Pregame – Atlanta v Montreal

Montreal travels to Georgia to take on Atlanta United

After five games, Wilfried Nancy’s men find themselves at the very top of the Eastern Conference standings in first place. And it has nothing to do with luck.

“It almost feels like redemption. All the hard work we’ve put in during preseason is paying off,” said striker Bjørn Johnsen. “Not many teams can handle us when it comes to possession and our positional play. I think we’re showing that we’re a team to be reckoned with. We practice hard, and it feels good to see that come to fruition.”

CF Montréal took on Inter Miami CF on Wednesday night and emerged victorious despite a two-hour rain delay, beating Phil Neville’s men comfortably by a 2-0 margin, with Johnsen getting the brace.

Now, they set their sights on a trip over to Georgia to take on Atlanta United in what will be a jam-packed Mercedes-Benz Stadium, this Saturday at 7pm (TVA Sports, TSN, 91.9 Sports, TSN 690).

“We’re eager to see what Atlanta has in store for us,” said midfielder Samuel Piette. “Their supporters are passionate and it’s the first game in Atlanta with a full stadium. That’s what we love as athletes. We would obviously rather play with the Montreal public behind us, but we’ll make do. We’ll try to silence them like we did in Miami.”

Montreal’s midweek win over Miami takes its tally to eight points on the season. What’s particularly of note is the team’s poise on the ball; Montreal is one of the best possession teams in MLS at the moment, and their tally of eight assists accumulated on their goals scored is the best in the league.

“Everyone wants to play and everyone is training well. It’ll be a good game and the players are ready,” said head coach Wilfried Nancy. “Atlanta likes to put pressure. The more aggressive someone is, the more composed you need to be to make the right decision. I know they love to attack in numbers. For us, this will be a good exercise. We know how to put them in trouble, but we have to be composed and lucid with the ball to avoid their chaos.”

Lineups tend to change during busy weeks, and we saw quite a few changes on Wednesday after the Club’s loss last Saturday to Vancouver. Forwards Bjørn Johnsen and Romell Quioto started both games for the Montreal side. Sunusi Ibrahim, who came on Wednesday for his first MLS minutes, and Eric Hurtado are some of the forward options for the head coach.