Samuel Piette did not mince his words after CF Montreal’s total disappointment against Atlanta United on Saturday evening. “We were completely destroyed, tactically,” he said after this 4-1 thaw in Georgia.

The CFM captain was especially not impressed by the tactical choices of his coaches.

“I had the impression, me and other players, that we were a little lost on the pitch. Especially defensively. Who should press where? Should we squeeze them? Should we stay a little lower? I think it was more or less clear, in all honesty. »

Piette says “don’t blame any one person.” The names of Hernán Losada or Laurent Ciman did not come out of his mouth during his entire press briefing. And he understands that it is not easy to put a tactical plan in place in a few days, after playing the previous Wednesday.

“But I really felt that Atlanta was much more prepared,” he continues. Atlanta also had a game on Wednesday. Are they much better prepared from the ground up? Do they have better foundations than us? Maybe. I felt that we were playing with one less player. »

He quips, not without exasperation: “At one point, I almost wanted to ask the referee to count the Atlanta players on the field, because I had the impression that they were playing with one or two players. in addition. »

Samuel Piette took a little extra time before appearing at the virtual press briefing. Losada and Mathieu Choinière had already addressed the media. Perhaps the captain wanted to make sure he weighed his words carefully.

In any case, the journalists present did not have to pull the worms out of his nose. Because even when asked to comment on a rare tenure of his colleague Ahmed Hamdi, who also scored the only goal for his team, the captain returns to the tactical choices of his superiors.

“Atlanta was light years ahead of us, tactically, tonight. So for a guy like Hamdi, who is making his first start for a very long time, you may have lost your bearings tactically. And when the team is great in front of you, it’s even more difficult. But I think he did very well. »

Piette also regrets that his team did not adjust during the match. “I felt like we had no solution. »

“We’ll have to see what happened honestly, because we can’t have another match like that. »

Before Piette spoke, Losada justified his tactical choices as follows:

“The idea was to create a good block in a 5-3-2 formation, with Sam, Mathieu and Hamdi as the only midfielders. The two attackers had to close down the center of the field to force Atlanta to play on the wings. Then, we had to make the transition that we do all the time, namely the wingers who will put pressure on the opposing defenders. It is this transition that I found particularly slow. […] I don’t think we were [offensive] enough to force turnovers. The result was that when we didn’t put the necessary pressure on, they made us run backwards and created scoring opportunities. »

For his part, Mathieu Choinière felt that it was up to the players to “adjust on the pitch and identify what needed to be done at the moment”.

“We’re not going to hide it, we don’t deserve a point tonight,” added the Quebecer.

You will understand that this match was not a cakewalk for CF Montreal.

From the start of the clash, things were going down both lanes for Atlanta. Thiago Almada, Xande Silva and Saba Lobjanidze maintained a hell of a pace on the Georgian offensive curtain. George Campbell, in particular, had difficulty keeping up.

A pace that Montreal still managed to contain for 30 minutes, before faltering. The first goal, logically, came from the foot of Silva, on a pass from Atlanta’s new designated player, Saba Lobjanidze.

Three minutes later, the locals did it again with a superb combination between Silva and Almada. It was 2-0, and we felt that the carrots were done for the CFM.

And yet. In the 40th minute, a surprising face gave hope to Montrealers. Ahmed Hamdi, who got his first start since the Canadian Championship in June, scored with a nice shot from the edge of the area. It was a goal against the run of play, yes, but the Bleu-blanc-noir nevertheless benefited from a certain relaxation on the part of the Five Stripes at this moment.

Upon returning from the locker room, Gabriele Corbo made a big mistake while trying to give the ball to Jonathan Sirois. To make matters worse, this ball fell directly into the feet of Giórgos Giakoumákis, scorer of 14 goals this season. His 15th, at the expense of Corbo and the CFM, moved him to first place among MLS scorers.

Atlanta slowed down in the second half, particularly late in the game. Montreal got some interesting chances, but the damage was done. And the problem got worse when Joel Waterman was sent off in the 87th minute for an obvious foul in his area.

Then, to put the icing on the cake, Edwin Mosquera scored his team’s fourth goal in the 90th minute.

Atlanta took advantage of this victory to confirm their place in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Montreal has not won in its last five games in this race to the post-season tournament. He died at a very bad time, with four matches to play on the calendar.

Ahmed Hamdi has been wandering in the limbo of the CF Montreal squad in recent years. With the decline of Bryce Duke, the termination of Matko Miljevic’s contract and the disappearance of Sean Rea, Hamdi obtained an important hearing. If he didn’t break the house himself in the middle, his nice goal should allow him to hang on to this position longer.

The Campbell-Waterman-Corbo defensive trio has been effective recently for CF Montreal. But on Saturday night, Campbell’s poor mobility was particularly exposed by the liveliness of Atlanta’s offensive players. He was replaced at halftime by youngster Fernando Álvarez, who played a second 45 minutes since joining Montreal in the summer.