Atlanta United’s three-match road swing continues on Wednesday night north of the border as the 5-Stripes travel to take on CF Montréal. Atlanta is coming off a tough 3-2 loss in Orlando last time out, while Montreal fell 2-1 to Inter Miami in its last contest. Montréal currently sits in seventh in the Eastern Conference standings, the final playoff spot, and it’s important for Atlanta United to pick up three points and close that gap. Wednesday marks the second meeting between the two sides this year, with Atlanta earning a late 1-0 victory on May 15. Let’s take a look at the Tools to the Match presented by The Home Depot.
Play a complete game
During the current stretch of matches, Atlanta United has yet to put together a fully complete performance. Whenever the defense has stepped up and held opponents scoreless or allowed just one goal, the attack didn’t score. Last time out, the 5-Stripes scored two spectacular goals, but the defense allowed a late comeback giving up three goals in total.
Atlanta needs to put together a complete performance in order to win on the road at Montréal. The attack needs to continue to create opportunities as they have been since Interim head coach Rob Valentino took over. The defense has to tighten up and smother a Montréal attack that has produced 21 goals this year. With another road match on the horizon on the weekend, it’s important for Atlanta United to get some momentum with three points on Wednesday.
Watch out for Toye & Mihailovic combination
Midfielder Djordje Mihailovic has been touted as one of the bright prospects in the U.S. over the last couple of seasons. He’s flourished since his move to Montréal this season. He’s scored three goals already, which is tied for his most goals in a single season, and he’s added four assists. A very technical and creative midfielder, one of the keys for Atlanta United will be to stop Mihailovic. Pressuring Mihailovic in midfield and not giving him the spaces in between the lines should go a long way to getting a good result on Wednesday for the 5-Stripes.
Another player to keep an eye on is Montréal’s top scorer Mason Toye. The former Minnesota striker has bagged six goals on the campaign to lead Montréal, which is also tied for his best-ever single-season output in MLS. He’s a mobile striker, so it will be important for Atlanta’s defense to cut off the supply to Toye. Anton Walkes ranks among the top-10 in MLS in interceptions with 30 on the year.
Let Moreno cook
The Argentine midfielder has really been turning it on for Atlanta United over the last couple of weeks. Marcelino Moreno scored an absolute rocket in the match against Orlando. He leads Atlanta United in goals (4), total shots (34) and shots on target (14) this season. Moreno has excelled in a more advanced role that gives him freedom to float and find the game. Once he receives the ball, he’s been relentless in dribbling forward and creating opportunities. He ranks tied for third in MLS with 77 dribbles attempted. He’s been successful over 54 percent of the time on those dribbles. Atlanta United need to capitalize on the good form of their No. 10 to pick up these three points at Montréal.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET at Stade Saputo in Montréal, Canada on Wednesday night. Fans can tune into Bally Sports Southeast or listen on the radio on Sports Radio 92.9 The Game to catch the action.