ATL vs LAFC | Post-Match Quotes

  • Match: Atlanta United vs LAFC
  • Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
  • Date: April 7th, 2018
  • Final Score: ATL 5-0 LAFC (Recap | Highlights)

Atlanta United head coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino

On today’s game and the defensive performance:

“I thought it was a good job defensively, but for me, we played a little bit too far back. We spent too much of the game in our half. With the scheme the way that we have it there were times where we weren’t able to stop their outside backs moving up the field.”

On Miles Robinson’s debut:

“He did a great job defensively, but I think that today the game allowed him to be successful in a sense that we were playing farther back and forced to defend. He is an excellent defender. The part of his game that we are still developing is when we have possession and are playing out the back. I think that today the game favored his strengths and gave us the chance to hide his weaknesses.”

On the depth of the roster compared to last season:

“That’s logical. It could be that we have more depth, but we’ve also been playing together now for over a year so it’s a combination. We have younger guys that have been developing and training with us for a year, but we have players like (Andrew) Carlton, (Brandon) Vazquez, (Mikey) Ambrose, Miles (Robinson), who can step in, and Julian (Gressel) has transformed into a first-team player.”

On Romario Williams:

“I am happy with him just like I was last year when Brandon (Vazquez) was able to come in and score off the bench. It’s good for those guys to come in even though it’s difficult, because they know the starters are going to get 75/80 minutes, so they have to be able to step in and do their job in short minutes. But, I am happy for him, and it’s great that he is able to score because he is a striker and that’s what strikers do.”

Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson

On his debut:

“I did pretty well. I'm happy to get the debut, and I'm happy we won. So, pretty good all around.”

On whether he had nerves for his first start:

“To start, yeah, but when it gets down to it, it is the same old soccer (that) you've played it your whole life.”

On how he settled his nerves:

“I think sometimes when you have a little nerves, just getting a pass completed is all you need and then you're back in it.”

On his tackle during the breakaway: 

“I just felt like that I’m trying to do what I can to stop the goal and that ended up happening so, I thought it was pretty good.”

Atlanta United forward Romario Williams

On his goal:

“I realized I found myself in a lot of space. Whenever I received the ball at halfway line the defender was as a couple yards away, so it was a perfect ideal one-versus-one situation, so I decided to go with him. I was able to create space for myself and get off a shot.”

On how it feels to get his first goal in the MLS regular season:

“It is a great feeling. I can’t really describe the emotions. It’s a lot of hard work that has been going into getting this first one. Coming out in 2015, being my fourth year in the league, being sent out on loan a couple years, it is a lot of hard work to get to this point and I am going to truly enjoy this one.”

On how far he has come:

“No words to describe it really. I am just fortunate to be in a great situation with a great organization. Great teammates (and a) great group of guys that motivate me that push me each and every day to come out and just work hard and just be myself. I was able to show that today and get myself on the score sheet.”

On why he has improved each game:

“It has a lot to do with confidence and trusting the guys around me. The guys give me the confidence to just be myself and play my game. Coming into a team that did extremely well last year and getting to know the strengths and weaknesses of each and every guy in the locker room. There are a lot of new faces this year – also myself included. It was just a testament of us coming together. This is only the fifth game and we are just getting better each and every week, as we continue to grow, hopefully, it just gets better.“

Atlanta United midfielder Miguel Almiron

On what today’s shutout does for the team’s confidence:

“Our confidence level is good. That’s good for us. We know that we can’t stop working. We’ve got another difficult game coming up.”

On what it means to score the goals he did:

“I’m always happy as long as I know I’m helping the team. Whether I’m scoring or a teammate scores, it doesn’t matter because we all celebrate together, but today, I’m happy with the goals.”

On if he thought the game would be so ‘lopsided’:

“No, it was a difficult game. You saw at the end of the first half it was 1-0, but luckily, we were able to get the goals in the second half.”

Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan

On back-to-back clean sheets and the team’s play on defense:

“I think aside from the clean sheet, right? You look at the chances created by the opposition in both games. There weren’t many. It comes down to our organization. It comes down to our willingness to cut passes out, block crosses (and) block shots. It makes my life a little bit easier. You’re trying to organize things and put out fires before they become an issue.”

On how Miles Robinson played in his first game with Atlanta United:

“He was fantastic. I said to him, ‘You didn’t put a foot wrong.’ I thought he was great. Probably, obviously, the play that stands out is in the first half when he makes a recovery run and gets on the other side of (Diego) Rossi … So, what can you say? For his debut, he was great.”

On ‘how nice’ the clean sheet was:

“It was great. Like I said, it’s a testament of the work to the guys in front of me. Their ability to step in when needed (and) their ability to close down situations – crosses, shots, second balls, tackles, all that stuff – that goes a little bit unnoticed especially when we have the attacking players that we do have, but the backline was fantastic.”

Atlanta United midfielder Julian Gressel

On why the team plays so well at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:

“It’s just our home turf. I think it is good when you're good at home and you get the points here. I think you're expected to do that in order to pick up points. It’s a little bit of everything. The other team gets a little intimidated here and there because of the fans. I think they're doing a tremendous job like always. Like I said, we're really comfortable on that field out there, and we feel good.”

On how a clean sheet with three new starters on defense helps to boost the team's confidence:

“It's great. I think even though the game probably wasn't a 4-0 game, but that's how it turned out but even we were scrappy on defense. We were fighting in and around the box once they got closer, and that's what its all about. We know got to have heart back there and that's what we had today. Oh, it was 5-0, excuse me.”

On Miles Robinson's debut:

“I think he did a good job. It’s not easy to come in and kind-of just fill the gap, but he did a tremendous job. I think he kept it simple when he had to and tried some things when he could and defended well. That's what he's all about, so I think he'll go and have a long MLS career.”

Atlanta United midfielder Jeff Larentowicz

On Miles Robinson's debut:

“Well, nothing went down his side. Defensively, he was great. He did exactly what we thought he could do and that we hoped he could do. Also, (Diego) Rossi was in one-versus-zero and Miles catches up to him. Only since Marvell Wynne did I really see a guy that could track someone down and stop a one versus one with the goalkeeper and Miles has that ability. I thought he was very good in possession. On the one goal, the ball builds from his corner on a throw-in, so his involvement was key for us tonight and I thought he did really well.”

On what Robinson needs to do to push for a starting spot:

“I think with more experience comes more comfort. I’m sure he’s trying to play simple. He’s trying to do the easy things and make sure (that) he does those right (and) play to his strengths? In one-versus-one defending, not getting beat in behind, it’s kind-of what he did and he shut that side down. To get on the field more, I think that the way we like to play is with the ball at your feet and you have to make decisions on the ball especially when you play against other teams. That position tends to have the most time on the ball so those decisions are pretty important, but with more time and with more experience if he gets better at that, he'll push to get in the (starting) eleven.”


LAFC head coach Bob Bradley

On the overturned red card in the first minute:

“It’s a terrible way to start the game. Psychologically for all the players, the whole game is already out of whack. starting a game in that way, the referees could not do a worse job of getting a game going and making sure everybody on the field feels like a real game is going to take place. It’s a bad way  to start a game.”

On if Atlanta’s Chris McCann’s tackle looked like a red card challenge:

“One foot, for sure is going in exposing the studs. Seems to me the way it has been explained over and over is that if you go in and you show your studs then, whether not you get the player or not, that it is a red card. That is how it has always been explained and, like I said, I’m pretty sure that one foot went in that way.”

On how that call set the tone:

“Let’s just push on from there. We go down, I thought our initial response was good. I thought we did a good job of pressing and winning the ball back. I don’t think on the day we were good enough in the attacking part of the field. In the discussion about key calls, I also look hard and just say that we had a lot of shots, but in terms of really good goal-scoring opportunities, given the way that we still won the ball and some of the control we had in the game, I don’t think we did a good job on that. We spoke at halftime that we certainly had to be aware that they were looking for the second goal on the counter. That is what happened. At the end of the game, I thought we lost our way. So that’s disappointing, and when you sum it all up I would say two things. The key decisions today went against us, and I would say that we weren’t good enough in the attacking part of the field.”

On how LAFC’s defense performed:

“In the first half, when we went down, we were able to step up, win the ball early, deal with a lot of different situations. They still had one or two moments on counters because they have dangerous attacking players. I thought still in the second half we were going in that direction, then after we gave up the second goal on the counter, I thought we lost our way. That includes losing balls you shouldn’t lose, and that included poor reactions by guys around the ball when you lose it. So, you don’t pin that on the defense, per se. The football after it was 2-0 was just no-good and that’s just not what we are going to be about.”

LAFC defender Steven Beitashour

On the overturned red card in the first minute:

“I did not get a good look at the replay. I think he thought it was a red card. He decided to take a look at it and decided that it wasn’t enough. It is what it is. I don’t think we dropped off or anything. It was very early in the game, first minute. It’s just one of those things, VAR went against us this time.”

On if LAFC were discouraged after Miguel Almirón’s first penalty:

“At that point, I wasn’t on the field. So, I don’t know if the guys felt discouraged or not. I couldn’t talk to them and see what their thoughts were. It looked like we might have dropped a little bit of a level. It’s tough at that point. That’s when you really have to dig deep when you’re on the road and you’re down two or three goals. It’s about pride at that point. It’s unfortunate to give up a few more and the score line ends up five – nothing. I don’t think that is reflective of how we played. I don’t feel like it was a five – nothing game. But it came down to little details, something that we trained on all week. Offensive marking is one of the things we really focused on because they are a good counter-attacking team, especially at home. They are very quick, very dynamic and for the most part we dealt with that until the end when we kind of dropped a level or two and the focus wasn’t there.”

On if LAFC are off to a good start this season:

“Obviously, you look at what Atlanta did last year and being an expansion team, it is difficult to come into a league where guys have played together for a long time and really mesh. I think you compare to last year and the way they really flew out of the gates, it was impressive. I think people want to say we are similar to that because of the first two games, but it is difficult to keep that going. Especially when you’re on the road for this long. I think the veteran guys in the locker room really need to pick everyone’s head up and get the guys going because we have a couple more games on the road before our first home match, which I think guys are really looking forward to. But we still have two really important games with Vancouver and Montreal coming up so we have to make sure we get good results before we get that first home game.”

On what he says to his teammates:

“A couple of us have been through this position, me specifically with Toronto last couple years having to start the season off with all of these road games that it is going to be a grind. You are going to have to dig in deep and it is not about playing for yourself, it’s about playing for the badge and playing for the guys next to you. It is tough, similar to being down two or three – nothing on the road with 40 or 50 thousand fans booing you and cheering against you, you are going to have to stick together and really fight, battle and scrap for 90 minutes. Not for 30 minutes, not for 60 minutes, from start to finish, we are going to have to put on a good performance the next two games.”

On what he knew about Atlanta United prior to tonight’s match:

“I don’t know what the other guys knew about them, but I’ve played them and watched them a lot last season, especially being in the Eastern Conference. They are a good team. They are especially good at home. The crowd gets behind them, it gets them going. I think the crowd affects the referee’s decision’s sometimes as well. It’s something you have to credit to the whole organization for building something like this. The players that they brought in are very good players. They are young, they are athletic and it is not going to be an easy game. As veterans, we try to express that to some of the younger guys, or even some guys that are new to the league. MLS is a physical league. Guys like Almiron, Villalba, Martinez, they are very quick, very dynamic and they make great runs. Maybe they are not defending as hard as the back six, or whatever you want to say it is, but when they get into open space, they are very difficult to stop. It is just something that I have noticed over the last year, but they are definitely tough, especially at home.”

Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela

On his post-match message to his team:

“I think it’s a hard game. We lost 5-0. We are building a team. We have to be together. It’s time to be strong (and) to be a man (and) talk face-to-face and say what happened. We have to change. We have to change the situation. We have to come back like in the first two games, enjoy the game, play together because the last minutes in the game everybody tried to be selfish and do everything in the game. It’s not like that. We have to be together (throughout the) game (and) in hard situations, too. I hope that we can change the situation and the next game do better.”

On the overturned red card in the first minute:

“For me, it’s a red card, he touched the ball, but if he doesn’t touch the ball, he kicks my friend. It’s not always if you touch the ball that it’s not a red card. I think it’s the speed, the strength of the kick was really hard and really dangerous for Benny (Feilhaber) so I think it’s a red card, but the referee are sometimes in a different game. I don’t know what happened.”

On if the overturned red card changed the dynamic of the game:

“If you have one more guy, normally, you have more chances to win but after that, we lose the game against a good team and they did a better job. It’s not about the referee. They played. They deserve more to win and they take the game.”