HOU vs ATL | Post-match Quotes

  • Match: Houston Dynamo vs. Atlanta United
  • Location: BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX
  • Date: March 3rd, 2018
  • Final Score: HOU 4-0 ATL (Recap | Highlights)

Gerardo “Tata” Martino - Atlanta United FC Head Coach

(on what went wrong) “I think that what cost us was the defensive part, which is something you have to care about in soccer. It looks like we struggled with defending the ball and we struggled on the 1-v-1 defensively. Offensively, we probably created as many scoring situations as Houston did, but our defense didn’t work as well – and when I talk about our defense, I mean the whole team. Houston was really effective when it came to finishing their scoring opportunities.”

(on what was the defensive problem) “Because Houston has really fast and destabilizing people up front. We struggled in stopping (Houston FW Alberth) Elis when he had the space; and we committed a lot of individual errors where we basically invited our opponent to finish the game.”

(on why he lined up the midfield the way he did) “I thought that it wasn’t convenient to have Tito (MF Héctor Villalba) nor (MF Darlington) Nagbe up front on the left. Also, I thought that way I was going to keep the game from getting stuck. I was trying to get three players that could attack, but that were solid in case they needed to recover the ball. I thought that in order for us to do that we had to have (MF) Miguel (Almirón) attacking.”

(on MF Darlington Nagbe’s performance) “It’s hard to make an individual analysis when the team is down 4-0 at the end of the first half; I don’t think it will be fair. I thought that maybe (MF) Kevin (Kratz) was sharper in his distribution of the ball. I saw Darlington not as precise as he usually is, which is rare for him, and by making the change I thought we could regain the possession of the game. I think we accomplished that when Kratz came in.”

(on if he thought the defense was going to be able to stop Houston’s attack) “It’s a hard question to answer, because (DF Michael) Parkhurst spent most of the preseason training on his own and I don’t think it would have been wise to put him from the beginning. Yes, it would have made more sense since we have had a triangle defense that we used all of last season.”

(on the prognosis for DF Leandro González Pirez and if he will train this week) “It was a knock. We will see how that develops. We might have to get some images to see if there is anything worse. We hope it’s not. ”

(on how beneficial is to get a loss like this out of the way early in the season) “In honesty, I would have rather for this not to happen. In the first four minutes of the game we saw that this was a possibility. If we want to try to see something positive. It would have to be that it’s better for this to have happen now.”

(on his thoughts on MLS) “I think it is a pretty competitive league, with really good teams. We are going to have to work extra hard if we want to have a season like last year’s.”

(on what the team is going to work on this week) “I think that what we need to work on is in our possession. First, we have to be better in our attack as we control the ball and not to lose the ball due to our bad decisions. Secondly, we have to control the opponent. Usually you get scored on on set pieces because of your mistakes.”

Greg Garza - Atlanta United Defender

(on what they can apply from this game to next week’s game against DC United) “I think you just have to turn the page. None of us expected that, with the amount of work that we put in during the preseason, but I think in your career – in my career, especially – we all have one of those games that you kind of just want to forget and turn the page, and today is one of those days.”

(on what happened in the first half) “I think they just played to our lack of attacking ability. When we would lose the ball, we were very slow to react and they took great advantage of that. Just a bit of concentration lost on set pieces, and we’ll definitely have to train on that during the week and have that not happen again.”

(on whether it’s good to get a game like this out of the way early) “I hope so. One of these games usually happens at some time during the season, and hopefully our game was today. We definitely have to be more of a group now and pick up our heads and have the confidence to go out and hopefully win when we get back to Atlanta next week.”

Julian Gressel - Atlanta United Midfielder

(on Houston’s ability to score goals) “Yeah, it is tough to concede goals like that. You just have to keep talking and have to keep everyone on the same page to just work as a team. Through that time, everyone was obviously frustrated and disappointed. You just have to move on as a team.”

(on what went wrong today) “They scored four goals; we didn’t score any goals. You can’t really start any worse, to be honest with you. We said right before we walked out that the first 10 minutes, we have to get off to a good start. You can see the goal, it was not great. The good thing is it can only get better.”

(on what were the items that didn’t work today) “Coming into halftime, it’s tough. You’re down four-nil, you can kind of stop as a team, you can just throw everything forward or completely stop competing. I don’t think we did that. I think we kind of found a way to stay together and not completely fall apart, especially at halftime, and we have to build on that.”

Michael Parkhurst - Atlanta United Defender

(on the game overall) “We were second-best on the day in every department and every 50-50 ball, and when you do that on the road against a very good team, that’s what happens.”

(on Houston FW Alberth Elis’ speed) “He is a very good player. He is probably one of the best wingers in this league and too many times we were isolated one on one with too much space. When we were isolated, we weren’t able to make the play. We need to do a better job of denying their better players the ball and like we did in the second half – get more guys around and help each other out a little more. We didn’t do that enough in the first half.”

(On what changed in the second half that led to fewer isolations) “More communication. More commitment. A better desire to win the ball and play stronger.”

Wilmer Cabrera - Houston Dynamo Head Coach

(on the game overall) “We started off very sharp against a very talented and dangerous team. I think at the beginning of the game we attacked and they attacked. We created options and they created options. So it was a normal first game of the season where nothing is perfect, but everyone is trying to accommodate on the field. We continue showing that our mentality when we have the ball is that we don’t want to give up going forward with the speed and with the players that we have up front. They want to score, they want to go at the goal and that helps us a lot to pressure high, win the ball high, and score really quick. That mentality helped us to go through the first half where we were finishing and we were able to put the game away for us. We have to continue looking forward, because this is the first game of the season. We just played one game and it’s good to get the three points. It’s good to score goals for the forwards – for the ones that scored. It’s good to have the zero in the back, but this is just the beginning and we have to continue keeping ourselves humble and believing that this is just one game at a time.”

(on if he could have ever imagined that they would score that many goals against Atlanta) “You have to be prepared mentally just to go and attack, and I think despite everything, we have been able to continue showing that the Houston Dynamo in Houston are going to be dangerous, that’s for sure. Sometimes we’re going to win, sometimes we’re going to tie, sometimes we’re going to lose. But we’re going to be dangerous. When a team finds us where we are clinical with our finishing, they can suffer. Atlanta United is very talented. They had some good options, some good movements. We were lucky that they didn’t finish. We had the opportunity to block (their shots) at the last moment but it was a good game with good, talented players with good mentalities. I think we all – especially Houston Dynamo fans – enjoyed the game. It is important for us to get the three points.”

(on how the experience from last season played into this season) “I think right now we are more cohesive as a team. We know each other better and we’ve been working better, and that is important because that helps us to be more solid in all aspects to try to improve different little things to get better. Of course, when you go up 4-0 in like 30-40 minutes, that changes a lot of things. It’s normal that you start dropping and say, ‘Okay, just let’s see what’s going on for the other team to take the ball.’ Of course, I think in the second half despite the PK where we were a little bit relaxed, a little bit comfortable, that helped us to wake up. We were a little bit better, more solid defensively and that helped us to just to go through the rest of the game. Sometimes we had good possession, sometimes we created attacks, sometimes we just let the other team have the ball and just waited for them to see if they had the [chances] to win it.”

(on how it felt to get such a solid victory against such a good team) “Well of course, you know we don't have the credit about what we do, but we’re not here to receive credit from anyone. We’re here to work. We’re here to talk on the field. That is where we need to talk, and today was a good day. It’s only one game out of 34 and we have 33 in front of us. This is a long season. It’s going to be difficult. It is going to be complicated. All of the teams are getting stronger and better, so that is why we wanted to get stronger and better in the little details to be sure that we compete at the same level.”

(on how serious MF Juan David Cabezas’ injury might be) “No, it looks like it’s a muscle issue, so we have to wait. I think it was something when he kicked the ball. It’s unfortunate for him, but it’s just part of the game, part of the season, part of the situation that happens all the time. We lost Juan David, but now we add (MF) Darwin (Cerén) and he stepped up and he did the job we were expecting. So that’s the team and hopefully Juan David gets recovered quicker but we have to continue working.”

Arturo Alvarez - Houston Dynamo Midfielder

(on coming out with a 4-0 win on Opening Day) “It was great! It was good coming into a game where we were definitely the better team and it’s always easier to come on to the field when we’re up four goals to none, to just go out there and enjoy it. It looked like we just wanted it more. A few things went our way and that’s just how soccer works. We have to make sure we take advantage of those opportunities.”

(on now being part of the Houston Dynamo instead of playing against them) “Yeah, I obviously played against the Dynamo not too long ago in the last game of the season and they were a good team. They were very direct and had a lot of speed at the top and so now I get to take advantage of that. We’ve been implementing new ideas to our game which will be useful throughout the season and we just have to keep working at it. It’s only the first game of the season, but it was definitely a great start.”

(on this first game being different from playing with other teams in the past) “Yes, it was the best one yet. It was at home in front of family and friends. I saw a lot of friends and my parents and my brothers as well. It’s always nice to see that support.”

Darwin Cerén - Houston Dynamo Midfielder

(on the results) “We were working hard in the preseason and we took the opportunity to show everyone who we are as the Houston Dynamo. We are a strong team and took on a good game today.”

(on having to get ready quickly) “Yeah, I didn’t think I would go on the field in the first 10 minutes and unfortunately my friend took an injury. None of us like that, but the most important thing is that everyone is ready and prepared to play. Everyone is good and we have to be ready to play. I think we did a good job as a team today.”

Alberth Elis - Houston Dynamo Forward

(on if he was anxious to start the season) “No, I approached the game in the same manner. I always go towards goal; I am always looking for space in the final third. I didn’t score a goal today and that doesn’t matter, especially when we win.”

(on him being a key part of the game) “I hope to always play at the highest level. I push myself to be my best self. That is why the team made a significant investment in me and I am aware of that. That is why I want to give everything I have every time I touch the field.”

(on if he feels more comfortable on the field) “Yes, coach has given me a lot of confidence and so has the team. I always want to give my best and that is how I want to approach every situation. ”

Mauro Manotas - Houston Dynamo Forward

(on the strong start to the regular season) “Well, first I want to give glory to God for allowing us to start the season the way we did. We had a great preseason, a special preseason where we worked, ran and addressed items that we haven’t in previous years. I think that prepared us well, physically and mentally, and you see the outcome we had today.”

(on the statement the Dynamo made after this victory) “Well, like you witnessed – I have said this during the week and since I learned that Atlanta would visit – this was on them. They had the pressure, they had to come here to Houston and it was on them to overcome that, not us. We showed on the field that the Houston Dynamo talk on the field and, glory to God, we got the positive outcome we worked for.”

(on his goal) “We had options to score many more goals. Unfortunately for us, their goalkeeper played a great game. He did really well. I am grateful to God that we started this way and that the team won. To score a goal is just the cherry on top.”

(on how the team was able to score in different ways) “Yes, unfortunately for (FW Alberth) Elis, he had a lot of opportunities to score and their goalkeeper saved them all. It is incredible what he brings to the team and he is one of many options for the team. We attack from the top, from the back, with speed and playing with the ball – which is something we want to work on.”

Chris Seitz - Houston Dynamo Goalkeeper

(on if he got a touch on Atlanta MF Miguel Almirón’s penalty kick) “I’ll let you guys be the judge. No, I had a feeling of him going there. We do a lot of work on that stuff. I tried to get there early and make him push it wide. At that point, when you get there and he sees you going in that direction, you put doubt in his mind. I did everything I could; luckily we kept it out.”

(on the significance of the victory in a crowded conference) “Look, we are worried about ourselves. They get paid to make their predictions and we get paid to put the goals together. Credit to Atlanta tonight though, they are a good team and we were able to find some success, but I think they will be a good team down the road. So, for us we focus on what we can do and what makes us successful.”

(on watching the goals take place) “It’s great. The more we play on their end, the happier the defense is and obviously the goalkeeper as well. You see the amount of pressure our front three put up tonight and the turnovers they got for us. We were able to capitalize on most of those opportunities. Defensively, we limited them, they didn’t have a whole lot of shots. We pushed them wide, made them predictable and really followed our game plan and were successful tonight.”

Philippe Senderos - Houston Dynamo Defender

(on his first MLS goal) “It was a corner. We rehearsed corners – we know that we are dangerous and it was another opportunity to put pressure on them and we did that. The delivery was good and I was able to get away from the defender and I put my head in there. It was a very important moment to put the second one straight after the first one when we are leading in the first half. We are very happy to have started well at home, the support was brilliant, and we are really excited for the next step.”

(on what he was thinking about during his celebration) “Just thinking about my family, who couldn’t be here today but they are always on my mind. It was important for me to celebrate in that way. And I don’t score many goals, so whenever I score, I celebrate.”

(on if this win sends a statement to the rest of the league) “Maybe. Like I said, this is the first step of many points that we need to win this season. It is the first game of the season, it is an important game because you want to start on the right note, but there is a long way to go.”

Andrew Wenger - Houston Dynamo Forward

(on if the box score reflects the quality of Atlanta’s roster) “They were good today. At times they were very good. We had some very good opportunities that surprised them. We were able to pick their pockets once or twice, which was helpful, but I can’t say anything but good things about them. They are a very good team.”

(on what happened during his goal in the first half) “(Houston FW) Alberth (Elis) picked his pocket and then does what he does best – pressures guys with the ball – and when Alberth gets the ball in space you have to find yourself in the box somewhere. He is going to find a pass, he did that, and the goal was thought out really well.”

(on the team applying pressure in the second half) “The second half we came out very poorly. We were sitting back, everyone behind the ball, the pressure wasn’t great until the penalty. (Houston GK) Chris (Seitz) bailed us out there. There are some things to fix there and there are things to fix defensively throughout the game; they had chances forward. So, it’s a long season and we will try to fix them.”

(on the atmosphere in the stadium) “It was great. That is what a stadium should be. That was exciting, I think the fans enjoyed it today. So hopefully we get to see them again and we would love to have them back.”