Atlanta United came into the match looking to extend their home unbeaten streak to 11 against the Montreal Impact. Jeff Larentowicz is back in the midfield and Chris McCann returns for his third match in the left back position while Greg Garza recovers from injury.
Things got off to a slow start for United and in the 17′ things took a turn. While chasing down a through ball Miguel Almirón pulled up clutching the back of his leg (whenever a player ‘pulls up’ that normally equates to a hamstring injury). My assumption was correct because the very next whistle manager Tata Martino pulled him and subbed in Julian Gressel.
In the 27′ minute Tito Villalba fired a rocket from the 18 (yard box) into the top corner netting (Carlos Carmona with the assist) to take the lead 1-0.
In the 60′ Montreal keeper Evan Bush came up huge for the Impact with back-to-back saves on a 2 v 1. Tito laid the pass off to Josef Martinez who danced in the box a bit, then finally let off a strike that was parried by Bush, bounced back to Tito, and blocked away out of bounds.
Brad Guzan was tested in the 71′ when Impact midfielder Michael Salazar (who was just subbed on two minutes prior) found a through ball and tried to slot it in the low nearside corner but Guzan was able to flick it away.
United responded on the counter and put the pressure back on Evan Bush. Julian Gressel launched a cross to the center of the box to Jeff Larentowicz who headed it just past the keeper. The lead was increased to 2-nil.
Atlanta United was able to hold tight in the midfield and forced numerous errors on the Montreal Impact throughout the second half. Extending their home unbeaten run to 11, I asked Tottenham loanee Anton Walkes about his run of form and how the team’s been performing.
“I think my form is something which I will reflect and always be self-critical of” a self-conscious Walkes noted. “I’m all about improving but, the team picking up the wins… That’s all we need to be focusing on. If we can keep doing that… We’ll be happy.”
My man of the match is Tito Villalba. His goal led the charge for United’s win tonight and his pace was a constant threat to Montreal’s defense.
The Five Stripes currently sit in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference and will be hoping to stay in form during their playoff push. On Wednesday, Septemeber 27, United will be taking on the Philadelphia Union at 7:00 p.m. EST.