Match Recap

Atlanta United wins 1-0 in Montréal behind Brooks Lennon goal


Atlanta United traveled north of the border for the first meeting of the season with Eastern Conference club CF Montréal. On a steamy night in Québec, Brooks Lennon scored the lone goal, his second goal in as many matches, to give Atlanta United a 1-0 win over CF Montréal. The 5-Stripes return to Atlanta with three points and their second straight clean sheet.

"It was very brave performance, which makes me think we are heading in the right direction," said Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda.

The scoring opened in the 54th minute when Atlanta United's two representatives on last week's Team of the Matchday connected. Thiago Almada drew a foul to earn a direct free kick in the center of the field about 25 yards out. Almada took the kick himself and nearly scored his fourth goal on a free kick this season. His curling shot sent CF Montréal goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois diving and clanged off the post. The rebound bounced inside the box and Brooks Lennon, alert and ready, was in perfect position to follow through and tap the ball in to give Atlanta the lead.

The goal was Lennon's third on the season and his second in as many matches.

Both sides spent the first 30 minutes of the match looking to establish themselves. Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan was called into action and made a save in the 34th minute. CF Montréal midfielder Bryce Duke ripped a shot with his left foot from far range, and the veteran captain made the stop to keep the home side off the score sheet.

The same minute, Atlanta United took possession and nearly found the back of the net. Almada located Lennon and lofted a ball over the backline on the far side. The offside flag stayed down and Lennon was behind the defense 1v1 with the goalkeeper. He took a shot on goal from a tough angle, a similar spot to where he scored last week against the Union. Only this time, the low-driven shot rolled wide of frame.

"We were trying to figure out our press," Pineda said. "Montréal did a good job of finding some passing lanes. It was difficult for us to figure it out. Players were executing the game plan, but those passes were trouble for us. And the players knew how to adjust and put in the effort to chase, press, recover and be goal side. At times it was absorbing pressure. That was a very good response for me."

In the nine minutes of stoppage time to end the second half, CF Montréal pushed for the equalizer. Atlanta's defense clamped down and made several big clearances to keep the clean sheet. Atlanta United has held its opponent scoreless in two straight matches, the first time this season. It's the first time in club history the team has allowed only one shot on target in back-to-back matches.

Pineda went with a similar formation he used in the 2-0 win over Philadelphia Union last weekend. Luis Abram, Ronald Hernández and Juanjo Purata were sent on as the three center backs. Lennon and Caleb Wiley filled in as the wing-backs.

"The credit all goes to the players," Pineda said. "I could put a backline of six and if they don’t win duels, aerial duels, the 50-50 ball or block shots, the plan won’t work defensively. It can very easily be a back four and if we have that mentality we can do the same. Yes, at the moment this formation is working, but again all credit should go to the players.”

Atlanta United was without MLS All-Star and leading scorer Giorgos Giakoumakis. The striker was held out due to a hamstring injury he sustained in the match against Philadelphia. In his place Saturday, Miguel Berry made the start up top.

CF Montréal
Atlanta United
Shots on target13
Corner kicks33
Fouls committed1815
Passing accuracy82%80%

Up next - Atlanta United wraps the weekend in Canada then enters a double matchweek

It's a busy month and a busy week for Atlanta United. The 5-Stripes wrap up the weekend and head into a midweek match on the road Wednesday against New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Then on Saturday, July 15, the club is back home to host regional rival Orlando City SC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. We're also nearly two weeks from the inaugural Leagues Cup, a new competition between MLS and Liga MX clubs. Learn more about Leagues Cup and Atlanta United's opportunity to contend for the best club in North America

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