QUOTES: Atlanta United 4-2 San Jose Earthquakes

Atlanta United head coach Tata Martino

On if he’s happier with the four goals or more upset about conceding two

“I’m happy to have scored four goals and to have won the game, as well as the effort from the players. The two goals that we conceded bother me because the first goal I think was off a turnover playing out of the back and the second was a defensive error right after going up 2-1 on the score.”

On if the break comes at a good time

“In reality we’re coming off playing a lot of games in a row and we needed this break and also to work a little like we will next week so even though we find ourselves in a good moment it’s fine that we have this break.”

On Kyle Reynish’s performance

“It seemed to me like he didn’t have a lot of work. He couldn’t do much on the goals. But I think the fact that San Jose went down to 10 men in the first half meant that maybe they couldn’t find much off continuity offensively and that took work away from Kyle, so I think his work was correct.”

On Josef being frustrated and his hunger to score

“He’s always going to have scoring chances because in each game he moves very well in the box. But independent of that, I’ve said that he has many qualities as a soccer player, that the way he plays brings goals as a consequence, he doesn’t have to prioritize goals because he’s a player who plays as a center forward but he’s not just a forward who plays well in the box, he’s a soccer player who knows how to play. He does a lot of things for us besides scoring goals.”

On the winning goal coming of a set piece

“We always practice set pieces, sometimes you score and sometimes you don’t. It’s the same as substitutions, sometimes they’re good, sometimes they’re bad. Today we had the luck to have scored on a set piece and furthermore it was a very important goal because it was the third and it’s also good that Anton (Walkes) scored because he’s been putting in a great effort playing in what’s not his natural position, so it’s a good reward for him.”

On the difference in the second half

“We can’t not mention that the opponent was playing with one less player. In this soccer that’s so even, in this league that’s so even, playing a whole half with an extra player has its benefits so that’s why we had more control of the game. If the game had stayed 11 vs 11 the result probably wouldn’t have been the same.”

Atlanta United defender Greg Garza

On connection with Josef Martinez

“I just put the crosses in and hope somebody scores, and hope somebody is in the box. Luckily, it was just him. I think he is definitely a dangerous guy. You put balls in the box and they guy jumps twice his height. It was a good thing he was there tonight and it was a good win for us. It was a bit tough with the rain delay and everyone coming out on a rainy Fourth of July, but it is a special Fourth of July for all of us. I am glad we could put that game away and go away with the four or five days we get off with a win.”

On if tonight was a must-win

“To be honest, I think it is something I think we need to learn as a team. We got scored on in the second or third minute, but it is a 90 minute game. We have a tendency when we get scored on, we put our heads down and lose concentration and it is like we have to score the next minute or it all goes to hell. I think we need to grow as a team, and I know that comes from experience. We have a lot of young players on this team. I think it is something we need to talk about when we have this time off that the game is never over. I think we showed that in the second half and we got everything back together and really got the good important win tonight.”

On the depth of the team

“Every guy that is on this team was picked for a reason. Everybody that has their name called on the team and that is in the starting lineup has done a great job. I think Anton [Walkes] has done a fantastic job coming in. But that also doesn’t take the amount of work that Ty [Mears] has done throughout the season away. Every player on this team deserves a spot on the team, and I’m sure these guys Carlos [Bocanegra] and Tata [Martino] and Darren [Eales] knew exactly what guys they were picking during the entire draft process and before the season to get this team as competitive as possible. So it has been happy to see the guys come on. I think Brandon [Vazquez] has done a wonderful job. He is 18 or 19 years old and comes on as a sub and does a lot of work. Kevin [Kratz] has done very well and Julien [Gressel] has been out of the starting lineup but comes on and done very well. I think we are all very happy with everyone’s amount of work.

On Kyle Reynish

“He is an experienced guy, he probably has been in this league longer than I have been alive. He is definitely a good guy off the field and he took his chance. It is sad to see how well [Alec] Kann has done this season to go out with an injury, but I think Kyle did a great job.”

Atlanta United defender Michael Parkhurst

On position in table heading into break

“It has been a busy stretch for us, and I think we came out of it in a good position. With this stretch of games we just had, we were able to pick up a lot of points at home which are so valuable. We’re above the red line, we are where we want to be and now after our break we can set our sights on pushing up higher.”

On response in second half

“We talked at halftime about being a little more patient. When we went up a man in the first half, we were too anxious to get forward right away. There was no circulation of the ball and it was just route one, get it and go to goal as fast as we could. We wanted to be a little more patient, get the ball wide, get some crosses in the box, put them under pressure and just dictate the game. We knew that we could wear them down and I think that’s what happened.”

On San Jose’s second goal

“That’s what happens when you turn off for a couple seconds. They went uncontested down the field. We didn’t get a challenge in, they get a cross off and Wondo does what Wondo has been doing for a long time.  He snuck it in there where’s there is barely any space to sneak it in and it was a great finish.”

On Josef Martinez’s recent form

“He’s always that way. He really is. He’s a goal scorer. That’s what he wants to do, that’s what he loves to do and he’s upset when he doesn’t do it. That’s what you saw last week and I think maybe he was a little extra hungry, extra motivated tonight. We know that at home he’s going to get his chances. He knows that, and he was very good again tonight for us.”

On Kyle Reynish’s performance

“I thought he looked good. We asked him to play out of the back and I thought he was pretty sound with his feet. He made a couple saves when we needed him to. Overall, I thought it was a good performance in a short turnaround where he does not know that he’s starting until the day before.”

Atlanta United defender Anton Walkes

On scoring game-winning goal

“I can’t even explain it. It happened so quickly. I want to look at it again and see how I got there. It was a great ball in from Julian, from what I can remember, and I was just lucky enough to get that contact on it.”

On getting win heading into international break

“It’s great momentum. It’s another win at home. We next go to Orlando and we’ve got them back to back. So if we can pick up a win away from home and then come and play them back in our home ground, that’s a great feeling we can build from.”

On nerves going down 1-0

“A little bit because we’ve had two clean sheets in a row, so we were trying to keep that going as well. But as you can see, we bounced back brilliantly in the second half and also we made sure they paid for going a man down.”

On earning fourth consecutive start

“I just want to do a good job for the team and I feel I am doing that. Also, I’m just trying to take as much advice as I can from the coaches. I’ll always listen to what they have to say because they want what’s best for me and what’s best for the team.”

Atlanta United goalkeeper Kyle Reynish

On being nervous

“I think there always is and we have such a great crowd and there are so many people here I think it is a little tough to not have a little bit of butterflies. It is exciting to come out and play in front of such great fans in front of so many people. It is just great. As soon as the ball kicks off and you get that first touch, you have done it so many times you kind of just fall into place.”

On if he was more nervous about anything in particular

“No not necessarily. We were wondering a little how San Jose was going to play because they have the new coach. Normally you have a little bit better of an idea what the other team is about. So when there is a change of coaching like that, you just aren’t sure what look you are going to get out of them, how they are going to press and all those types of things.”

On difficulties of playing out of the back

“It is, but we go over it so much and it is something on other teams and stuff that I feel like I have done before and it is probably one of my strengths. I am pretty comfortable playing out of the back. If the guys are in the right spots and everything, it what works for us. We realize that if we create the spaces and we can break the press, our attacking guys are so dangerous that it is worth the risk. It is a little bit difficult at times, but you see the rewards obviously with how we play and you break that press and we find ourselves in great positions to score goals down the field.”

On the equalizer from San Jose

“I think it’s tough. You get so up in the moment you finally pull one back and take the lead and finally capitalized on being a man up and I think everyone kind of switches off for a split second, including myself and that is all it takes. You have a guy like [Wondolowski] on the other side that can penalize you and make you pay and he did. I think everyone for the first five minutes after we score a goal has to really buckle down and make sure not to give up any opportunities, especially a man up like that. I think everyone thinks we could all do better on that.”

On when he knew he was starting

“In the past 24 hours we were still not sure. As soon as I saw him [Alec Kann] get injured on Saturday, I was mentally ready and you always want to be ready even the games where he [Kann] is starting. It is the life of a back-up goalie, you always have to be switched on because you never want to be thrown out there and not have your head on right.”

On what he is hoping to work on

“Honestly it is one game at a time. I haven’t even looked to the next one. Once I found out today for sure that I was playing, that was all my focus. We have been working on this stuff. Me and Alec compete and training we have a great competition with all of us together. I feel like we are always ready. I always sharpen up on the little things”

San Jose Earthquakes head coach Chris Leitch

On the match

“I thought we started really well with a pretty good game plan. I thought they boys took to executing that pretty darn well. We got on the front foot, scored an early one. It looked good and then obviously, the sequence of events kind of changed the game and that’s what happens sometimes.”

On what Atlanta United did to change the game

“I thought even with a 1-0 lead we were still on the front foot, pressing them and working the ball really well.”

On Tommy Thompson’s first career goal

“Tommy took it well. The work that he has put in, along with all of the other teammates in the last nine days has been unbelievable. When you think the kid is done and he can’t go anymore, he keeps on going. He took that goal really well. In the last couple games he had a couple shots that he didn’t keep on frame. This one he kept on frame and that’s what happens.”

On coaching Tommy

“It’s great. He’s been close in his career, but for him to do it tonight, hopefully that breaks it open a little bit and he can go off and score a lot more. I know he’s capable of it for sure.”

On team’s response after going down 2-1

“When your best player is the one that constantly steps up in every single game, that’s a sign of a damn good team. That’s what Wondo does. Nick Lima played a great ball in from the left. We weren’t shell-shocked by going down a goal. You saw us go right down there. Lima put a heck of a ball in and Wondo does Wondo to put us right back in to the game level at two. It’s a great response. You can’t ask for much more than that. Having the boys respond the way they did multiple times this game, the work they put in today, you can’t ask for much more. Especially considering what they’ve been through the last nine days. I know the boys are disappointed, but I couldn’t be happier with what they have put forward as far as an effort.”

San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Tommy Thompson

On his first career goal

“It feels great. I would have hoped to get my first one in a game that our team won, but to get the monkey off my back feels good and I’m looking forward to our next game.”

On the match

“I thought we put in a great shift. I thought the team stuck together well, even when we were down a man. To get the game-tying goal down a man shows what type of character this team has. I think we’re playing with a lot of confidence and if we would have played the game with 11 players I think the result would have been completely different.”

On response after going down 2-1

“I think it’s a testament to the character of this squad. I think we have a really good group this year and we’ll bounce back from this.”