Post-Match Quotes | ATL vs TOR

  • Match: Atlanta United vs Toronto FC
  • Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
  • Date: August 4th, 2018
  • Final Score: ATL 2-2 TOR (Recap | Highlights)

Atlanta United head coach Gerardo Martino               

On personnel adjustments: 

“Mainly because I wanted to have someone in midfield paired with (Eric) Remedi who’s very good with the ball and good with his feet so we could move the ball quickly. I didn’t think there was any issue moving Jeff (Larentowicz) back to the defensive line. I don’t think it was really an issue because tonight I thought the game was very well controlled from our end. I don’t think there was any reason to think that was a mistake or to break up that partnership.”

On the inability to close out games:

“We’ve lost seven points this season in the last five minutes or so of games, Dallas, New England and today. We could close a game down if we score the third goal. One way to do it is to score. What some other teams do - especially when they come here - is once they’re in a good, favorable result for them they slow the game down. They have the delays and doing all these things to - they have the experience. So they have the experience and they know how to slow a game down and do those things. I think that’s part of why we’ve lost seven points. We could have 55 points right now.” 

On how to close out a game:

“I already said it, by having a throw in and a delay. A sub and a delay. A goal kick and a delay. That’s things that other teams are doing and tonight the other team is doing it and they aren’t being punished for it. In the second half, when we’re up after 80 minutes, we see they’re not being punished for it, then that’s something that we should do. If you have a favorable result then that’s a tactic. If other teams are going to do it and not get punished… We have to have the experience and knowledge of how to close the game “

On taking out Josef Martinez:

“I thought he was very tired. I saw him hunched over touching his legs, touching an area where he had an injury last year. I just thought that it was best that he was off the field and he had played enough.”

On getting Miles Robinson back in pressure situations:

“Everyone’s on the bench because they’re qualified and they’re capable to play when their number’s called. It’s wishful thinking to say that you could choose the perfect moments for every player to come in but that’s not the case. But Brandon (Vasquez), Miles (Robinson) and Romario (Williams), they all went in very decisive points in the game. Guys on the bench they need to be foaming at the mouth like dogs ready to come into the match and provide that kind of energy. Not just to attack but to defend, and the effort and everything that goes along with it.”

On the scrum at the end of the match:

“I don’t really know what happened. I just went out to shake Greg Vanney’s hand and kind of found myself in that area. I don’t know exactly what happened, it might have started with Miguel (Almiron) and (Chris) Mavinga, but I’m not sure.”

On if inconsistency at home worries him:

“No, I think what you guys have to do is take every game individually and look at the games that we play. In a game like tonight where there’s one team who’s far superior to the other and they dominate every aspect of the game for 90 minutes but then to just look at the result and see it’s 2-2. I don’t think that’s the right way to look at it. You have to look at the performance, and it’s also playing against a very strong team.”

Atlanta United defender Michael Parkhurst

On the second goal scored by Toronto FC:

“They played a through ball in behind us on our right side. We can’t allow that to happen at that point in the game. Once it’s behind us, we’re facing our own (goalkeeper) and (he) puts it across the box. There is nothing Leandro (González Pírez) can do at that point. It’s very disappointing. We gave up two goals at the worst time of each half. It’s disappointing because outside of those two moments, we played a fantastic game today.”

On if this game was ‘similar’ to the game against FC Dallas:

“Yeah, I mean, it’s similar in that we gave up the lead at the very end of the game. We’re disappointed about that because, like I said, we were deservedly in the lead. We had played a fantastic game against a very good team. We fought our way back after dominating the first half and somehow coming into halftime down a goal. To battle back, (go) up 2-1, and have a couple of chances to seal it and withstand a little bit of pressure, but to not give up too many chances outside of (Sebastian) Giovinco hitting the crossbar. Obviously disappointing, but, hopefully, we can learn from it.”

On today’s performance from Kevin Kratz:

“I thought Kevin had a fantastic game today. (He) and Eric (Remedi) did really well in the middle of the field. They are so good in the middle of the field and possession. They did a ton of work – a ton of running – (and) really neutralized their midfield for the most part. (He) was very clean on the ball. Just another solid performance and that’s what you expect from Kevin. He does it every time he is on the field. He comes in. He has a good performance, and that is why I think Tata has a lot of confidence in him, and that’s why I think he’s always on the field.”

On the number of goals that Josef Martinez will score this season:

“I don’t know. Obviously, we all just hope that he continues his torrid form. He is unbelievable in front of the goal. We say it week in and week out, and he just keeps doing it. I hope he doesn’t stop. I hope he keeps going. I don’t know what the number is. If he can stay healthy and stay on the field, then there’s no doubt he’s going to break the record and hopefully score more than that. Hopefully, we can keep giving him good opportunities to score goals, and he can keep putting them in the net for us.”

On the ‘importance’ of today’s match with the bye week coming up:

“We had talked about it that there was no game for two weeks, put it all out there, give it everything that you’ve got plus a little bit more, and I thought we did that. We’re happy with the performance. We’re disappointed with a couple moments. We didn’t close out the game, obviously, so we’re disappointed by the end result, but overall, the performance was good against, like I said, a very good Toronto team. Their position is not indicative of the team that we played today.”

On if there was ‘bad blood from previous matches’ that led to the ‘chippiness’ at end of the game:

“No. I don’t think so. I think (Chris) Mavinga was probably sick and tired of chasing Miguel (Almirón) around all game. Things got a little chippy in between those two. Obviously, the guys on our team are going to go in there and protect Miguel. It’s silly what happened after that, but I’m glad our guys kept some cool heads.”

On what led to the two moments in which they surrendered goals:

“Well, just a lack of concentration, a lack of details. We have to be better in critical moments with a minute left in the first half (and) stoppage time in the second (half). These are moments where we have to be aware. We have to be cognizant of the minute and the moment and not take any chances. We lose the ball and (Sebastian) Giovinco on the first one. Then, we lose the mark in the box, and they get a cross in. Obviously, we talked about the second one and the through ball. It’s just little things, but little things, they’re big on the score sheet and they’re big in the game. We have to be better.”

On if ‘the referee was checking for offside’ on Toronto FC’s final goal:

“I guess you’d have to ask him or Michael (Bradley). Michael Bradley, that is, because he was the only one talking to him. I don’t know what he was checking for, maybe a push on Leandro (González Pírez) or offside. I’m not sure. I stayed away from it. They’re going to check what they’re going to check. I don’t know why guys get in their faces. It is what it is.”

On today’s performance from Jeff Larentowicz:

“Jeff with another solid performance on a fantastic season so far for him. It’s tough to move into the backline when you’re playing the middle of the field. Usually, you’ve got guys behind you and it’s just a different feeling. I thought he did very well. It’s a tough task playing against those two strikers and what they bring to table. I don’t know if he put a foot wrong today. He was very good. Similar to how he’s been all season for us, he’s been fantastic. Hopefully, he can continue it.”

On how much they got to prepare the different formation with it being All-Star week:

“We worked on a little bit. Every now and then in training, we’ll throw it in there and work on it. This week, they knew straight away that we were going to play it. Guys that weren’t with the All-Star team worked on it while we were doing All-Star duty. On Thursday, we trained it. I think we were prepared. We’ve played it enough this season. Guys understand their roles and responsibilities and so we should be able to change between those formations now.”

Atlanta United defender Jeff Larentowicz

On the post-game fight:

“The ball ended with Miguel (Almíron), I think. I’m not really sure. Just standard pushing. I grabbed Miguel to pull him out of there. I think Leandro (González Pírez) came in behind me. I didn’t see what happened.”

On Josef Martinez’s goal scoring streak:

“What’s he had? About two a game the past two games? How many games do we have left? Yeah. That’s 20 more goals. It’s astounding honestly. I mean, it’s the same guy. You look up, and it’s the same guy. It’s really special to see it every week. I think that he can keep going over 30. Then, you just hope he remains hot. He’s kind of like a pitcher. You just leave him alone in the dugout.”

On the two Toronto goals:

“Up until that point at the end of the game, other than their goal, I don’t really remember too many shots or chances they had to test Brad (Guzan), unfortunately. Sometimes, that’s how it goes. It’s more points lost, more points lost at home. But, even at halftime, we came in and said that’s a good half. We’re doing a lot of the right things. It’s just one breakdown, but unfortunately, one breakdown a half and you’re not winning the game.”

On his comfort playing the right center back:

“It was fine. I haven’t been there often in the three. Last year when we were in the three, I was more in the center. Today, they put me on the right. It was fine. I mean I think that defensively it was pretty normal playing as a center back. Offensively, there’s a good bit of time to combine with Tito (Villalba) and (Julian) Gressel on that side. I think, all in all, it went alright.”

On how much the team worked on the 3-5-2 formation this week:

“We’ve gone through it a few times since Eric’s (Remedi) shown up, so, it wasn’t just this week, it was the week before.”

On the difficulty of three ties against Toronto and wanting to surpass them:

“I take each game as a one off. The game there was a good draw. The game at home (Sebastian) Giovinco hits a great goal at the end. It’s disappointing. Today was certainly disappointing. I don’t look at it as three ties equal to each other. I think each game presented something different. Today, we surely should’ve won the game.”

On any concern of defensive ‘lapses’ at the end of the game:

“Yeah, certainly. Something you’re taught as a kid is first five, last five. You have to start the game well, finish the half well, finish the game well. Certainly something we need to focus on. I think at the same time, not in the first half, but certainly, at the end of the game at 2-1, they’re pushing more. They bring on a forward and take off a central defender, so it’s something we have to be aware of and continue to concentrate and pick up men.”

On whether it was a ‘lapse’ or Toronto is just a good team:

“In the moment, I don’t think it’s a lapse. The ball kind of deflects back and forth and lands at the feet of Giovinco from 35 yards from goal. He’s running with little pressure and he’s able to slip the ball in. So is it a lapse or is it a good play? I don’t know. I think, maybe, the one in the first half is a lapse, but you have to concentrate in the first five and last five. Close out the game, close out the half.”

On whether the team is worried about late game ‘collapses’ going into the playoffs:

“No. I mean if we were playing at home and getting outplayed (or) if we’re playing at home and not creating chances. I think we had 22 shots, something like that. So, you don’t want to (sound) self-fulfilling where you’re playing at home and games like this continue to happen, but no, I’m not worried.”

Atlanta United midfielder Julian Gressel

On the postgame fight:

“I actually don’t know. I wasn’t a part of it. I went over to the sideline to get some water and think about the game that we annoyingly tied 2-2. I had no idea. I didn’t even see it.”

On what he can take away from the game going into a bye week:

“It’s going to take a while to get over it. That’s the thing with a bye week. You think about this game for quite some time now. To get this at the end (and to) tie the game, (it) is annoying (and) frustrating. Obviously, I’ll take a hard look at that last goal and what happened with myself, and collectively, we’ve got to regroup. We played really, really well. We come back from 1-0 (and a) goal in stoppage time in the first half. We just kept playing and played really well and found our way back into the game. Then, to go up 2-1, and whatever happened at the end there, happened. We’ll take the positives and work on the negatives.”

On Josef Martinez’s goal scoring streak:

“It’s nothing new anymore these days. He’s just who he is. I think he’s going to keep scoring. It’s going to happen that he breaks the record. Obviously, it’s good for us. You always hear about them and reading interviews, and it’s all about stopping Josef. Well, it’s a collective effort. It’s this and that. It’s this and that, but then, he scores a goal and everything’s out the window. He scores two goals and thanks for thinking about it. That just shows how good we are as a team to open him up in certain spaces and how good he is to make those movements and be lethal in the box.”

On the whether he had to re-acclimate himself with the wing-back position:

“They started in a three-back. Then they went to a four-back, and we had a couple lineups on the board depending on they play, I play, or we play as a team. It was a bit of figuring out at some point, but I think we did a good job. We were on top of the game – controlling the game. It wasn’t a formation issue or anything. For me, it wasn’t too big of an adjustment. I knew I was either going to play as a right wing-back or in the middle of the park. It was fine.”

Atlanta United midfielder Kevin Kratz

On how it felt to have his first start in a while:

“It actually felt really good. I’m just tired now but overall I was happy that I got the start. I got some minutes in the last couple weeks with the second team. I played in Nashville just to get minutes in and stay in rhythm. Overall, I think we had a good game there’s just a little bit of frustration right now that we didn’t win because of the late goals, but for me personally, I think I did well. I worked hard. I didn’t lose many balls. I tried to always be an option for Chris (McCann) on the left side or Leandro (González Pírez) or on the other side for Jeff (Larentowicz) or Julian (Gressel). But yeah, I would be happier if we won the game but overall, I think we had a good game just a little bit frustrated right now.”

On how critical it was getting a good performance after this week even not getting the result desired:

“Yeah. We had a tough week to prepare. We had the All-Star Game in-between so it was not so easy to prepare and as for this game especially because we were playing Toronto. Its not the Toronto from the beginning of the season. They’ve been developing. They’re good players, their injured players, are coming back so they are getting back to their form that they rode to be champion last year and yeah, it was hard because we had like two or three days together because of the All Stars gone, but overall, our gameplan worked out pretty good. We had many chances and it’s just, you know, days like today are always rough. When you play and play and then you don’t get the three points. So we’ve got to look back on it next week, we head now on our break which is good for the guys who played a lot of minutes to recover a little bit and then from then on we focus on the next game.”

On playing with Eric Remedi:

“Eric is a good player and we both kind-of like the same style. We move the ball pretty quick. That’s what we did especially in the second half. We kept the ball moving from right to left in midfield not always going back around the center-backs. We discussed a few things that were in practice this week. Like a few situations that where we switch, where we don’t switch on the opponents. I think it worked out pretty well so far. (Sebastian) Giovinco was very good marked from our centerbacks. They always pushed up high to mark him and there were not really many balls that went through the middle of us, so that’s what we were focusing on like Tata said we closed in on him but also at some point step up to give (Michael) Bradley not the space to play his long balls. He’s (Remedi) adapting very well. He’s coming in and starting to talk and get into our system, and I think he’s doing pretty good and I like to play with him. It’s just like, you get the ball back and this is something that you trust each other like ‘I give it to you, you give it back. If you give it to me and I’m tired or I’m marked, I give it back. It’s fun to play this way, definitely.”  

Atlanta United Midfielder Eric Remedi

On his thoughts on the result of today’s match:

“I’m a little sad for the result. I think they tied us on the last play of the game pretty much, so I don’t know if it was fair or not but, you know, we’re not happy with the result.”

On playing in the midfield with Kevin Kratz:

“Kevin’s a player who has excellent technique, so for us, it was easy to find each other and play quickly in the midfield and get the ball to our attacking players like Miguel (Almirón).”

On playing with Josef Martínez:

“Josef is an incredible player, and we know as his teammates that if we generate enough situations he’s going to put one of them in. So, it’s just a matter of time if we just keep giving him service that he’s going to convert.”

On his arrival to Atlanta United and his quick addition to the starting eleven:

“I’ve been getting used to it every day based on the training and just trying to get adapted to the new teammates and the new style. I think all (of) my teammates have done a great job of welcoming me to the new team.”

On Tata’s instructions:

 ”We knew Toronto is a very good team. They have really talented individual players, so our job was to win the ball back and then try and maintain the ball in the middle of the field.”

On environment at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:

“Yeah, the crowd here is amazing. Every game they’re here. They’re chanting. They’re loud for the whole game, and I just try to enjoy that.” 

TORONTO FC                                  

Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney

On his overall thoughts on today’s match:

“We will take the point. At the end of the day, the guys worked hard and battled to the end. The four key moments of the game were the four goals. Obviously, Alex Bono made some key saves as well. One of the key moments was the PK that should not have been a PK. Like I said before, goals change things. When that goal gets called, the game changes. They are now up, and things change. To me, that’s unfortunate, because that’s the whole purpose of VAR. Here we are again having the same discussion another week. So, it is what it is. Happy and proud of our guys to continue to battle. Everybody wants to hand the mantle over to Atlanta, but we are not ready to give anything up, so take that. That’s what I felt like the script was today. It was supposed to be Atlanta’s day and it wasn’t.”

On if his team sent a message today with how they performed:

“I don’t know. I don’t care about sending messages. We came in and we battled for 90 minutes. We adjusted through the course of the game. I think we needed to be a little more patient with the ball at times in our endeavors forward. We rushed some attacks and were too quick in giving them the ball back and they are a dangerous team in transition. They were able to hold long stretches of possession and a lot of that was our impatience. When we were patient with the ball, we were able to set up some attacks and move them around. We were able to sustain some attacks. If there is anything I would want us to take away is that we need to be a little more patient with the ball. Move the defenders around and trust each other and allow things to open up and set up before we rush into these attacks. Aside from that, the energy, the work rate, the belief was amazing.”

On if the officials explained the PK call to him:

“I have no idea. It was played throughout the entire stadium. Everybody saw the goalkeeper gets his hand on the ball. I don’t have an explanation. I don’t know if they have an explanation other then they will say that the middle official saw a foul. That’s what VAR is for to check the call. If our guy touches the ball, then I don’t understand why a foul is being called. He makes a play on the ball. We will take the point, we would have liked to steal three points.”

On the red card to Chris Mavinga at the end:

“Yeah I’m disappointed for sure. There is no business for their center back to be up in our end of the field stirring up non-sense. As for our guy, he needs to control his temper better and not get involved in that. For me though, their guy has no business being up there and stirring things up.”

On if tonight’s result keeps the momentum going towards the playoff race:

“Yeah. This is a good point in a difficult place to play. It’s our momentum continuing to progress. We are unbeaten in three now in the league. This is a difficult place to get any point. We will take it. It’s about momentum. Now we got a Canadian Championship to deal with in midweek and then another tough opponent coming to our place next weekend. For us, ideally we want three points. That’s why the PK frustrates me. There were other things in the game, but the PK call resulted directly into a goal. But at the end of the day, one point is one point. As far as the next 12 games, we got to pick up three points in more than half of them to give us a chance.”

Toronto FC forward Tosaint Ricketts

On his overall thoughts on the 2-2 draw tonight:

“Yeah. It’s a good result on the road. It’s not easy to come into Atlanta and get a result. Good crowd, great atmosphere. So, we will take this point tonight.”

On making an instant impact with a goal off the bench:

“Of course, it feels great. I’ve done this before. It feels good to get a goal and most importantly get the point for the team tonight.”

On sending a message to the rest of the league:

“Yeah, of course. Most importantly, we are getting guys healthy and back to 100 percent. The team is starting to get it going. The last few matches have been good, and we are headed in the right direction.”

On the importance of tonight’s point to keep momentum towards a playoff push:

“Very big. Every point matters for us from here on out. To come in here and get a point is a good accomplishment for our team.”

Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono

On tonight’s result and if it’s a good point for the team:

“I think so. We came here despite things going against us and some challenges we had to face, we grinded out a tough road result. Everyone knows that Atlanta is one of the tougher places to come to and for us to grind out 2-2 is big. Also coming from behind to get that second goal is huge for us. It says a lot about our character and a lot about how far we have come. Not many people would have said a couple months ago that we would come out of here with a 2-2 result. I’m proud of the guys (and) proud of the effort tonight. We put in a real shift today.”

On his big night in the match:

“I felt good. I felt I was doing my job. Trying to do everything I could to give our guys a chance to put some goals on the board. After they did, the back four or back five at times was great today. We grinded out this result. The attackers for Atlanta are obviously some of the faster more talented guys in the league. The fact that we dealt with them fair-handedly was great.”

On if he was surprised that Josef Martinez was able to get his head on the second goal:

“No, not really. He is very smart with his run of the blind shoulder. We spent a lot of time this week preparing for that. We just kind of had a little lapse in concentration and left him get open off the shoulder on the blind side and that’s how he makes a living, scoring goals.”

On the penalty kick and what he saw:

“Apparently, it’s not obvious to some people that I got my hand on the ball. I thought, obviously, that I got my hand to it. That was my vantage point of it. I don’t want to sit here and criticize referees. That’s not what I’m about. The decision is the decision. People are always going to be disappointed with calls. People are always going to think the call was correct so, I’d love to sit down with someone and talk about it, understand what the guys in the booth were looking at. What they saw and why they decided to uphold the call, but that’s not how this works. You move on to the next one and we’ve been on the poor end of the VAR decisions this year. The optimist view is that they start to turn in your favor at some point. Until that happens, we will keep grinding.”

On importance of point tonight to keep momentum on their side:

“Massive. Massive. Atlanta is at the top of the Eastern Conference Standings and we’ve been there before. We know what it’s like to be at the top of the standings. Every team is gunning for you, especially when you are in the spotlight as much as this franchise it. Coming in here and getting a result and grinding it out was big for our momentum going forward. Something we can take in stride and move on to the next fixture with.”