Thanks to a late goal from Joaquin Torres, CF Montreal defeated Atlanta United 2-1

MONTREAL — Before the match on Saturday afternoon, the players of CF Montreal trained with jerseys bearing the number “10” and the name “Lafleur”. The organizers also remembered to pay tribute to the former legend of the Montreal Canadiens and enforced a moment of silence. About two hours later, CF Montreal’s number 10 played the heroes.

Joaquin Torres found the back of the net in the 82nd minute to lead CF Montreal to a tough 2-1 win over Atlanta United at Stade Saputo.

Called up early in the second half, Torres scored his second goal of the season when he headed a Kamal Miller cross past goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.

“We needed Joaquin’s profile to push the opponent to defend a little more,” explained head coach Wilfried Nancy when asked about his decision to send the Argentinian out on his departure.

“With his profile, I know that Joaquin is able to question the opponent when he plays.”

Miller, absolutely sparkling on Saturday, had scored the first goal for CF Montreal in the fourth minute.

“He thought he was a striker so I hope he doesn’t think it’s Zidane now!” said Nancy questioningly.

On a more serious note, Nancy called Miller’s defensive performance “tough”, but not perfect.

“He knows I’m demanding for him, but I’m very happy for him because we talk a lot with the staff and he has a lot of room for improvement. If he manages to be consistent it can be at a very high level.” , the CF Montreal head coach analyzed.

The visitors’ reaction came from Marcelino Moreno, early in the second half against Sebastian Breza, firmly in front of his net.

With this sixth straight game without a loss, CF Montreal (4-3-2) equaled a team record first set in 2015, and repeated in 2016 and 2021.

However, he got there in the course of a sloppy and even somewhat disappointing display against a rival who constantly gets him into trouble, even if, as was the case on Saturday, that rival was left without several key players, including striker Josef Martinez and goalkeeper. Brad Guzan.

“The boys have found a way to win that game, as if football is irrational sometimes. It worked in our favor today,” Nancy admitted.

“I was happy for them, really happy. We played against a team where there is quality. Even if they have absentees, they still have players out there.

CF Montreal will play a second game in a row at Saputo Stadium next Saturday, this time against Orlando City SC. However, he will be robbed of Victor Wanyama and Ishmael Koné, who will be suspended for an accumulation of yellow cards.

Another quick goal

CF Montreal has had a bad habit of awarding the first goal to the opponent abroad since the start of the season. To his credit, he does not repeat this mania in front of his followers.

Just like two weeks ago against the Vancouver Whitecaps, Wilfried Nancy’s men sowed joy among their fans just after kick-off.

After a free kick from Djordje Mihailovic, Miller jumped high into the air and sent the ball past Shuttleworth for his first goal since November 3, 2021.

However, it was the only good move for CF Montreal, offensively, during the first 45 minutes of play.

CF Montreal were so ineffective in the first half that they had the ball only 27.3 percent of the time. And when he got it, he struggled to show consistency, as evidenced by his less than 70 percent completion rate.

“We didn’t have the ball, so the players were working on something else, on the defensive aspect, defend a little longer, defend longer without the ball. They were strong, they were very strong mentally. They were also very strong in conceding just one goal,” Nancy praised.

The key player of this first half for the Montreal team was Breza, who had to make two good saves, first against Thiago Almada, in the 11th minute, and then against Moreno, in the 32nd.

The latter recovered by scoring the equalizing goal in the 51st minute thanks to a low shot that first succumbed to the vertical bar to Breza’s right before rolling into the net.

This goal seemed to wake up the Montreal players, who were much more dynamic and menacing afterwards.

Their efforts were rewarded when Torres rattled the strings after a fantastic play by Miller.

Breza then made a pair of keys in the 90th minute to secure the win.

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