Major League Soccer

Atlanta United aim to shift momentum vs. Montreal

mls2ATLANTA UNITED FC (8-6-2) VS. IMPACT (9-7-3)
6 p.m. ET; TVAS, ESPN+, FSSE

Atlanta United FC might be suffering from an MLS Cup hangover.

The defending champions have lost three of their past five games and are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference as they play host to the Montreal Impact on Saturday.

Atlanta United suffered a disappointing 3-2 loss on Wednesday at Toronto FC, when they allowed the go-ahead goal on a penalty kick in second-half stoppage time. Atlanta (8-6-2, 26 points) had a chance to tie the score when it was awarded a penalty kick in the final seconds, but Pity Martinez’s attempt sailed over the crossbar as Toronto snapped an eight-match winless streak.

“It’s a pity that (Martinez) missed the penalty,” Atlanta coach Frank De Boer said. “It was a tough game for us, but I still think we had opportunities to make three or four goals. If we score at the end and walk away with one point, I think we would be satisfied.”

The Five Stripes will look to get back on track against the Impact (9-7-3, 30 points) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It will be Atlanta’s first home match, where it is 5-1-2, since June 1.

“We had a chance to get a draw. Sometimes you make penalties, sometimes you don’t, it is what it is,” Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan said of Wednesday’s match. “I’m more frustrated and disappointed in the way we played for 90 minutes because it certainly wasn’t good enough.”

The Impact, who have won three of their past four games, are coming off a 2-1 victory at home Wednesday against the Portland Timbers, with 21-year-old Nigerian Orji Okwonkwo scoring twice. He got the winning goal in the 66th minute, spinning and hitting a volley into the upper corner of the net from just inside the top of the 18-yard box.

“It was a superb goal,” said Montreal midfielder Saphir Taider, who has a team-leading seven goals. “There’s nothing to say, just watch and enjoy. Everyone appreciates a goal like that. I was so happy I pulled him to the ground. I’m happy for him. He made the team win and he deserves it.”

Montreal is 4-5-2 on the road this season but has never won at Atlanta (0-2).

–Field Level Media

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