Atlanta United continue their six game home winning streak with a victory over the Montreal Impact by a score 2-1, but with some help and finesse it was a one man show by Justin Meram.
It was truly a night to remember for the Iraqi international as his first home debut and MLS start for the 5-Stripes was a complete success.
With this victory United climb up to 4th place in the Eastern Conference Standings passing the New York Red Bulls, trailing one point behind Montreal, two behind D.C. and three behind table toppers Philadelphia Union.
Although Saturday’s performance was far from perfect and lacking in excitement, the three points is all that matters and the focus will now move on to preparing for Wednesday’s Mid-Week game vs. the Chicago Fire. Breaking down United’s victory over Montreal began with changes in the lineup from the previous game in Toronto. Starting off with Franco Escobar returning into the Starting XI at Right-Back, we definitely missed him in the loss vs. Toronto, he makes his presence known very well with his ability of being fast and physical moving up and down the field.
Florentin Pogba started at the Left-Back position replacing Brek Shea and on the left side Justin Meram took Dion Pereira’s place at Left Attacking Midfield, a move which obviously was for fitness reasons but this change would play a pivotal role in United’s victory over the Montreal Impact. I guess we know now who will replace Barco’s spot until he recovers and comes back from his knee injury.
To start off the match, well there was not much going on as the first 30 minutes of the game was more of a possession battle than any of the sides trying to attack the opponent with any sort of threat or danger. That would continue up until Justin Meram’s ridiculous goal in the 35th minute as his curling and dipping shot from outside the box sailed over the goalie with ease and landed into the back of the net, finally giving a spark to the game and perhaps setting a tone for United to believe in themselves and take chances from distance.
You never know, one of those might go in and make SportsCenter’s Top 10 like Justin’s did, but most importantly it shows the teammates, managers and fans that you have the ability to produce finishes like that, something Meram was waiting for the chance to get and he did not miss a step.
The second half would not start off on the right foot as Montreal would equalize in the 50th minute off a really lucky goal as Zakaria Diallo scored off a deflection from his own teammates shot and it just happened to go towards goal where nobody was guarding and far from Guzan’s reach. Atlanta players were claiming offside, but after looking at replay midfielder Eric Remedi was behind everyone else and therefore ruling out any case for VAR review.
Pity Martinez was subbed off into the 68th minute for Dion Pereira in what was another lackluster performance by the South American Player of the Year. It seems like he still has trouble finding any form of consistency and chemistry with his teammates, it is still going to take more time and practice but at some point we need to see him start putting up performances like when Miguel Almiron was here, everything was in sync. But in this match there was one saving grace in one player as Justin Meram would score his second goal of the match in the 83rd minute as Julian Gressel’s corner kick cross was whipped in the box, LGP got a header on it between defenders and somehow at the right place of the right time, Brek Shea the substitute who was just subbed on literally seconds ago was there to tap pass the ball towards Meram who smashed it home giving United the 2-1 lead and victory over the Montreal Impact.
Deservedly, Justin Meram won man of the match and got to nail in the golden spike after the match with the 17’s, a victory everyone will soak in as United’s first game back home in nearly a month was a memorable won for Meram, the rest of the players and supporters. Next up, bring the fire Chicago.
Atlanta United’s next match will be on Wednesday against the Chicago Fire. Kickoff is set for 8:00 and will be live on Fox Sports South. VAMOS UNITED!
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Edin Pelja |@Julio_Goat Twitter | @ATLSportsHQ Twitter/IG