- Match: Orlando City vs Atlanta United
- Location: Orlando City Stadium, Orlando, FL
- Date: May 13th, 2018
- Final Score: ORL 1-2 ATL (Recap | Highlights)
Atlanta United Head Coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino
On the six points in a difficult stretch of games
“It could have been nine points in a week if in the other game we had a little better officiating and if we had played 11 on 11."
On Miles Robinson’s second start
“As I said after the LAFC game, he’s ready. He’s a player who's improved a lot over the course of the last year. So we know he’s ready to play on days when he has to step up and help us out like today."
On Miles Robinson not staring more games
“Because usually when they’re healthy we have Chris McCann and Franco Escobar who can play. Today, Miles [Robinson] had to step in because those guys are hurt. But he’s a young kid and he’s getting better.”
On Alec Kann filling in at goal
“Very well. It was a difficult game but I thought he did his job, especially with a lot of set pieces and a lot of corners that Orlando had. But I think you didn’t notice the length of time that he was out.”
On switching back to 3-5-2 this week
“Because the game against Kansas City we felt that we had to, because of their style, we had to match up with them to be able to press them all over the field. And I think that system allows us to do that. And then the game today I think even with playing with a 3-5-2 we would be able to press Orlando in this system. Also because we expected the game against Kansas City to be about 50-50 in terms of possession, and today we figured we’d have more of the ball."
On the system to stop Orlando City
“The idea was to neutralize their attacking players so we wanted to make sure that even when we had the ball, when we were in possession, when we were attacking, we always had their attacking players close to us, like [Justin] Meram, [Sacha] Kljestan, [Dom] Dwyer, [Chris] Mueller, just so we were always aware of those players so that they couldn’t hurt us if we lose the ball.”
On matching the mark of away victories of last year
“It’s very important, especially in a league where winning on the road is so difficult, I think it’s really important and I think we’re deserving of it, and even more so coming off of a loss at home on Wednesday.”
On the atmosphere in the stadium
“A lot of pressure. I think you see that the fans are very close to the field, but I thought that the referee did a good job tonight that he wasn’t influenced at all by the fans and all of that pressure. But you can tell that it’s a beautiful environment. I think the fans are great and it’s a good environment here but it’s unfortunate what happened at the end because I think it’s great that the fans want to support their team all game, but if there’s a miss-call or disagreement with something the referee said, I think there’s better ways to express that, maybe with some kind of chant or something, because you can’t. Yeah, I know they had chants, Atlanta fans had chants on Wednesday night for the ref at home, too. But I think you can't throw things on the field."
On rivalry growing
"Just with time. With more years, even this league is new. So I think just because there's two teams that are close in geography doesn't necessarily make it a rivalry. But I think over the course of time this could turn into a rivalry and I think it will."
On if tonight’s match was closer than it should have been
"I think in the first half we probably should have scored another goal."
On Ezequiel Barco growing in the league
"Yeah he's doing well. But we are excited to see him continue growing, to continue to being even more involved in the play participating even more in the game but I think it was a good week for him. He scored two goals in one week and one of them was prettier than the other one."
Atlanta United Goalkeeper Alec Kann
On performance after injury
"I thought I did pretty well. A lot of playing goalkeeper for this team is being able to help us build out of the back. I think I helped us relieve pressure, helped us get out of their press, which was pretty high at the start and was high for most of the game. I thought decision making was pretty good. Would have liked to done better on the first goal, but at the end of the day the guys defended unbelievably well the rest of the game and closed the game out for me."
On getting six points in eight days
"Really tough stretch, three good teams, two of which away from home. We should be really proud of that, get back to Atlanta and rest and look forward to next Sunday at home."
On knee injury
"Just some swelling, it was week-to-week. When Brad [Guzan] went down it was kinda like, 'You need to get back in training and get ready to play.' It's the life of a goalkeeper, you just always have to be ready."
On Miles Robinson's performance
"Miles [Robinson] is a special player, he's got a really bright future, you can see it on display. His passing is getting better every game. Defensively he's always been great, but the little parts of the game, the intangibles, are getting there. Sky's the limit for him.
On getting points against Orlando City
"Obviously Orlando is a geographical rival, so this is a game everyone's up for, obviously every game, but this one especially. We knew there'd be space to play and we were able to exploit it early on. We could have gone into halftime three or four up and had the game dead. Made it a little bit difficult on ourselves, but at the end of the day huge result for us."
On if he was hit by any bottles
"I did not, but there were probably 300 hundred bottles on the field, which is not good."
On if Orlando City is a rival
"I think it takes time. This atmosphere is unbelievable not matter who they’re playing. Credit to them for filling up the stands and making it a tough place to come win a game, but fortunately we did."
On playing New York Red Bulls next
"Another pressing team in Red Bull that will come in and be organized and try to stop us from getting out on the break. We gotta prepare all week for another tough game."
On if he knew they had same road wins as last year
"I didn't, but not surprising. Our form on the road, minus Houston, has been great. We've come in with great game plans, guys have been mentally sharp and we've done what we need to do."
Atlanta United Midfielder Ezequiel Barco
On how it feels getting six points from three games in eight days
"Good. I think the team, we're getting better as whole. Wednesday's game was tough, especially playing down a man, but the most important thing for us is to keep trying to improve and get better."
On his two goals in three games
"Yeah every time I feel better. It's important for us to keep getting these points to stay up at the top of the table and just to keep getting better."
On the play that set up his goal
"Yeah I received the pass from Miguel [Almirón] around midfield and I was able to lose my mark and pass it out to Greg [Garza] on the wing. Then I made a run into the box and luckily he was able to find me and I hit it and luckily it was able to go in. It's a big joy because it helped us get the result."
On why he hit it with the outside of his right foot
"It was a really fast play and when it came to me, I didn't have any other option than to just hit it with the outside of my foot and luckily it went in."
On whether he tried to curl it into the corner
"Yeah that was the idea was to hit it to that post because really that's the only option that I had on that play and luckily it went in."
On if it felt like a rivalry game
"Yeah it was a really tough game, especially because we had to play two games in this week. It was just really important for us to get the result."
On when he felt the effects of having three games in eight days
"I think in the second half you could see Orlando had more of the ball and they had more attacks on our goal because I think we were a little bit tired. Luckily we knew how to see out the game, we just remained calm and were able to get the result."
Orlando City Head Coach Jason Kreis
“Obviously an emotional affair tonight. Passionate affair from the crowd to the staff to the players. Everybody put everything that they had into this game. It’s unfortunate because the way we played the second half, on a different night - on a lot of different nights already this season - we walk out of here with a draw. But some things went against us, for sure. Some decisions went against us, some of the play, some of our thoughts in the first half surely went against us.”
On fans throwing debris onto the pitch
“My message is pretty clear. We’ve said all along that the fans are a part of our family, the crowd is part of our family and from our point of view, the players, we started to lose control emotionally a little bit as well, the coaches were losing control a little bit emotionally as well, and the crowd, the final piece is that we can’t be that. We can’t do that. We certainly want to be a very, very difficult place to play, but we need to show the right amount of restraint in that moment to not be throwing things on the field. We just can’t do that.”
On what his team showed against one of the best teams in MLS
“The message is clear. We’re a team that is moving forward. Atlanta right now has shown through the way that they finished last year and the way they’ve started off this year, that they’re the top. That’s the apex. They give us a measuring stick to see what we’re striving for. I feel like we’re an improving team. I feel like we caused them all sorts of troubles in the second half. From my point of view, if we would’ve handled the whole 90 minutes the way we handled the second 45 I think we’d be in a much better place.”
On Justin Meram scoring his first goal as a Lion
“I’m happy for Justin. I’ve really felt like it was coming for a long time. I felt like tonight would be the night. It was great that he was at the right spot at the right time and was composed to put that goal in. And now he, and we, all need to kick on. We need to improve.”
On the team playing better at a slower pace
“That’s 100 percent correct. That’s my analysis of the game. That’s why we went into the game saying we had to have more control of this matchup, otherwise Atlanta is going to hurt us. And then we allowed the first goal on a really difficult decision and I think that’s at the moment where all of the players started to be really hectic, much too direct, giving the ball away way too often, and then they’re catching us in transition.”
On how far Orlando City is from the apex
“I think we’re close. I think we’re close. Again, I feel like if we had just handled things a little bit differently, maybe if the referee doesn’t give that penalty kick early on, maybe the game then looks different. But I do think we caused them some troubles and I think we’re heading in the right direction. I still think so.”
On team not getting too low
“The biggest part of tonight is just the emotions that are involved in the game. We had some things with the players, reactions to the referees, reactions to their players. I think it’s important that we continue to improve on those aspects and we continue to remind ourselves of who we are. And also remind ourselves that we’re capable of playing better than that, but also that we need to improve.”
On exchange between Sacha Kljestan and Mohamed El-Munir
“100 percent [it was based off pure emotions]. There you have two players that are the ultimate competitors. They don’t like being down again at home and in particular they are striving for more, they want to do better. And so it comes from a very honest place and the two players have already apologized to each other and it’s water under the bridge. But again, some emotional things that we need to be a little bit more composed as we move forward.”
On Amro Tarek
“I really thought the two center backs had pretty strong showing today against what was a very, very difficult opponent as we know. The way that they play as well is different than we typically see with one striker and two 10s floating underneath him and wide backs getting extremely high. The numbers looked a lot different for us and it was a lot to sort out. But in the end I think they did a pretty solid job. Was it perfect? Absolutely not, we lost the game. But pretty solid.”
On penalty kick decision
“I saw Cristian [Higuita] did raise his hands. I don’t know whether there was physical contact or not - let’s hope that there was some contact. But the player went down extremely softly. For me, that kind of penalty kick should never be called in a game like this.”
On difficulty getting into final third in the beginning
“Again, a lot of that had to do with allowing the first goal. I think our reaction to that tonight in particular was a little bit too frantic. As I said, because it’s so frantic and because we’re trying to hit that home-run ball all the time, then we’re dealing with more and more transitions and it’s tiring the players out.”
Orlando City Midfielder Uri Rosell
On how he is feeling after first amount of extended minutes with Orlando City
“I’m feeling good, but the result is the worst part but I think it’s good to have minutes and every time I play I feel much better."
On feelings of frustration towards end of match and trying to find the equalizer
“Yeah, I think that if we had some more minutes we could have scored, but unfortunately we couldn’t score. That’s what it is.”
On fans throwing things on the field towards end of match
“The Club is gonna address all this stuff.”
On facing one of their toughest opponents and takeaways knowing who they were
“Yeah, I think they have a pretty good team. They know what they’re doing and we weren’t aware of that, we couldn’t stop as good as we want. But we won six games in a row, this was our seventh, this is football, this is soccer. Actually it’s hard to win all of the games but we are gonna take positive things about this because I think the second half we were much better and we controlled a little bit more and we had our chances."
On the emotions involved in first rivalry game with Orlando City
“Yeah I think it’s great. I would like to have all the season this kind of game. I think they make you improve and also they play a different way as some of the teams in MLS so it means you understand and learn about it."
On Jason Kreis’ assessment of the group getting caught up in the emotion of the game
“Well I think that every game and more when you are down you got a lot of emotions, you want to change it, you want to win and of course we are persons and we make mistakes but it’s all for the good reason we wanted to win and that’s how it is. It’s a game.”
On team being frantic in the first half
“Well I think they understand, the other team knew where to put two of the three players in counter attack, I would say behind the midfielders and in front of the defense and I think they were pretty dangerous on that and I think they got us there.”
Orlando City Forward Justin Meram
On scoring how he felt after scoring his first goal
"Yeah it felt good to silence the haters."
On feeling of first goal being overshadowed by a defeat
"Yeah, we had the conversation. And at the end of the day I would rather win instead of scoring. Obviously I want to score and help the team but I want to win that’s the main focus of this group. Maybe I should have scored two tonight and I think I had another chance as well."
On group getting caught up on the emotion of the game
"Yeah for sure I think we need to as a group collectively understand what these games are about and they're going to be tough. The opponent we’re playing has a lot of quality and we have to stick to our game plan and what we do right. Talk about the same the same thing over and over, giving up the first goal and then sometimes the second goal and then we are clawing back. You can't do that 30 times in a season. We need to how to start off better, especially with this unbelievable crowd."
On finding rhythm in second half
“Yeah. I think they were a little fatigued and we settled down and were playing with each other and combining and getting through the lines and getting some shots and some chances. We need to play like that when we’re down 1-0 instead of rushing everything and trying to score right away.”
On if fans were caught up in emotion of match
“I don’t know you’d have to ask them.”
On fans throwing debris onto the pitch
“I’m not here to discuss what the fans are doing. I think the Club will handle that. I’m here to play football for this Club and win games.”
On takeaways from the match
“We saw a lot of quality. We saw how they dictated the tempo. They’re very good at passing and moving. We’ll watch the film and learn from it. It’s one game. We won six, we lost one. Let’s get back to winning another six in a row and we won’t even be talking about this game soon.”
On how close Orlando City is to Atlanta United
“We’re close to them. I said, we just need to figure out how to start out better. Collectively on the defensive side we can’t vie up the first goal. Being an attacking player it’s tough because you start to force things and you’re trying to make home-run play. Myself included, I need to understand these moments and play a little more simple and find my moments when to attack.”