Marcelino Moreno’s goal in the 94th minute proved to be the game-winner for Atlanta United which earned a 1-0 home victory over CF Montreal May 15.
Atlanta, despite having a possession mark of 63.4 percent and a passing accuracy mark of 88 percent, attempted only two shots on goal in the contest which included the game-winner.
“Its beautiful to see that many people in the stadium,” United manager Gabriel Heinze said. “Futbol is for the people. I’m happy because the players did everything to get this win.I believe the team attacked well. The first minutes we had problems defending but the rest of the game the team defended well. The game happened as I analyzed.”
The goal attempt started with Jake Mulraney, who got credit for an assist, dribbling the ball down the left side of the field and sending the cross into the penalty area which connected with Moreno. It was Moreno’s second MLS goal and fourth overall for Atlanta this season.
“It means a lot because it was a goal that got us three points,” he said. “It was important because as a team we fought and never gave up on our idea. We deserved it.”
The victory was the second of the season in Major League Soccer (MLS) play for Atlanta and the announced attendance of 40,116 was the most in the world for a soccer match since February 2020.
“You’re buzzing and saying afterwards its almost a better feeling scoring with a win like that than if we scored in the 25th minute and won 1-0,” Atlanta captain and goalkeeper Brad Guzan said. “Its a morale booster, a confidence booster. It certainly wasn’t our best game but sometimes you just gotta be able to get over the hump and find a way to get a result and tonight we did that.”
Atlanta posted its first home shutout in MLS action led by Guzan’s two saves.
“Since the preseason I’ve talked about the amount of work that we’ve put in in terms of understanding the new system, tactics from game to game how we want to play and adjust things,” he said. “Ultimately coming away with three points…leaves a good feeling within the group to push forward. Its a massive three points.”
It was a scoreless first half as both teams were unable to produce consistent scoring opportunities in the first 45 minutes.
First-half chances for Atlanta included a header by Erik Lopez saved by Montreal goalkeeper Clement Diop in sixth minute. Other chances included Josef Martinez’s header that went over the crossbar in seventh minute and Marcelino Moreno right-footed shot was high in eighth minute.
The second half started aggressively for Montreal as Kamal Miller’s shot hit the crossbar within the first few minutes of play.
Atlanta looked to take the 1-0 lead in the 52nd minute when Emerson Hyndman pushed his shot off of a Martinez pass past Diop. However, Hyndman was ruled offsides.
Montreal’s best scoring opportunity came in the second half when Romell Quioto had a point-blank shot on net but was saved by a standing Guzan.
Hyndman had another direct shot on goal in the 58th minute that was blocked wide.
Martinez had two more scoring opportunities when his header went wide in the 78th minute and shot was saved by Diop in the 83rd minute.
Atlanta returns to action at Seattle May 23.