It was a valiant fight back, but all three points were there for the taking.
Atlanta United’s 2-2 draw with CF Montreal at Stade Saputo Wednesday night started as a joyride and ended as a drag race up and down the field in a frantic final half hour. It was a game with some bright spots and some calamitous errors. Let’s get to the ratings.
GK Brad Guzan 5 – Guzan made somewhat of a surprising return to the net for Atlanta after having not played a competitive match in weeks while Alec Kann has shown fine for deputizing for the captain. Guzan made no glaring errors, but clearly there was some communication mistakes and I don’t love him hitting the long ball to Josef that lead to Montreal’s opener.
RWB Ronald Hernandez 6 – Hernandez showed some nice spark and while he may not be the athlete with the straight line speed that Brooks Lennon possesses, Hernandez used some deft touches and intelligent runs to be effective.
CB George Campbell 7 – The homegrown center back getting his second MLS start played well in Wednesday’s back three. Yes, Mason Toye ran away from him for the opening goal, but watch the play back and you’ll see Campbell was still making his way back from the corner after he’d dropped to accept a short pass from Guzan in the buildup. Other than this, Campbell had several crucial challenges and duels won.
CB Alan Franco 5 – Looked more uncomfortable in the middle of the back three as opposed to recent matches when he’s played as a right-sided CB. Not terrible, but he made small mistakes and carried body language we haven’t seen the last couple matches in a different shape.
CB Anton Walkes 7 – Provided good energy for the team with forward runs late when Atlanta was up a man and with two other center backs alongside him felt the license to go forward. Pretty average good game from Walkes.
LWB George Bello 5 – I thought this was a sloppy performance from Bello, coming off a high of winning the Gold Cup and starting in the final in Las Vegas Sunday night. He made his way into some good positions but the final ball was lacking.
CM Santiago Sosa 5 – Sosa seems like he’s still settling in to a central midfield role that’s a little more traditional than the No. 5 role he was playing under Gabriel Heinze. But even as a CM in a back four like the last few games, he’s found opportunities where he can drop into the back line to manipulate the shape and help Atlanta’s build up. With the back 3 in place Wednesday, the space was no longer there for him and it affected Sosa’s ability to influence the game and express himself.
CM Amar Sejdic 5 – Sejdic played his usual, technical role in central midfield, but the team lacked pace and dynamism while he was on the field — though that may not have been down to him. It’s evident that he and Sosa are still learning to play together, and that incohesion makes things tick just a touch slower than Atlanta needs.
AM Marcelino Moreno 8 – Moreno carried right on from his recent form, adding to his goal tally with a successfully converted penalty and nearly scoring in the game’s opening moments with a nice pass and move combination with Josef.
AM Ezequiel Barco 7 – Barco surprised by making the starting XI after returning so recently from the Olympics, but he definitely was an improvement to the team that we’d all have hoped. Of course, as always there were some frustrating moments, but the Argentine showed his greatest strength immediately after his side went down 2-0, driving the ball forward with his feet before playing a threaded ball across the field to Josef.
ST Josef Martinez 8 (Man of the Match) – Josef Martinez was the talisman for Atlanta on a night when they needed him. He’s one fo the few players in the league that can seemingly grab a game by the scruff of the neck when it seems to be getting away, just as he did scoring his excellent goal to cut the deficit in half. He later earned a penalty, and he generally has been combining well with Moreno in recent games and Barco as well Wednesday.
SUB Jurgen Damm 3 – Damm failed to make an impact as a sub with fresh legs against a 10- and then 9- man Montreal.
SUB Matheus Rossetto 5 – Honestly, I didn’t notice him much. after Rossetto entered, the game was mainly end-to-end, bypassing the areas of the field where he can offer the most support.