Atlanta United played to a 3-3 draw against CF Montreal Saturday before a crowd of 42,578 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. After falling behind two goals and being reduced to 10-men in the second half, Atlanta United scored two goals in the final five minutes plus stoppage time to earn a point heading into the FIFA international break. Josef Martínez scored his second goal of the season, Thiago Almada scored his first for the club and Brooks Lennon netted his first of the year.
With Atlanta trailing 3-1 and playing a man down, Almada scored in the 85th minute to make it a one-goal game. Lennon sent in a cross from near the right corner flag that was headed away to the top of the box. Almada collected the partial clearance and faked a shot, sending a pair of Montreal defenders leaping. The crafty Argentine dribbled a step closer to goal and fired a blistering shot off the right post and into the back of the net for his debut Atlanta United goal.
In the dying moments of stoppage time, Lennon delivered the equalizer from a direct free kick. Rudy Camacho fouled Martínez roughly 30 yards from goal and picked up a yellow card. Lennon stood alone over the dead ball and placed a curling shot into the left side of goal, despite Montreal’s Sebastian Breza getting a touch to it. It was Lennon’s first goal of the season and his first career goal from a direct free kick.
Atlanta United opened the match with its quickest goal of the season in the sixth minute. As Atlanta attacked down the middle of the field, Montreal’s Joel Waterman gathered a heavy touch by Tyler Wolff and played the ball to Ismael Kone. The Montreal midfielder was immediately surrounded with pressure which forced an errant pass directly to Martínez, who was standing alone 25 yards from goal. The Venezuelan took one touch towards goal and unleashed a powerful shot that soared into the top of the net.
Montreal responded with a goal on a breakaway in the 28th minute. Following an Atlanta corner kick, Kone found Djordje Mihailovic with a through ball down the left side where he dribbled into the box and finished with a low shot by Brad Guzan.
Kone later gave Montreal the lead in the 37th minute. Mihailovic played Lassi Lappalainen down the left side where he delivered a low cross to the center of the box. Kone ran into the penalty area unmarked and one-timed a low shot by a diving Guzan. Three minutes later, Miles Robinson was ruled to have pulled Kone down in the box and Montreal was awarded a penalty. Romell Quioto scored the ensuing spot kick, slotting it into the lower right corner while Guzan guessed the other direction.
Gonzalo Pineda made three changes at halftime to ignite the comeback, bringing on Almada, Jake Mulraney and George Campbell. After an encouraging opening 20 minutes to the second half, Atlanta was forced to play shorthanded when Dom Dwyer was shown a straight red card for a hard challenge on Joaquin Torres.
Atlanta (2-1-1, 7 points) returns to action Saturday, April 2 when it travels to face D.C. United at Audi Field (7:30 p.m., Bally Sports South, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game, La Mejor).
Photo: Courtesy of ATL UTD