Despite the heartbreaking defeat, it was a memorable weekend for veteran striker and Trinidad & Tobago International Kenwyne Jones as he opened his MLS scoring account and recorded his first-ever goal for Atlanta United in the club’s trip to Montreal on Saturday.
“Obviously, we did not get the result today,” said Jones. “Of course, it is good to score my first goal, but coming home with a loss is not so well received.”
The striker’s lovely one-touch finish gave Atlanta the advantage in the first half, but a red card issued to teammate Leandro González Pirez followed by a converted penalty equalized the match for Montreal. The expansion side battled hard in the second 45 while a man down and nearly escaped with a point, but a redirected shot just before the final whistle saw the Impact steal the three points.
“I think, in my opinion, we suffered from rough calls against us away from home,” Jones commented after the match. “I’m happy with the way we fought until the end. We didn’t get the result but, at the same time, it’s good for the team going forward.”
With forward Josef Martinez sidelined with a quad injury, Atlanta have had to explore various options to compensate for the absence of their leading scorer.
Jones had made appearances in four out of the five previous matches coming on as a sub, but on Saturday Tata Martino elected to offer the Trinidadian striker his first start of the season. Needless to say the Atlanta United head coach was pleased with his decision.
“I think he played a very good game,” remarked Martino. “A great effort and a very good game, in addition to the goal. I think the whole team played well in different ways of playing, comparing the first half and the second half. And a great effort.”
While not a direct replacement for Martinez, Jones offers a different dynamic for an Atlanta United team that has scored a conference-high 14 goals this season and established themselves as one of the most exciting offenses in the league.
“We can look to play more long balls to him,” said Martino. “He is a very different type of forward than Josef, he’s physical, good at holding the ball up and he’s great in the air.”
Now on the scoresheet, Jones will look to add to his tally next week on the road again as Atlanta United face off against Real Salt Lake. Perhaps the fans will be lucky enough to witness more signature acrobatic celebrations from their striker like below.