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Atlanta United battle CF Montreal amid airtight East race

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A tight battle for an Eastern Conference playoff spot will be front and center when CF Montreal plays host to Atlanta United on Saturday.

Atlanta United (10-8-9, 39 points) is sixth in the East standings and one of four teams from fourth place through seventh place tied in points at 39. A victory could vault the club as high as third place.

Montreal (10-10-7, 37 points) dropped out of a playoff spot after losing its second straight game on Wednesday but could be back above the cut-off line with a three-point effort.

The two sides last met back on Aug. 4, playing to a 2-2 tie in which host Montreal led 2-0 before Atlanta United tallied twice in an 11-minute stretch to tie it. The tie extended Atlanta United’s winless run to 12 games, but Atlanta has been surging since, winning eight times in their next 10 games.

Most recently, the club is coming off a 1-0 win against Inter Miami on Saturday, its third shutout in the past five games. Josef Martinez converted on a penalty kick to for his 100th career goal across all competitions and give Atlanta United the win. The Venezuelan striker has scored in each of his past three appearances.

“(It) was a really important game,” Martinez said. “It was also one of the most important days of my life, but it was also very important that we were able to get the win and three very important points.”

In addition to battling for a playoff spot, Montreal is also looking to regain its home-field advantage. The club lost 4-1 to the league-leading New England Revolution on Wednesday, conceding four goals for just the second time this season.

The Canadian club has lost two of its past three games at home, where it is 7-3-3 overall.

“We know that when we play well at home, we have to win games, especially in the playoff race,” Montreal coach Wilfried Nancy said.

Atlanta is 5-1-2 all-time against Montreal. Montreal’s lone win came back on April 15, 2017, in the first meeting between the two teams.

–Field Level Media

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