Justin Meram scored twice, including the go-ahead goal in the 83rd minute, as Atlanta United defeated the visiting Montreal Impact 2-1 in MLS play Saturday night.
The midfielder, who was acquired from the Columbus Crew on May 7, was making just his fifth appearance and second start for Atlanta (9-6-2, 29 points), which had lost three of its previous five games. The goals were the first two for Meram in a Five Stripes jersey.
Zakaria Diallo scored for the Impact (9-8-3, 30 points), who had won three of their previous four games.
Meram’s winner came off a corner kick by Leandro Gonzalez Pirez. Brek Shea’s header from the top of the 6-yard box was knocked off the goal line by Montreal defender Rudy Camacho, but the ball fell right to Meram, whose right-footed strike from about 3 yards out found the roof of the net.
Meram’s first goal, in the 35th minute, gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead. Meram took a pass from Pity Martinez, dribbled a few steps closer to the net and unleashed a 25-yard shot from outside the top left of the penalty area that reached the upper right corner past diving Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush.
It remained 1-0 until the second half.
Montreal tied the score in the 50th minute following a corner kick. Atlanta cleared the corner, but the Impact’s Harry Novillo was able to control the ball at the top of the 18-yard box. Novillo’s low shot started to veer to the left of the net, but Diallo was stationed near the post and was able to tip it in despite Atlanta pleading for an offside call.
Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan didn’t record a save, while Montreal’s Bush had two.
The match was the first at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for defending MLS Cup champion Atlanta since June 1. The Five Stripes improved to 6-1-2 at home.