crossed on the ground. The ball came off a defender and was goal bound, but Bush once again saved.
Atlanta United FC took the lead in the 28th minute. Carlos Carmona left the ball for Villalba, on the left flank. The winger dribbled and sent a powerful shot right in the top corner.
The visitors finished the first half well, creating many scoring opportunities, without finding the finishing touch. In quick succession, Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Nacho Piatti and Patrice Bernier were in good spots to shoot, but did not beat Brad Guzan.
Second half goes hosts’ way
At the hour mark, Atlanta United FC was robbed by Bush. Josef Martínez dribbled in the box and took a shot that was blocked by Laurent Ciman, but the rebound fell for Villalba, who shot right away. Bush dived and kept his team in the game with another key save.
“We did pretty well during some stretches. We had our chances to level the game and we did not take advantage of those,” said goalkeeper Evan Bush, who ended the game with five saves. “A team like that will make you pay. They are a very good team, probably in the top two in the league. We have to rebound and get ready for Wednesday.”
In the 72nd minute, the Impact came close to an equalizer. Ciman neatly passed for Piatti between the lines. The Argentinean ran forward and spotted Michael Salazar free on the right. He controlled the ball and shot, but Guzan was well positioned to make the save.
A few seconds later, Atlanta United FC doubled its lead. A Julian Gressel cross from the right was tipped behind the goal line by Jeff Larentowicz with his chest.
The Montreal Impact will host David Villa and New York City FC this Wednesday, September 27, at 7:30pm (TVA Sports, TSN, 985sports.ca , CJAD 800 - TICKETS), before flying off to the Rockies to face Colorado Rapids in Denver, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, on Saturday, September 30, at 9pm (TVA Sports, CJAD 800).
MTL – G-Evan Bush; D-Chris Duvall (Michael Salazar 71’), Víctor Cabrera, Laurent Ciman, Deian Boldor, Daniel Lovitz; M-Samuel Piette (Hernán Bernardello 77’), Patrice Bernier (Matteo Mancosu 63’), Blerim Dzemaili; F-Ignacio Piatti, Anthony Jackson-Hamel
Unused subs – Maxime Crépeau, Hassoun Camara, David Choinière, Dominic Oduro
ATL – G-Brad Guzan; D-Anton Walkes, Michael Parkhurst, Leandro González Pirez, Chris McCann; M-Jeff Larentowicz, Carlos Carmona; Héctor Villalba (Kevin Kratz 77’), Miguel Almirón (Julian Gressel 17’), Yamil Asad; F-Josef Martínez (Kenwyne Jones 89’)
Unused subs – Kyle Reynish, Tyrone Mears, Mikey Ambrose, Jacob Peterson
ATL – Villalba (Carmona) 28’
ATL – Larentowicz (Gressel) 73’