- Match: Atlanta United vs New York Red Bulls
- Location: Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ
- Date: October 15, 2017
- Final Score: ATL 0-0 NYR (Recap | Highlights)
Gerardo Martino - Atlanta United Head Coach (through translator)
This may sound odd, but did this feel like a playoff game to you?
It was an intense game. I think it was a good measuring stick for us. That's a game that could be a quarterfinal in the playoffs, so we'll see.
Seemed like this is maybe one of your toughest games this season, the way Red Bull was able to work the defense, especially in the second half.
We can't just remember the two chances that Red Bulls had. In my opinion, Red Bulls had two good scoring chances and we had -- seven, but seven clear chances. The last play of the first half, and then the first play of the second half -- Martinez crossed -- that pass by Josef. We've played the same way getting up to this point, so I don't think we're going to have to change when the playoffs come.
Seems like they were able to bottle him up and contain him outside of one or two moments. What did you see? What did they do?
As I said, Josef had two or three really clear chances and usually he converts some of those. It's not necessarily anything the Red Bulls did to defend him, but we just missed some chances today that we usually convert.
Is it a concern that he hasn't scored in three games?
Brad Guzan, he had a pretty good game today. Made a lot of saves. It's been a tough week for him. How do you rate his performance today, and also how he felt over the week and how he rose to the challenge today?
He performed just like the professional that Brad is. It wasn't his turn to play with the national team but he returned here and did his job for us.
Do you have an update on Almíron and how soon he'll be back?
It's probable that him, as well as Chris McCann, will be back for the next game.
Did you see the other results tonight?
Going for three against Toronto --
But yeah, now we also depend on Chicago. It's not all in our hands at this point. We're going to give everything we have in this last game because we still have something to play for. The Red Bulls, they are locked into the sixth place, so it's possible they rest players, and if that's the case, then we could end up facing the Red Bulls in the first round. But only someone who can predict the future will be able to tell you, and I can't, so we'll just have to see how it plays out. Red Bulls can't finish anywhere but sixth at this point so it's logical for their coach to rest players in the final game. But we would have to play this game on Sunday and then play two days later with all of our guys.
Jesse Marsch said he was upset that your team was kicking his team a lot throughout the game. He said that you were shouting to your players to kick his players. Do you have any thoughts on that?
No, absolutely nothing.
Injuries to the players, has that been the reason why Julian Gressel has been getting more time as a rookie?
For me he's been excellent. I think he's the best rookie, the best player in his first year in the League.
Michael Parkhurst - Atlanta United Captain & Defender
On the Red Bulls getting in between them better than most other teams
“Their formation and their movement amongst their middle six is very good. Their guys in the middle just pop up all over the place. Royer sometimes is a striker, he sometimes is in the midfield, on the left, on the right. Davis, the same thing. Their movement causes problems, and they were able to get a little bit of possession in, and we got a little bit tired because of it. We also caught them on the counter a couple times where a little bit more clinical (finishing) and we could have put one away. They’re a very good team.”
On the technical matchups and how that played out during the game
“We both like to play, but we both understand how dangerous we can be when we turn the ball over. They saw that tonight when Tito got in behind them a couple of times, and we know that we can’t turn the ball over against them because historically for the last five years or so they have been the best pressing team in MLS. Both teams were a little bit wary of that we also know that they play a high line and we wanted to try and get in behind them. I thought we were successful there for the first 30 minutes of the game but as it wore on we got a little bit tired, and they came on top of us.”
Julian Gressel - Atlanta United Midfielder
On Why Josef Martinez Has Struggled to Score in Recent Games…
“Everybody is paying more special attention to him. It makes sense. We still created a good amount of chances today where, if we put a couple away, you still might be able to win the game. It doesn’t always have to be a goal from Josef, you know. He’s still dangerous. Like I said, we were able to create chances. Maybe other guys were focusing more on him then other guys would get open more. We have to find him more, get him in more dangerous spots and get in those chances because he’s so clinical in there and can get a goal for us at any point.”
On Josef Martinez’s Confidence Given His Recent Scoring Drought…
“I mean, he’s scored 18 goals in 19 games. That’s not bad. I think he’s in a good spot, like we are as a team. So, we should all play with the team. Obviously, he gets frustrated when he doesn’t score which is a good thing for a striker. I’m sure Tito would’ve liked to score as well today. We just have to keep working hard, keep working as a team and keep improving and we’ll be alright.”
Jeff Larentowicz - Atlanta United Midfielder
On Trying to Find Josef Martinez
“There’s three central defenders, you know. He’s one guy up front and I’m sure that’s what they’re trying to do — get around him. At the same time, there’s a couple times he had an opportunity in the box and reflexed it. It’s close, but that’s the life of a striker, a bounce here, a bounce there, you get a goal.”
On the Game Being a Test for Playoffs
“It’s a perfect test and perfect example of an off game. You’re on the road and you have to get points, you have to perform well, you have to play with your back against the wall for an extended period of time and stand up to it. I think we did that tonight and we got a real sense of what it’s going to be like in ten days.”
Brad Guzan - Atlanta United Goalkeeper
On Tonight Being a Playoff Feel
“Yeah. We knew going it was going to have that feel. They’re a proper team, they’re a good team and they’ve got very good players. Jesse sets them up in a way that allows them to attack their numbers and if we took our chances the first half maybe it’s a different game. But, that’s football.”
On Red Bulls Splitting up Atlanta’s Defense
“They have good smart players, they’ve got good players that make intelligent runs and open space for other guys. Then they’ve got guys that can kick passes, I’ve known Sacha basically all of my professional career and I know he’s capable of picking some very good passes. With a guy like Bradley Wright-Phillips right on the end of him, they’re going to get chances.”
On His Performance Today
“Obviously ultimately, there’s always things you get better at. We’ll go back and watch the video and look at things to get better. You know, myself, the goalkeeping coach Aron Hyde, we sit down and dissect different plays in the game that ultimately between us can be better. So there’s always room for improvement.”
Jesse Marsch - New York Red Bulls Head Coach
Do you feel in this match, this was the momentum you were looking for to finish up the regular season and get into the playoffs?
Yeah, I thought we played great. I thought we were the better team. Thought we dominated almost every aspect of the game. It was a little bit shaky in the start but once we cranked things up, we took over the game. And the shame is that, you know, they just decided that they wanted to kick us almost every time, referee doesn't want to hand out yellows, so then they are allowed to kick him more. Could have been a red card on Asad. Should have been a second yellow when he throws the ball away. Their bench is yelling to kick our guys from the bench, okay. So Martino is yelling in Spanish to kick our players.
So you know, I understand it's a good team and they are the darlings of the league right now, but I don't think that you should be able to come into a place and behave in that manner and not have some kind of recourse.
So it's a shame because our team really went after it. I want to keep this, you know -- I do want to keep this about our team, because our team played really well and went after the game in a strong way and a confident way and played great.
Obviously in the first 30 minutes, the team is on the back heel a little bit, and then something changed. Was it Atlanta coming a little bit fatigued from overrunning themselves or something specific tactically?
I don't think that we were on the back foot. The game was open, right. There were little loose balls in the midfield and we weren't clean enough in certain moments and yet we were still creating some advantages.
And then, yeah, as the game went on, you saw our team gather courage, gather sharpness and gather momentum, and you know, it's too bad, because they deserved the win. They went after the game in a big way and played great. Played great. Especially second half. Wow, wow.
With the way the results went today, it's a little up-and-down in the air who you're going to playing --
In the play-in game but if you were to play Atlanta again, this wasn't really two sides who kept their powder dry much. Any insight that you'll take away?
Yeah, I think there's little things in the game. I think that we also realized that, you know, for two teams that like to press, that we came out on top. We came out on top, and we were able to establish our way of playing more than they were.
So I think that's something we'll carry with us, and then, you know, you just hope that from some perspective, that they shouldn't be allowed to kick us for 90 minutes. Shouldn't be allowed to happen. Should not be allowed to happen.
Are you committed to using Veron off the bench? It seems the last few games where he's come in, he's had a real impact.
Yeah, yeah. He's, I think, accepted the role in a big way. It's not that we don't think that he can start, okay, but we like the way that he plays in that role, and when he comes on the game and defenders are a little bit tired, he really goes for it.
So yeah, we're really happy with Gonzalo. Doesn't preclude him from striking. We can play with two strikers sometimes. We'll look at match-ups a little bit and figure out how we want to play. But Gonzalo is in a really good way and we're really happy with how he's playing.
What goes into the decision?
It's a little bit the matchups; a little bit how we think we can -- if we think he can be effective from the very beginning; if we think he can be effective from coming off the bench.
You know, he's been great coming off the bench, there's no doubt. In all ways, really happy with Gonzalo and he has accepted whatever role and he has embraced it, and he has really gone after it. So that's really good to see.
Next week against D.C., there's a --
Yeah, we're locked in. We're locked in.
Do you anticipate that you're going to play the exact same kind of way as you did here, straightforward, or should we expect some resting of players?
I think you can expect some resting of players, okay. I think that you can expect that we will make sure that we are sharp and fit and ready to push in the playoffs.
But I think try to use it as a time to make sure that whatever the turnaround is, that we have a team in that midweek knockout game is ready to fly, ready to fly.
Give us an update on Connor, if you could, please. I don't know what happened. Looked like he went straight down and you subbed him out. Was it concussion-related or--
It's a head injury. I'm not sure if it's been labeled as a concussion yet. They said that he seems pretty clear and that everything seems good. So they are evaluating it still. We'll know more in the next coming days. But Connor is in good shape.
With so much focus on player development, do you think it's the role of a professional to develop your own players or is it only the role to develop your team with your dime and your guys, and what happens after?
Yeah, this is an interesting time in our sport in our country, isn't it. There's a lot of opinions flying around. We all feel incredibly sickened by not being in the World Cup.
Certainly we have to take a look at, from a global perspective, how we develop talent, and then how we supplement that talent into the different levels of play, whether it's the first team, whether it's the youth national teams or whether it's the club teams.
I can talk about what we believe in here, okay. What we believe in here is that, first of all, we work as a unit. We are all together, all the time. We're all-in; we're one team; we're one voice. That is the starting point, always, always.
I don't care, you want to talk about details of player development, you want to talk about details of mentality or what it means to be on a national team or whatever else, but it starts with having unity within the organization, okay.
Then we love our young players. We love our young players, and we love to develop them. We love to teach them to play our style. We like them to be aggressive. We want them to be rewarded for their aggression, for their commitment and you see that in our system, players develop, period, period.
You could go back to the first year with Matt Miazga; you could go through Alex Muyl and Sean Davis; you could go through Aaron Long; you could go through Tyler Adams; you can look at the way that we use our second team, Red Bull II, you can look at the way we're forming our academy, right. And we believe in it wholeheartedly and this is our identity and we love it. We love who we are. We love committing to this all the way.
I think it helps the players to know that there's an identity in place; that they can understand how they want to play. They also know that they have a chance. If you're a young player in this organization, you have a chance. You have a chance.
So yeah, I think everybody here is excited about our identity and how we do things and I do think in the long run, we will benefit U.S. Soccer, because we will build young players, we will make them better, and ultimately then we'll put them to the test in their national stage, right. Can't wait to see Tyler Adams first cap, can't wait. Can't wait.
Just on the national team subject, you've been involved in the national team in different capacities. Is that a goal of yours? Would you want to be the coach of the national team at some point, short term or long term?
Man, that's a loaded one (laughs). You know, listen, there's a few things about being the national team coach, all right. I learned from my time there that the responsibility to the sport in this country is massive when you're involved with the national team, and that's whether you're the equipment manager, whether you're the PR guy, whether you're the assistant coach and certainly whether you're the head coach.
I loved being a part of it. I loved working my tail off to do everything we could to leave no stone uncovered so that, you know, we would empower that team and ultimately empower Bob when he was the coach to be successful and then when the lights came on, on the biggest stage, to feel like we did everything we could to try to be the best that we could be.
I think South Africa was a real reflection of the spirit of the team; the way that team went after things when their backs were against the wall. The Slovenia game, the Algeria game; even the Ghana game when we went down and fought back and took it to overtime. So that's the part that I love the most, right.
Now, it's important that when you're the national team coach that you're prepared to take on that role; that you're prepared for the big pressures; that you can handle big moments, all right. Right now, I'm focused on my team, my club and my personal development. You know, if I continue to put a lot into our project here, I think that there will be a lot of people within this organization that will be rewarded in big ways, and we have to, you know, continue to push towards championships. That's a long way of saying, you know, you never know, but I'm committed to doing whatever I can to help this sport in this country.
Sacha Kljestan - New York Red Bulls Captain & Midfielder
On taking any sort of advantage from playing Atlanta United with a possible playoff matchup in mind…
“I think they started out the game very well building out of the back and we couldn’t really figure out our spacing in the midfield in order to close them down, and they had a few chances. But, then after I think 20 or 25 minutes I thought we had a total grasp on the game. We just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net, which is ultimately going to be very important in the playoffs.”
On the young players' performance and physical play during the match…
“So Atlanta fouls a lot. I think when things break down they just foul. I wish the refs would have handled that a little bit better so that some advantages later in the game could have been better for us. But I think the young guys have done good. Obviously, the physical part of the game comes really easy for Tyler Adams. Sean Davis, I thought stood pretty tall today as well and covered a lot of ground. We’ve gotten some good performances from some young guys, and we got to push ourselves into the playoffs.”
On end of the game tactical fouls due to lack of early game bookings…
“That’s what I am saying. If the ref could have given out a yellow card here and there a little bit earlier in the game, they wouldn’t have been able to take some tactical fouls and take those late yellow cards. I think the refs just got to know that going in that Atlanta is a team that fouls a lot.”
On Guzan being a tough opponent tonight…
“Brad is a very good goalie. Also, one of my oldest and best friends in soccer. I really wanted that long distance one to go in, and he told me he didn’t have a chance on it, it was always going away from him. Unfortunately, the post got in the way, and it was his best friend tonight. It was hard for me to see but he made an unbelievable save on Bradley Wright-Phillips. No joke, Brad is a very good goalie. There is obviously many reasons why he is on the national team.”
Bradley Wright-Phillips - New York Red Bull Striker
On Atlanta’s Performance and Aggressiveness
“It was a tough game. We were expecting that, we saw that on the video reel. They’re not just a good footballing team or high-pressing team, they like to mix it up and get physical. Today, they did just that.”
On Atlanta “Muscling” Him Away from Goal
“Yeah, they were tough. They were physical but I think, today, my runs and the timing of my runs weren’t great. So, that didn’t help the situation.”
On Potential Opponents in the Playoffs
“Honestly, I don’t really care. I think we’re in a good place right now. I’ve been a part of Red Bulls where I’ve been top of the league and looked at some of the teams at the top…I’m not really looking at who is the best match up because you’re going to have to play the best teams in order to get to the final.”
Luis Robles - New York Red Bulls Goalkeeper
On The Atmosphere Tonight
“The stadium was rocking, not just positioning in the table on the line, we wanted to create some sort of momentum. Coming off a performance like last week against Vancouver it was a great opportunity to do that. I think as we step back and look at the game, it was a great environment, it was a great effort for both teams. It was a nice little preview of what could be in the playoffs
On How Different They (Atlanta) Were From The First Meeting
“They’re still very fast, you saw that in the first 15 minutes of each half. They were very fast. Tonight we didn’t see them with some of their better players. Some guys are hurt. At least they have another gear to go with Almiron and Greg Garza has been great on the left side. Even without those guys the coaching staff has done a great job preparing them and keeping them playing the way he wants to. In the beginning of the season we were thinking they were going to be a good team, but because of the MLS and the travel schedule and the heat, that they were going to hit a wall, but they got stronger when they did. They are going to be a good team in the playoffs they’re a good team right now. But it’s the type of team that I would like to matchup against so I wouldn’t mind seeing them again.
On The Back and Forth Action
“I’m paid to stay cerebal. Even though it was nice to see the stadium bumping the way it was, at the end of the day I have to put that in the back of my mind because it’s about organizing and keeping the guys engaged and making sure we can neutralize any threats. I’ll admit there were a couple moments in the game when we were flying forward and you could feel the pulse of the stadium, but at the end of the day I have to stay engaged, and when I’m engaged it’s all white noise.