Julian Gressel opened the scoring in the 53rd minute but Bojan Krkic found the equalizer in the 81st, forcing Atlanta United to settle for a 1-1 draw with the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo on Sunday. The result proved immaterial for Montreal, which was officially eliminated from playoff contention following New England Revolution's win over NYCFC.
After a scoreless first half, Gressel found the opener shortly after second-half kickoff courtesy of a feed from Emerson Hyndman. The goal appeared to have put Atlanta in the driver's seat to procure a road victory, only to see Krkic level just a few minutes from the final whistle. Atlanta thought they struck a game-winner four minutes after Krkic's goal off a finish from Tito Villalba following a frantic scramble in front of goal that started with a shot off the woodwork from substitute Ezequiel Barco. But the goal was waved off for offside on Atlanta's Justin Meram. Montreal goalkeeper Clement Diop then made a spectacular sprawling save on a free kick from Barco in the 88th minute and another highlight-reel denial of Villalba at the death, preserving the 1-1 result.
The Impact had a great chance to open the scoring in the 37th minute off a cross from Daniel Lovitz that landed at the feet of Ignacio Piatti, who found Saphir Taider to his right for an open look on goal. However, Taider would see the shot denied by a reaction save from Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
Atlanta had its best look at the opener just before the halftime whistle off a well-worked counterattack that culminated with a low cross from Meram to a wide-open Brandon Vazquez, who wasn't quite able to control his shot and sent it sailing over the crossbar.
The visitors found the game's first tally in the 53rd minute after Hyndman put Gressel on goal with a nifty backheel feed, allowing the fullback to cash home his fifth goal of the season and put Atlanta up 1-0. The Impact would strike back with Krkic's leveler in the 81st, however, allowing Montreal to split the points following the frantic final sequence that featured the offside call on Meram and Diop's late heroics.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Despite dropping points, Atlanta jumped up to second place in the East on the wins tiebreaker over Philadelphia after the latter's loss to Columbus. The Impact are playing for pride at this point, but they did well to level the contest and salvage the point in their first game back in league play since their Canadian Championship penalty kick triumph over Toronto FC.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Both of Diop's saves at the end of the match were ridiculous, but the first one on Barco was a truly fantastic display of athleticism.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: We'll keep on that theme here and give it to Diop, as Atlanta would have left Montreal with all three points had the Impact netminder not came through with his late denials.