What a difference three points makes.
The mood was confident at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground this week, as the players finally started to see all the ideas they’ve been practicing on the training pitch click during a match over the weekend. But they know this is only the start of what’s to come next.
“We’ve had a good few weeks of training,” Julian Gressel told media after training, “and now we want to get results. Results will change the way we feel, they will help us get our confidence back on the field. With our outlook –– four of the next five are at home –– we have to be really hungry for these five upcoming games, focus on getting points and moving up in the standings.”
“I had a very good feeling about the two weeks of training with the weekend off, it helped us to talk to players, to really get focused on details,” added head coach Frank de Boer. “You saw every day we were growing in confidence. Confidence is a major impact in every sport. We had a fantastic two weeks, and you saw the result against New England. So hopefully, we make steps again, we had a good training week again, and hopefully we will see it in a fantastic performance for our team this weekend.”
De Boer said getting that first league results has lifted the mood of a group ready to get back to where they belong in the standing. But no one is getting carried away with one match, especially the team’s veterans, who said they’re looking back at the win in New England for lessons learned that can be used to improve the team moving forward.
“I think everybody understood their job and did their job defensively, top to bottom,” said Michael Parkhurst. “We just put in a really good, hard-working 90 minutes, and that’s what it takes. You can’t take plays off, take minutes off, especially defensively in this league. We didn’t do that in New England and hopefully we can do that again against Dallas.”
“It just kind of happened to be our first win of the year, but I’m just looking at it game by game,” added Jeff Larentowicz. “And in that sense, it’s a game we go away from home and we get a victory and a shutout, perform pretty well. Lots of positive besides the headlines of us getting our first win.”
The next step is to bring that kind of performance home, and turn Mercedes-Benz Stadium into the fortress of noise that has carried this team for two years running.
“We desperately want a win at home,” de Boer said. “It’s good for the fans, the feeling, and for our players… We have to try to get that confidence that we showed against New England, that we’re showing progress, and to be even better than that. I have a good feeling about it, but we have a lot of respect for our opponent as well.”
“Always going into a home game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium is great,” added Miles Robinson. “You get a little jittery because you have so many people watching and cheering you on, so that’s always great to have. You always have to be grateful for our fanbase here, top 10 attendance in the world, so it’s always special to play here.”
With the Five Stripes returning to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the first time in more than a month, the fans and the players will be eager to put in a strong performance to take another step up the table. Tickets are still available here, or if you can’t make it, click here for all the details on how to tune in.