(Montreal) CF Montreal has managed to make Saputo Stadium a tough place to play this season, but after a minor hiccup, the team has another opportunity to uphold that reputation.
Intractable in front of his team for more than two months, the Bleu-blanc-noir offered a lackluster performance last week. He also saw his record streak of six shutout wins at home come to an end after losing 1-0 to New York City FC, a team that had yet to win on the road this season. .
However, the Montreal club has the opportunity to recover by hosting Atlanta United (8-5-8) at Saputo Stadium on Saturday night. But it won’t necessarily be easy.
It’s not that the Atlanta team is dangerous on the opposing courts, when they have only won one in 10 games in such a situation (1-4-5), but it is rather than scoring goals galore this season.
Atlanta United have scored 39 goals since the start of the campaign, tied for second in MLS behind the Columbus Crew. He’s been riding at a two-goal-a-game rate in his last nine outings.
Greece’s Giorgos Giakoumakis has already hit the target 10 times in 2023 and is backed by 22-year-old Argentine sensation Thiago Almada, who sits tied for the top of MLS with 10 assists and scored on eight occasions.
“Atlanta is a very good team that has a lot of players with a lot of good individual qualities,” said head coach Hernan Losada. This is a team that is constantly investing several million dollars to be MLS Cup contenders. It will be a difficult game, but we have to rebuild this reputation of being difficult to face at home. »
CF Montreal (8-10-2) didn’t get their wins in front of their fans by chance. The energy of the crowd gave wings to the players, who responded by winning seven of nine MLS games in the metropolis and two others in the Canadian Championship.
Housed in the seventh echelon of the Eastern Conference, Atlanta United have no points to give to direct opponents. Bleu-blanc-noir is in the same situation. Only nine points separate the seventh- and 13-place teams and with a loss, the Montrealers could slip out of the playoff picture.
“Everything is congested in the East so you can go up and down the leaderboard in a heartbeat. Whether it’s a win or a draw, all points are important, especially in the final stretch of the season. We just need to collect as many points as possible to stay in the top 8,” said midfielder Bryce Duke.
Following their matchup against Atlanta United, Losada’s men will play a two-game week against teams just behind them in the Eastern standings, Chicago Fire on Wednesday and Charlotte FC on Saturday next.
“It’s always important to win, but if you can’t win, you mustn’t lose,” Losada insisted. But the season does not end after this series of three games. There will still be a lot of points to pick up and still a lot of games to play. Several teams will be in the portrait of the playoffs. This is why MLS is a great competition. It’s going to be tight until the end. »
The head coach said he couldn’t say when new CF Montreal striker Kwadwo Opoku will arrive in the country. He added that the case of Mathieu Choinière, injured in the ankle against Nashville, was uncertain in view of the duel against Atlanta United. Lassi Lappalainen will be out and captain Samuel Piette is expected to be back in training after more than three months out.