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ATL v MTL | Post-Match Quotes

  • Match: Atlanta United vs Montreal Impact
  • Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta Georgia.
  • Date: September 24, 2017
  • Final Score: ATL 2-0 MTL (Recap | Highlights)

Gerardo "Tata" Martino - Atlanta United head coach

On if he has an update for Miguel Almiron’s injury:

“Apparently, it’s a muscle injury. Tomorrow, he’ll be evaluated by doctors and we’ll know more.”

On the possibility of Atlanta United making the playoffs:

“I think we are almost sure of a playoff spot especially because we beat a direct opponent that is behind us. I think we are 10 points ahead of them in the standings. So, mathematically speaking, we may not be guaranteed a spot, but we are close.”

On the team’s resilience over the last several home games:

“First, I want to attribute it to our fans. I think we have a good relationship with our fans. You could see in the second half when Montreal was starting to gain some momentum our fans really stepped up. Second, we are playing well in our new stadium. Third, we have been playing together for a longer period of time now and we are gaining more confidence in our system.”

On the importance of home-field advantage:

“There are some leagues where home-field advantage is really strong, and this is one of those leagues. You can feel it wherever you go. It is also true that because of our schedule this year we played a lot of road games at the beginning of the season. And now, we have a stretch of home games that we are taking advantage of. You can tell that home-field advantage is very important in this league.”

Jeff Larentowicz - Atlanta United midfielder

On the team being one win away from securing a playoff berth and the ‘impact’:

“That’s been our goal all year. As far as the ‘impact’ is, I’m not really concerned about that. I think that, for us, it was just a team goal from the get-go – to not use an expansion team as an excuse, to come together as a group and push from day one. I think the job’s not done yet but we’re happy with kind-of what we’ve been doing lately.”

On the possibility of playing without Miguel Almiron:

“Well, we just have to move forward. The team comes together. There are plenty of guys that are itching to play. Miguel is obviously the heartbeat of our team when he’s out there. He makes so much happen for us. To lose him would be difficult if we do. I’m not sure about the injury but we’ll come together as a group just like we did today.”

On his goal:

“I think we took a short corner. It comes back to Julian (Gressel) and he has a gap to play it in behind their defense. You just try to get in the right spot and bundle it in.”

On the defense’s performance over the last few games:

“A shutout is a team effort from front to back. I think that everybody did their part today. You look at the guys up front, the amount of work that they did. Yamil Asad, Julian (Gressel) when he came in – it’s a team effort. Obviously, over the last three or four games, we’ve done really well as a group. I think that that’s a good feeling. To win games is great but to get shutouts and to get it as a team is very good.”

Julian Gressel - Atlanta United midfielder

On the possibly having to play in place of Miguel Almiron:

“It is just playing the position (and) playing (to) my abilities and seeing what I can do. It’s tough for him to have the muscle injury. I haven’t seen him or talked to him but he was pretty upset coming off the field. It is never easy and you don’t want to see that happen to teammates but if it is me, then, obviously, I will try to be as good as I can and step into that role.”

On his assist:

“I think it was a corner. Yamil (Asad) actually made a run inside so he opened up for the third man and for Carlos (Carmona). He just played it to me back out. I saw a big space between the keeper and the back line. I just figured to get a good ball in and I was hoping some of the guys would make a run and thankfully Jeff (Larentowicz) did.”

On how important it is to get the first-round bye:

“We haven’t really talked about that. First and foremost, we talked about obviously qualifying for the playoffs. I think we have made a really, really big step today towards that. Now, I’m sure this week, we will talk about what other goals we have this year and what we can achieve in the regular season and then, once the playoffs (come).”

Hector "Tito" Villalba - Atlanta United forward

On the possibility of playing without Miguel Almiron:

“I have no idea what happened to him. We’ll have to find out in the coming days but if he can play, great. If he can’t, then everyone else is going to have to put in the extra effort to make up for his absence.”

On the atmosphere at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:

“I said it before but you can’t explain how great the fans have been. They’re here every game. The stadium is full. We’re appreciative, nothing else.”

On if they had any bets if Michael Parkhurst or Jeff Larentowicz would score first:

“No, but I would have said Jeff (Larentowicz) because he’s higher up the field so he has more chances.”

On what explains their fast start:

“We start well because at first we’re playing at home. We have the obligation to push forward and attack. On the road and at home we always try to play the same. And we find goals because that’s how we play.

Anton Walkes - Atlanta United defender

On defending Ignacio Piatti:

“Well, we’ve got a clean sheet. That’s great. He’s a great player – we know what his strengths are – just can’t let him get one-on-one, so when he’s got the ball, it’s about doubling up and getting numbers around him.”

On the possibility of playing without Miguel Almiron:

“Well, his talent speaks for itself. It’ll definitely be a big miss but I think we’ve got players on our team that have been waiting on their opportunity so I’m sure that they will prove their point.”

On if he considered that this team was ready for a playoff run when he initially transferred from Tottenham:

“As soon as I spoke to the representatives over here, they said their goal was to come and dominate the league and I think with the start we’ve had, it’s about pushing it and seeing how far we can go.”

On the challenge of playing a condensed schedule:

“It’s a challenge in itself because we don’t have much time to train. It’s all about making sure you take your time that you have and reflecting on what you need to improve upon in the next game.”

Leandro González Pirez - Atlanta United defender

On the defense’s performance today:

“I think that we were really attentive defensively today. Parts of the game, we defended man to man. You saw we took some risks, but that’s part of how we play. I think that you saw we played pretty well because they only had one shot on goal.”

On Brad Guzan’s save that occurred right before Jeff Larentowicz’s goal:

It was a very good save, and in that moment, they were attacking our goal. It was an important save in the moment and that is what we count on Brad for because he is a really good goalkeeper and we know that he is there to make big saves in important moments.”

On the team’s fatigue:

“In the second half today, I think we felt it. Playing five games in a short period of time – especially with the style that we play – we want to have the ball, press high and control the game. During the second half, we lost our legs a little bit.”

On the possibility of playing without Miguel Almiron:

“We still don’t know what the injury is. Obviously, it would be a big loss because Miguel is one of the most important players in the league. We don’t know what it is but if he’s not able to play then other guys are going to have to step up. Hopefully, we will be able to keep winning and keep moving up the table.”

On the team being one win away from securing a playoff berth:

“We knew that based on the results yesterday that this was a really important game for us. We’re almost assured a playoff spot. It’s not certain but it’s something like a 90-percent chance we can make it. But now, we’re trying to climb the table and I think that there’s a good chance that we could reach as high as the second spot if we don’t have any slip-ups. We’re just trying to keep moving up and get as high as we can in the table.”

Brad Guzan - Atlanta United goalkeeper

On if there was a sense of urgency for this game:

“I wouldn’t say any more so than any other game we played. We know that obviously Montreal is fighting for their lives in terms of trying to get into the playoffs. It was important to get off to a good start, which we did – put them under some pressure. The first goal is always going to change the game one way or the other. It is going to give them some hope and belief. At the same time, when Tito (Hector Villalba) strikes the ball like that not many goalkeepers are going to make that save. That was obviously huge.”

On if his save provided a boost to the team:

“I don’t know. At the end of the day, as a goalkeeper you want to make as many saves as you can. At that moment in the game, we were on the back foot. We were under a bit of pressure. They obviously get in and I am able to make myself big and make the block. A couple minutes later, we go down and score. In games like this you’ve got to come up with one or two saves and tonight, it was one and we will take it and move on and look forward to Wednesday.”

On the defense’s performance tonight:

“That’s what I’m saying let’s talk about the defense right! We have got some exciting attacking players. We have got guys that can go and score goals out of nothing. We have guys that can combine and get some unbelievable goals. At the same time, you look at the guys in the back line that provide width, that provide the base for allowing those guys to go do their thing on the attacking side of it. Hats off to the guys in front of me, Parky (Michael Parkhurst), Leandro (Gonzalez Pirez), Chris (McCann) and Anton (Walkes). They are putting their bodies on the line in terms of tackles, blocks, and at the same time, starting the attack.”

On how his playoff experience can help the younger players:

“It is going to be important. At the same time, with all the success in terms of the results, in the last couple weeks, we still have to – at certain moments, certain times – find ways to manage games better. We are always trying to get better. At the end of the day, everyone is going to look at the score line and say, ‘Atlanta won, great, move on.’ But, we will sit down and dissect this and look at how we can get better in terms of managing the game and making it easier. We know at times you have to defend – that is the nature of sports, the nature of soccer – but at the same time, you are always looking to get better.”

Mauro Biello - Montreal Impact head coach

On his team’s effort in the first half:

“The last ten minutes of the first half we hung in there. They were high-pressing us and they were able to get that goal. We had a couple of chances in the first half there that maybe we should have done better – s that cross across the box to (Ignacio Piatti). In the second half, I thought we had more of the ball and tried to get that (equalizing) goal. (Michael) Salazar has a chance just before they scored the second. (Atlanta) is a good team. They are very good on the break. There is some quality (on the team) and they are very good on one-versus-one (situations). You have to take your chances when you come here. It’s not an easy environment, but when you are on the road, you have to be able to take those chances and give yourself a chance.”

On the team’s playoff hopes after the New York Red Bulls lost:

“In the end, the Red Bulls lost. We have a game on Wednesday. We have to go and collect points. It’s a home game. We haven’t played particularly well at home and now, it’s a game against New York City FC where we have to take these points.”

Evan Bush - Montreal Impact goalkeeper

On pressure from Atlanta’s attack:

“I think for stretches we did pretty well. I think we had chances to even the game when it was 1-0 and we didn’t take advantage of it. A team like that, they are going to make you pay. What made them so dangerous was in the first half they pressed really well. They got their first goal and when they came out in the second half they changed a bit the way they played. It’s a team that was protecting the lead and waiting for their chances. They defended well and didn’t give away too much and then they ended up getting the second (goal). It’s a very good team. To me, it’s one of the top-two teams in the league with Toronto right now. It was a tough task for us. Now, we have to rebound and get ready for Wednesday for the biggest game of the year.”

On if this game was a bigger challenge than Toronto on Wednesday:

“No. I think the challenge in Toronto was quite big as well. I think the perception probably changed a little bit when you look at the team sheet and Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and Victor Vazquez weren’t there. I think from that standpoint, maybe the challenge seemed a little bit less. You look at the last four or five games that this team has played here and it’s been what, 4-0, 5-0, 7-0. It’s been crazy. They have been scoring tons of goals here – haven’t been conceding a whole lot – so from that standpoint yeah, absolutely, it’s a very difficult place to play. They know how they want to play. It is a big field and it suits their strengths very well.”

On his save in the first minute:

“If I could go a game without making a save, I would be much happier. That’s how it is sometimes. There are some games that you get into and know that you are going to be busy. That typically happens more so on the road. This team, if you look at all of their advanced statistics, they have the most shots, the most shots on target, the most shots in open play, the top two or three in every offensive category. We knew that coming in it was going to be a difficult game.”

Samuel Piette - Montreal Impact midfielder

On today’s match:

“It was a tough game. Atlanta is a very good team. They manage the ball very well – very good in possession – so we defended a lot, especially in the first half. In the second half, they dropped their energy a bit. I think they got tired so we had more of the ball. We had a couple chances but we couldn’t finish it. It’s tough on the mental side when you have a chance, because we did not have a lot today. You don’t finish them and then you get punished on a cross. Overall, a good effort from the lads, but a very tough game to play.”

On the team’s upcoming matches:

“Today was a must-win or at least try to get some points. Coming here with a lot of fans against a very good team, we knew it was going to be a tough game. Now, we don’t have any margin for error. We have to get three points. If we don’t, it will be very complicated because there are only four games left.”

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