Atlanta vs L.A. | Post-Match Quotes

  • Match: Atlanta United vs L.A. Galaxy
  • Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta Georgia.
  • Date: September 20, 2017
  • Final Score: ATL 4-0 LAG (Recap | Highlights)

Gerardo Martino - Atlanta Head Coach

On whether this team is in playoff form or if they can improve:

“We can’t ever lose the hope to keep improving because there are always certain things to improve. It’s true that since we moved into this Mercedes-Benz Stadium that we’ve been playing well. We’ve been great (at) attacking. We’ve been able to control the ball and defensively, I think we’ve been sound as well – aside from the game against Orlando where we gave up three goals. But, we’re still not in the playoffs yet so we know we still have work to do and some things that we can still improve on.”

On the importance of qualifying for the second or third seed:

“As I always say, the most important thing is to qualify for the playoffs. But aside from that, our aspiration is to get as high as we can in the table. And it’s true as you say, it would be very important for us to host a game here but nothing is more important than just qualifying. That’s the most important thing for us right now.”

On if Mercedes-Benz Stadium has helped take the team to the next level:

“I don’t have the answer but I think that since the first game here we have felt well. The team has been playing well but we also played well at Bobby Dodd (Stadium). We’ve been able to turn both into a really strong home-field advantage for us. It is true, you’ve seen it here that we have played very well.”

On Josef Martinez’s experience at BSC Young Boys:

“That could be the answer, but it has also been a while since he played at Young Boys. I think that sometimes in soccer things happen that you just can’t really explain and that’s just the way the game is.”

On Yamil Asad’s performance tonight:

“Yamil is so important to the team that it doesn’t take him scoring goals for me to notice him with all of the things that he brings to us. But today, he played a great game and everyone was able to see that with him scoring twice.”

Yamil Asad - Atlanta Midfielder

On the team’s performance tonight:

“I think you’ve seen in the last few home games that the whole team, generally speaking, has come out with a great intensity at the beginning of the game. We’ve been able to maintain that and get some good results.”

On the importance of earning the third or fourth seed in the playoffs:

“That’s the main goal. Today, I think we took one more step closer to our goal of making the playoffs.”

On if Josef Martinez’s recent performance has encouraged other team’s defenses to cover him closely and if that has allowed other players to be open:

“Josef (Martinez), Tito (Hector Villalba) and Miguel (Almiron) are all really dangerous players for us. They make some great diagonal runs that open up the space. We all try to take advantage of that.”

On how he feels:

“Good. A little tired but just normal tiredness of playing 90 minutes but the team has responded to all of these games – playing every three or four days. Now, we have to recover and already start thinking about the next game.”

On how it feels playing on the turf at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:

“I thought it was going to be a little bit slower but so far the turf has been fast. That helps both our style and also teams that try to come in here and play, as well.”

Jeff Larentowicz - Atlanta Midfielder

On the team’s fast start:

“The attacking end of the field just really enjoys getting out there with the space. If we put pressure on teams and create turnovers, we can get in behind them quickly. I think that’s what we did in the last few games at home. When you get the crowd behind you and get up a goal, things get really tough.”

On the backline feels more comfortable with LeAndro Gonzalez Pirez in the lineup:

“Yeah, of course. Having (Leandro Gonzalez Pirez) back is great. He does it all for us in the back. He’s good on the ball. He’s great defensively and to have him back just kind of moved everyone back into place.”

On Yamil Asad’s performance:

“You think about the attacking players, I feel like (Yamil) Asad is kind of the one who doesn’t get all of the attention, but tonight it was good because he scored a couple of goals and he deserves that. He deserves that performance. He deserves that attention.”

On if Miguel Almiron’s goal tonight ‘takes the load off his back’:

“These guys are competitive. As much as they love the team winning, they also enjoy scoring goals. It’s just like anybody. If you aren’t getting in the score-sheet and you’re missing your opportunities, you’re going to get a little frustrated but I think that’s natural. I think it shows the competitive spirit that he has, and tonight, he got the goal. He deserved it as well.”

On how his legs feel:

“I think they feel OK. Legs always feel better when you’re winning. It’s just a fact. I think that if you can get on a roll and you’re not going to the airport and you’re not staying at a hotel, you get things going. Currently, we’re doing that. It helps the legs out.”

Brad Guzan - Atlanta Goalkeeper

On his lack of action in goal in today’s match:

“That’s the way I like it. The red card already obviously changed the game for us. In terms of blocking shots, I think I had one save in the first half but other than that there was a stress where they were on top of us for a bit before the sending-off. Whether it was blocked shots, whether it was closing guys down, making tackles, they were very good. Then afterwards, not a whole lot to do.”

On if he had ever played on a team that has scored 17 goals in four games:

“Probably not. No. Maybe when I was a kid growing up but that’s a credit to not only our style but the players that we have in this football club. In terms of their ability – individually – their ability to see passes, their ability to pick out their teammates in good areas and good spots. You look at some of the finishes today (and) they’re fairly easy when you get a cross on top of the six-yard-box where all you have to do is redirect it home.

On the importance of securing home-field advantage for the playoffs:

“We all know what the atmosphere is like here so if we can do that, that would be tremendous. First and foremost we’ve got to make sure we find ourselves in the playoffs. We do that by continuing to win these games and pick up points, and then, hopefully, like you said, we can find ourselves having a home game. I think if we do that we can create some momentum and a buzz and an energy around the team and around the city and (one) that I don’t think many MLS teams can compare.”

On his attitude and sense of urgency defending a free kick late in the match even when the team had a lead:

“When you give someone like Giovanni Dos Santos a free kick from that area, more times than not, he is going in or around the goal. From our standpoint, they’re silly free kicks and our ability to close out games has to be a little bit better. We can’t be giving away silly free kicks, regardless of if the score is 4-0. Because going down the stretch it may be 0-0, it may be 1-0 and we need to make sure we don’t give away things like that. In our eyes, that’s a cheap goal. You approach that the same way you do in the first minute, the 35th (minute) or the 95th (minute).”

Sigi Schmid - L.A. Head Coach

On how to get his team to respond after conceding a goal early:

“Our concentration and our focus needs to be better. When we defend, all 11 players that need to defend, but we need to be focused and concentrated. We showed in the second half playing a man down that we could defend. Guys were focused. If we were to play that same way in the first half, we would be in a different position right now.”

On Jermaine Jones’ red card:

“I haven’t seen it. No comment.”

On what changed in the second half:

“We were focused. We concentrated. I challenged them at halftime. I said, ‘It is a new game. We can’t lose the second half.’ We didn’t win the second half, but we ended up with a 0-0 tie. We have to got to be focused and show to ourselves that we can play disciplined at the right moments and at the right times.”

On the team’s attack:

“You can’t attack if you can’t defend. You have to be able to defend in order to attack. You have to be able to hold on to the ball, and right now we are not doing a good job defending and we’re not holding onto the ball well enough."

Giovani Dos Santos - L.A. Forward

On not getting enough shots on goal:

“It’s difficult. When you don’t get shots, you can’t expect great things. Everyone knows what we want especially it’s frustrating because I know people look at me while I’m on the pitch. It’s difficult, but you have to understand the situation as a team. We just need to keep working to come back stronger next game.”

On how he and the team can be better:

“I don’t think it’s just about my movements. Of course, I want to get better every single year. I think it’s an understanding of everyone. I can make a run, but if your teammate doesn’t see you then your run doesn’t matter. There are a couple things right now that we’re still building on. If you see last year, I remember my numbers were different. This time, I’m working harder than last year. I’m making good runs, but not getting recognition from the team.”

On how he keeps his head up:

“I’m just working. As a professional, you always go through difficult situations. In our profession, we can’t give up. We have to focus on the next game and get better next year.”

On what will tell him if his hard work has paid off:

“At the end of the day, if my team wins I will be happy. I doesn’t matter if I score or if I assist. Of course, I’m going to be in good shape because I have international goals with my international team. The next year is the World Cup so I’m definitely going to work hard for next year.”

David Romney - L.A. Defender

On why it seems the team’s strong start doesn’t last:

“It is mentally draining when you are playing well and then you get scored on. Strong teams stay focused and stay in attack mode. I think once that first goal goes in, the confidence goes down and you start forcing things, you get impatient or whatever it may be but we have to do everything better, collectively, when that first goal gets conceded, if we don’t concede first.”

On the first two goals:

“The first two goals you can say unlucky. I mean the guy is going to cross it and it is kind of going to me and then Jermaine (Jones) tries to block it. He is doing the right thing. He is trying to block the ball but it deflects off his leg and goes right to Josef Martinez. I should be tight there but I kind of did react to the ball because I saw where it was going. The second one was deflections all over the place. Everyone kind of had a piece of it. Then the guy shot eventually. It deflected off my leg when I dove in front of it and unfortunately, it went in. Those deflections sometimes bounce your way. Sometimes, (they) don’t bounce your way. In this game, this season, nothing really has gone our way.”

On how they plan to stay focused:

“The bounces are unfortunate but that’s not why we are losing. We are not playing well enough. We aren’t defending well enough. No one is obviously playing as good as they can be right now. It’s not like – oh we are playing amazing soccer – and it’s unlucky bounces here and there. Collectively, we all have to step up. It is hard in times like these to be confident and play aggressive and attack other teams but you just got to try to find it someway and do that.”

On what they did better in the second half:

“It was that seven-minute stretch where we conceded those three goals. We lost the game in seven minutes. That’s soccer. If you can’t focus for 90 minutes, then it’s not good enough. We just made it a goal to not concede the entire second half. We knew that is exactly what they wanted to do. They had New England here a week ago where they had two red cards and they tried to score as many goals as they possibly could. In the 90th minute, they were still taking corners and trying to score. We just knew they were going to play as hard as they were in the first half. We just said no more goals against. If we get out of here zero-to-zero second half that is good. If we can find a way to scrape a goal or two, that is also good.”

Jermaine Jones - L.A. Midfielder

On why he received a red card:

“I felt a tackle on my left foot. I jumped up and then I reached back with my leg and caught him on his back. The referee called it a kick but he was not sure. He looked into it and the people on TV reviewed it and said they did not have a clear picture to say exactly what happened so he said it’s a red card.”

On giving up the first goal:

“I think we need to sit together before games and talk and go over games to see what the other team is doing. We knew they wait for rebounds in the middle and they are good at counter breaks. We knew that. On the first goal, they gave us the ball, we tried to chip the ball into the middle, we lost it in the middle, the ball keeps going straight back to us and we (give up) a goal.”

On improvements to make moving forward:

“I think in the second half you can see that we can fight and we can do it. In general, it has to be together as a whole team. Everybody has to fight and do it for the club – especially, for the guy next to you. I think we knew they were good at counter breaks, but I think the first two goals we gave up were pretty easy.”