Atlanta United players know full well that this season has not started the way they had hoped –– and they know there’s plenty of growth still to come. But after Saturday’s win over the Rapids, the players could breathe a sigh of relief. With three points in the bag, it was mission accomplished.
“It did not matter how, we got across the line,” Brad Guzan told reporters in the locker room. “We just needed three points, and we got it done.”
“I think this victory tastes very sweet,” added head coach Frank de Boer. “The team that deserved to win tonight got the three points. Sometimes, that’s not always the case. Hopefully, the next opponent will play a little more open, but if not, then we have to adapt. The most important thing is the three points.”
That’s not to say the team is satisfied. They still want to create more chances and score more goals –– the high-flying attacking style that has become the Atlanta United identity. But getting that win can be a monkey off the team’s back, and something to build on moving forward.
“It was extremely important,” Julian Gressel said. “Obviously, we’ve all been itching and waiting for that first home win. Today, it finally came and we got it. Now we go on the road and have a tough matchup next weekend and then hopefully we get a good result and get rolling a little bit. Three points at home were massive. We definitely feel good tonight and then worry about Kansas City on Monday.”
“After the New England game, I thought we were all positive to build on to that game,” added man of the match Darlington Nagbe. “I think we did that versus FC Dallas, even though we did not get the points that we wanted. Today, it was not the game that we wanted, but we got the points, so I think it is just a matter of time before we get it all together.”
Most importantly it adds some upward momentum for the team eager to get back on the right track after a bumpy start to the season.
“We know that we don’t like to see ourselves [at the bottom of the table],” said Leandro González Pirez through a translator. “The truth is we didn’t get some results. In some games, we deserved more, in others not so much, but it’s an uncomfortable position. Luckily, we were able to win and hopefully we can tack on more next game and get into the playoff positions.”
And if this can serve as a catalyst for a team clearly loaded with talent, it will come at a perfect time to get the ball rolling ahead of a heavy run of matches coming up in May.
“Any time you are in a long stretch of games like that, there are a lot of points to play for, and the games come quick and fast,” added Brad Guzan. “It is a chance to hopefully put together a positive run, and like I said before, get some positive results.”
That all starts with a challenging trip west to face Western Conference foes Sporting Kansas City this weekend, before returning to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Wednesday to take on Toronto FC. Tickets to that match are still available, so make sure you’ve reserved your spot here.