Painting the picture against Atlanta United

A powerful attack to manage

Vamos a Atlanta. The Impact will have to face Miguel Almirón, Josef Martínez, Ezequiel Barco and their teammates in an imposing Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where in the stands like on the field, it’s caliente. The South American rhythm put forth by Tata Martino’s men is a challenge for any MLS club visiting Georgia: Atlanta United has only lost three times at home in the regular season since its beginnings in the North-American top division. Here are the three keys to Saturday’s game at 1pm (TVA Sports, 98,5fm, TSN Radio 690).

  1. Take advantage of spaces left open by the defense

The Five Stripes don’t hesitate getting numbers forward. Offensive support often comes from the defensive midfielders and the wing-backs alike; let’s go score, and we’ll see for the rest. It makes for a cracking spectacle, but it also gives opponents opportunities to counter-attack. We already know about Montreal’s skill in transition, with Nacho Piatti in particular excelling in that domain. It could serve the Impact well if….

  1. Find stability in the starting 11

…if the Bleu-blanc-noir can keep its starting 11 on the field for the majority of the game. Discipline will need to be at the forefront in Atlanta, and a little luck on the physical end of things, to avoid substitutions due to injuries, would be welcome. This stability will allow Montreal’s players to find their bearings and automatisms, as well as limit collective errors and turnovers – we hope it will anyway.

  1. Dribble, dribble, and then dribble some more

What the Impact has done well in every game this season is dribbling. Montreal ranks second in the league. The master of the trade is Nacho Piatti, who also ranks second in MLS, and teammates Daniel Lovitz, Saphir Taïder and Alejandro Silva, among others, follow suit. Whether it’s to allow the block to move up the field or to beat a defender and earn a scoring chance, the Impact’s players will need to be successful in this department.