MONTREAL – In a game interrupted by a thunderstorm during an hour and 15 minutes, the Montreal Impact closed a busy month of July by losing 2-1 against the Eastern Conference leader, Atlanta United, Saturday night at Stade Saputo in front of 19,064 supporters.
“We played the game we could today,” said Impact head coach Rémi Garde. “I am disappointed by the result, like all players in the dressing room. I think we could have done better, but I knew since long ago that this would be a difficult game. Once again, we could have gotten a better result, which would have been a feat. Atlanta has impressive assets and is a team that masters its subject, but tonight, we pushed them.”
The MLS top goal scorer, Josef Martinez, gave Atlanta United the lead in the 31st minute with his 23rd of the season, beating Evan Bush with a header after receiving a cross from Héctor Villalba.
Atlanta doubled its lead on a strange play in the Impact box at the 57th minute, after Bush initially stopped a shot from Julian Gressel. Defender Jukka Raitala tried his best to block a rebound near the line from Escobar, but Martinez forced the play to score his second of the night.
In the 88th minute, Nacho Piatti cut the deficit in half with a superb shot in the upper 90 to the right of goalkeeper Brad Guzan, despite seeing three Atlanta defenders close in to try and block his shot.
“I think we could have done better with the result,” said midfielder Saphir Taïder. “We did some mistakes, but overall, we played well, we came to play and we had the ball. In the end, we’re judged on the results. Zero points hurts because over the game, we were not that bad.”
Chances coming for each side
The Impact threatened for the first time in the 10th minute, when Nacho Piatti sent a long ball from the left towards Alejandro Silva, standing alone on the right side, but the Uruguayan couldn’t control the ball, which went behind the goal line.
In the 17th minute, Atlanta missed a scoring opportunity when Miguel Almirón sent a ball towards the middle of the box for Gressel, who saw his shot punched away by Bush. Martinez then headed the rebound to the left of the frame.
Two minutes later, the Bleu-blanc-noir earned a free kick 35 meters out. Designated player Saphir Taïder’s shot went a few inches above goal.
Impact heats up in the second half
Following the weather delay, a first for the Impact at Stade Saputo since joining MLS, the Impact heated up in the first 10 minutes, creating scoring chances for Piatti and Silva, without being able to pierce the Georgian wall.
In the 72nd minute, Piatti took advantage of a mistake from an Atlanta defender in his own box, facing Guzan in a one-on-one situation, but the ‘keeper made the save from a tight-angled shot.
After making his Canadian Championship debut in Montreal last Wednesday and his MLS debut in Portland on Saturday, Homegrown midfielder Mathieu Choinière stepped on the Stade Saputo grass for the very first time in MLS, coming in at the 65th minute for Taïder.
Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney and his new D.C. United teammates will be at Stade Saputo on Saturday, August 4 at 7:30pm for the first game of the season between the Impact and the American capital representatives (TICKETS – TVA Sports, 98,5fm, TSN Radio 690). Then, another trip out West will bring the Montreal squad to Utah to face Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, August 11 at 10pm (TVA Sports).
MTL – GK-Evan Bush; Jukka Raitala (Michael Petrasso 84’), Rod Fanni, Rudy Camacho, Daniel Lovitz; M-Samuel Piette, Saphir Taïder (Mathieu Choinière 65’), Ken Krolicki (Jeisson Vargas 88’); F-Alejandro Silva, Matteo Mancosu, Ignacio Piatti
Subs not used – Clément Diop, Víctor Cabrera, Shamit Shome, Dominic Oduro
ATL – GK-Brad Guzan; D-Franco Escobar, Michael Parkhurst, Leandro González Pirez, Chris McCann; M-Eric Remedi, Jeff Larentowicz, Julian Gressel, Miguel Almirón, Héctor Villalba (Kevin Kratz 90’+2’); F-Josef Martínez (Brandon Vázquez 84’)
Subs not used – Alec Kann, Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu, Miles Robinson, Romario Williams, Andrew Carleton
ATL – Martinez (Villalba, Almirón) 31’
ATL – Martinez 57’
MTL – Piatti (Silva) 87’
ATL – Escobar 23’
ATL – Parkhurst 77’