• Match: Atlanta United vs NYCFC
  • Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
  • Date: April 15th, 2018
  • Final Score: ATL 2-2 NYCFC (Recap | Highlights)

Atlanta United head coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino

On the call to take back Darlington Nagbe’s goal:

“He could have been offsides, but I don’t think that if there were three or four goalies in the net that they would have stopped it.”

On Ezequiel Barco’s debut:

“I think that he looked good. Physically, I thought he looked fine. He was dynamic. I think that he was missing a little bit in his precision and when he came on we went to four midfielders and we had Nagbe and Jeff (Larentowicz) playing inside with Barco on the right and Miguel (Almirón) on the left.”

On the lessons learned tonight:

“I think we can use everything from tonight because from my point of view it’s possible that this is the best game that our team has played since I’ve been here.”

On Josef Martinez’s body language:

“I think that it is logical that when he is not scoring that he feels frustrated, but also, maybe on one of the last plays, if he arrives at the near post and scores then he is happy at the end of the game. Today, I think that he was frustrated because not only did he not score, but also he didn’t really have any chances come his way tonight.”

On how Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez are able to be effective with NYCFC playing their defensive line so close to midfield:

“When the team plays high like that it is because they are pressing high up the field, so if they are going to have a high line it is because they are trying to press. What you have to look for is if you are able to get in behind that space and create problems for them, I think we created a lot of problems for them today.”

On being out possessed the last three games:

“As I said during the week, I think the change in our system has caused other teams to have more possession, but I think we have other strengths. We are a team that has been intense for 90 minutes and we are creating a lot of scoring chances. Today, you had the left back and left center back scoring goals. I think we are still doing things well just differently.”

On Kevin Kratz’s play:

“I thought he played really well. I took him out because I thought he looked really tired around the 70th minute. I think that is normal because he is a guy who usually comes off the bench and doesn’t play 90 minutes, but I thought he had a really good game.”

On how special it is to be a part of this team:

“I don’t know if I am the best person to ask that question to. I think the visionaries were the ones who believed that soccer here would work and that there was a need for soccer in the city and that this team would fill the need of the fans. Now, we are all a part of it, the coaching staff, the players, the owners and all the executives. They were the ones to bring the team here.”

Atlanta United midfielder Ezequiel Barco
On his debut:

“I'm happy to get the debut, but I'm sad with the result.”

On the chemistry with his teammates:

“It was a tough first game to come back to but my teammates helped me feel comfortable on the field. Luckily, I was able to get some playing time with them today.”

On his first impressions of the crowd and the quality of play from both teams:

“It's always great to come here with the support of the crowd. It's a beautiful experience to play here. They never stop chanting the whole game and it just gives you more excitement to come and play in front of them.”

On the moment he came on the field for the first time:

“As I said, I came in, and the response from the crowd was great. It's something beautiful here, but as I said, I'm just upset with the result.” 

Atlanta United midfielder Miguel Almiron
On this season:

“It’s clear that Atlanta is up for big things this season. It was a very difficult game. New York is top of the table for a reason. They have very good players. We’re going to keep working hard to continue on this path.”

On playing with Ezequiel Barco:

“I feel good playing with Ezequiel. When he starts to play more and gets more confident, he’s going to be even better.”

On switching positions with Ezequiel Barco:

“We don’t have any problems with that. We’re comfortable on the field. Coach gives us the freedom to do that and has confidence in us and then we work it out on the field.”

On the game’s intensity:

“Things that happen during the game remain on the field. It was a tough game, an intense game. They have great players and unfortunately, we couldn’t get the result that we deserved.”

Atlanta United defender Michael Parkhurst
On how the game played out:

“It was probably our most intense game of the season. You know I think everybody felt it at the end of the game; everybody was pretty tired out there. Neither team gave up. I think both teams wanted to go for the win. There was some good play out there today. Both teams had their chances. We feel good about how we played, not great about giving up two goals, but they are a good team, and we had a pretty good game.”

On what he means by ‘intensity’:

“I didn’t mean intense like as far as fouls and aggressiveness, just as far as running and nonstop action and end to end. They were pressing us. We were trying to get after them a little bit. We were catching them on the counter. Things were just going quick both ways. That was a good game. I’m sure it was a good game to watch because it was up and down a little bit. Both teams kind-of took it to the other team for some periods of the game.”

On how it feels to earn one point:

“(It was) probably a fair result because we were at home and we’ve had a good run of things. I think we were a little disappointed that we weren’t able to win the game especially having two leads in the game. But all in all, (it was) a fair result, I think we can hold our heads high and get ready for next week.”

On Ezequiel Barco’s debut:

“It’s a tough ask for anybody to debut in this game just because it was so intense, and it was a lot of running defensively. They were on top of us a little bit at that point. I thought he came in and did well. You can see his class on the ball. He has got a very good first touch. Everything is very smooth. He likes to combine. I think he helped us push for the winner there at the end. It just wasn’t happening for us tonight.”

Atlanta United midfielder Darlington Nagbe
On if the ending was a fair result for both teams:

“Yeah, I think so. I think both teams had a part of the game sometimes. At times, we had possession and we created chances and at times, they did, but overall, I think it was good from us. I think we were just unlucky to have the lead twice and then give it away.”

On EzequielBarco's debut:

“I thought he did well. He’s dangerous. I think when he steps on the field he's a guy who draws attention and he's going to go to the end line and try to make a play and we need that from him.”

Atlanta United defender Greg Garza
On what he learned today:

“Personally, I think that is one of the highest, intense games we’ve had – probably in the past year and half this team has been going on — that I have been here at least. Two very good teams. That is a heck of a team out there, New York City (FC). I think we deserved a bit more. It hurts coming out with the tie, but we definitely need to keep our heads up we are still unbeaten five games. Hopefully, we keep that streak going.”

On Ezequiel Barco’s debut:

“(Barco) coming on playing the last 20 minutes, I think that is good for him to get his confidence up a bit. I think it is tough for him coming in getting that initial injury that he had and not being able to play. I know what that feels like watching the game from afar. I am glad he did get some minutes today and hopefully, we can get him in more minutes as well and get him that starting job here in a bit.”

On the potential of the offense:

“I think everyone has done their job phenomenally. To be honest, I think everyone has been put in spots to where when we do have people out everyone has played up to what they’re expected. I think that the way they made this team this year from the Directors, President and Coach, we definitely have a team to think big, but we have to keep our heads straight moving forward through the season.”   

Atlanta United midfielder Julian Gressel
On if he thinks the draw was a fair result:

“Yeah, I think it was a good game for both teams. They had spells. We had spells. They had chances. We had chances. I think it was probably a fun game to watch and definitely a fun one to play in.”

On how tough the opposing goalkeeper (Sean Johnson) was to play against today:

“Yeah, he's a good goalie. I don't think any keeper will stop Darlington’s (Nagbe) goal. It’s just unfortunate that Josef (Martinez) was there but he’s a good keeper. They’re a good team all around and they definitely deserve to be at that spot where they’re at.”

On Ezequiel Barco's debut:

“Yeah, welcome to the MLS. It's a long time coming for him, and he's been excited to come out, and that was a first taste for him against a very, very good team. I think he knows what it’s like now. He got his first few minutes in and I’m sure he’ll continue to get better and get used to it.”

On what Barco can bring to the offense:

“He’s just a good player. Quality, you know? I think another guy that's really, really hard to defend when we’re attacking and a guy that can unlock a defense pretty quickly with his clean touches and his ideas that he has and you know, that’s just another weapon we have.”

New York City FC head coach Patrick Vieira
On NYCFC’s injuries and depth:

“This is part of the life of a team. People get injured. We have to wait until we go back to New York to evaluate Ismael [Tajouri-Shradi’s] injuries. It is a hamstring. Hamstrings take time to recover. We will know more when we go back to New York. David [Villa], when he came on he looked good. I think he showed how he has been working the last couple of weeks and he came on with no problem. He finished the game with no issues, so that is good for us for next game.”

On the substitution of Rodney Wallace

“I wanted to bring on fresh legs. The front three worked really hard against Salt Lake, so it was in my mind to change all three of them. The way we play and the way we press, they spend a lot of energy to try and make it difficult for the opposing team. So that was my plan and Rodney came on and worked well. He’s working hard for the team and he did it when the team needed him.”

On Atlanta United’s goal that was reversed by VAR:

“I was asking the fourth referee about what was going on. I’m glad because I think this is what the VAR is. It is trying to help the referees make the right decision. That was an important goal, and I am glad that it went in our favor.”

On if he needed to make a change when Ezequiel Barco entered the game

“I didn’t want to concentrate on just one player. We knew how good they are and it was important for us to keep our shape and to be well organized on the field. We knew how good they were with the ball, and I think, at times, we defended quite well. That game tonight was a big game of football. When we look at the tactical side, two different teams with two different shapes. Tactically, I think it was a higher game of football. You have talent on both teams, and of course, the atmosphere, the stage makes it even bigger. For us, I think playing a few days ago, coming here and taking a point, I am really proud. I am really happy for the team because it wasn’t easy at all. They fight. They work hard and taking the point against a really strong team, knowing we played a few days ago, it is a really important point and really good point to go back to New York with.”

On how soccer is changing in the U.S.:

“You just have to look at the game today. Look at the quality of both teams, the quality of the stadium, the quality of the fans. That wasn’t the case five years ago. I think MLS is moving to the right direction. The young international players who are coming to play in the U.S. raise the level of teams and the league. I strongly believe that in the next couple of years, MLS can compete against at least the French and some of the Championship teams to bring players. The quality is there. The atmosphere is there, and the money is getting better so that is good.”

On if coming to Atlanta United is a special experience:

“It is fantastic. I was really looking forward to coming here because watching games on TV, looking at the atmosphere, the fans, it is a tough place to come and play, of course. The atmosphere is the best in this league. I think they stand out really high for the other teams to follow behind. This is part of improving the league and it is good to play football on a field like that.”

On the atmosphere at Atlanta United matches:

“Yes, of course, it is a soccer atmosphere. I think it is important for international journalists to come over and to look at the stadium, to look at the quality of the games because I think the game today was a really good game of football. Tactically, it was really interesting and this is good for MLS.”

New York City FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson
On returning to his home state of Georgia:

“It was the second time I’ve come back and played at home, so it’s always great to be back close to friends and family. It was a good result for us, I thought. A fair result in the game by two good teams that played well.”

On the goal by Darlington Nagbe that was overturned:

“I think VAR in that situation helped our team out and I think in the moment it was a big turning point in the game. It’s an important moment to get right, but that’s what VAR is for.”

On facing a team of Atlanta United’s caliber on short rest:

“It’s a good game for us, but we never get too big on individual results. For us, it’s another game and it’s done now. I think we accomplished what we wanted to come down here and do, which was come here, compete and get a result. Now it is onto Portland, another important week for us, another away match. Our focus shifts now, and we’ll do what it takes to go to Portland and do the same.”

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