Post-Match Quotes | ATL vs CLB

  • Match: Atlanta United vs Columbus Crew
  • Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
  • Date: August 19th, 2018
  • Final Score: ATL 3-1 CLB (Recap | Highlights)


Atlanta United head coach Tata Martino

On what made Tito Villalba's goal so special:

"It's just a relief. We wanted to win at home and every once in a while I celebrate a goal like that. I thought the game in the second half was so beautiful that I had the feeling that I had to shout."

On the importance of Josef's record tying goal at home:

"First, I offer my congratulations to Josef because it's a very important achievement for him, especially being only his second year in the league. I think it's like a weight off of his shoulders, now that he's tied the record everything that comes after this is extra."

On both New York teams dropping points and if that made this game more important:

"It's an occasion that we haven't always been able to take advantage of in the past few weeks. So it was important for us and I have the feeling that as we get closer to the end of the season that all of these results are going to be very important to separate us. Not only was it a great result in that Josef (Martinez) was able to tie the record, but I think with the win today we now have one more win than we had last season with nine games still to play. Those are goals that you go setting and I think it's good that now we're completing some of our goals."

On (Ezequiel) Barco's performance and the importance of him reemerging late in the season:

"It's important to have him back. Just like before when we had him and we had Tito (Villalba) on the bench, now to have both those guys back, it's just a benefit for our team to have guys who are able to come in off the bench and be able to enter a game and make an impact. Hopefully we'll be able to count on guys like (Darlington) Nagbe and (Greg) Garza as well as we enter this final stretch of the season, because the more complete and deep our roster is, the better off we are."

On countering Columbus' style of play:

"I think the team deserved to win today. I think also once they tied the game that we could've even gone down on the score sheet. I'm going to go back to giving all the compliments that I always do to Columbus, even if it seems like an exaggeration. I think they're a team that really makes you focus and stay concentrated for a full match, because if you let up for a second then they can make you pay, like what happened today. They're a very good team, you have to stay very focused. I think that's why the result was so important, that it came against a tough team like Columbus."

On how the players managed time at the end of the game:

"Yeah, I think what we tried to do was take the rhythm out of the game. Once we scored the third goal we tried to break up the rhythm. Columbus is a team that because of the nobleness and quality of the opponent, that maybe they didn't deserve to have the game broken up like that. But it's something that we weren't able to do in some of the previous games. In that sense, it was important for us. They are a very quality team."

On Miguel's (Almirón) confidence going forward after scoring:

"Yeah, I think he's going to be much calmer from this point on. I think he had been suffering a little bit from not being able to score. But I think he's going to be calm and it's going to help us as we move forward."

Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez

On tying the MLS single season goals record and getting the win:

“It was a difficult result. It was a team who’s very tough. I think they’re one of the best teams in the league. They showed that again today, so I’m really happy for the win. Then, obviously, I’m happy Miguel got the goal. I think that’s important for him and I’m happy for Tito as well.”

On whether he was happy about tying the record:

“No. When I get to 28 I’ll have something.”

On who his goal celebration was for:

“It’s for my aunt who lives with me. She’s pregnant. I thought about it, and I had thought about doing it before at some point this season. But I wanted it to be a special occasion.”

On him always being happy for his teammates and especially Miguel:

“I’m happy for him because I think he’s been suffering lately. I don’t remember the last time he’s scored, but I know it’s been a while. I think he’s been feeling some of the pressure, so I was happy for him. I think it’s important for him to have the patience and perseverance to get that goal.”

On how important it is for him to be in the record books:

“I mean, I tied it, but what I really want is to break it. So once I break it, I’ll be even more happy.”

On whether he thought about taking the shot for the record instead of passing to Miguel:

“I was out of energy.”

On how good Tito’s goal was:

“It’s important because he’s been working very hard. I’ve seen how hard he’s been working. I think it’s one of the best goals I’ve seen Tito score, or anyone score. From the point where he takes the ball and makes that run and just out-sprints everybody for the goal.

On Ezequiel Barco coming back into the squad:

“Ezequiel always plays well. I think, just as any athlete, you have good days and bad days. If he never had bad days then he’d be playing at Real Madrid, but I think it’s important for him to keep working and keep learning.”

Atlanta United midfielder Julian Gressel

On his assist to Josef Martinez:

“I just saw the play develop, and I knew I had to tuck in. That’s kind of what we talked about before the game. I figured I could get there if he plays the pass, and then he actually did play the pass. The guy didn’t see me coming, and I just cut in front of him, and it was a clear counterattack. I gave the ball to Josef and then, I made a run myself and he either gives it back to me or scores it. It’s great.”

On his chemistry with Martinez:

“Today was finally not a cross, right? It’s actually funny. I thought about it throughout the week. I felt early on in the season when we played in the 3-5-2, and I played as a right wingback, it kind of didn’t click for me and Josef. I would cross it to a spot where he would make the run to a different point, but then, after a while, we just started working on it a little more and talking about it a little more. After a while it just started happening. I started keeping my head up a little longer to wait to where he makes the run and things like that. Today was a little different, but Josef is just a clinical finisher. You just need to give him the ball inside the 18 or outside today and he will do the rest.”

On being part of history on the assist to Martinez:

“That’s actually pretty cool to be honest with you. He has now tied the record, and it’s cool that I was the one to give him that assist, but ultimately, that’s his record. It’s nothing I want to take credit for at all. He has done a fantastic job and will break the record sooner rather than later.”

On getting three points with the win today:

“It’s huge. Those three points are very, very big. Obviously with the opponents coming up for us, that was probably the hardest game in terms of what’s on the schedule. Obviously, no game is easy. Especially at home and to send a message out to the two New York teams that this is ours to lose. You have to beat us in order to win the Supporter’s Shield, so that was huge in that sense.”

On if playing a team like Columbus that allows them to stretch the field makes it easier or stressful:

“Columbus brings a lot to the table offensively. That’s what you have to be aware of a little more. When teams are bunkering, you kind of forget about that part sometimes. Today, you have to be really clued in defensively, they can break you down pretty quickly and pretty easily when you aren’t sharp and you aren’t intense. I think we did a good job today. We were a little flat at the beginning of the second half, but we kind of regrouped and then found a way today.”

Atlanta United defender Michael Parkhurst

On what it means for Josef Martinez to have tied the scoring record with nine matches remaining:

“That he’s one of the best ever in the MLS. There’s no denying it. The track record speaks for itself. It’s incredible. It really is. The fact that that record has stood for as long as it has, and he’s crushing it in his first full season. Last season, he missed months; I don’t know how many games, but a lot. This season in his first full year, he’s crushing it. It’s unbelievable.”

On how the scoring record for Martinez is a team accomplishment:

“You can’t score goals without teammates and good support and crosses and things like that, but let’s take nothing away from what he’s done and what he’s accomplished and some of the goals that he’s scored because even tonight, Julian (Gressel) does a great play to create the counter attack, but from there there’s still 40 yards to go, and he does it by himself and a fantastic finish with his left foot. He can just score in such a variety of ways. He’s a special player.”

On Tito Villalba’s goal:

“I’m happy for him. I thought a minute and a half earlier, he slowed up and didn’t take (Lalas) Abubakar on one-on-one in the box, and I think he thought the same thing I did, kind of disappointed. Then when he got it the very next play a minute or a minute and a half later, there was no second thought. It was ‘I’m going, I’m going one-on-one’ and he cruised through the box past both central defenders and tucked it away. It was a fantastic finish. It was a big goal for us. Especially straight down the other side of the field, we get maybe a little fortunate. I haven’t seen that call but I know (Columbus) was upset about it, but we clear the ball and he goes all the way and scores so it was a big goal for us.”

 On the impact of this result means for the standings:

“Very big. We talked before the game that this was the first time in a while that our name wasn’t first on the standings, and we wanted to make sure that coming out of this game, going into tonight, our name was back on top, and now it is, and we feel good about that. We know it’s going to be a fight for the rest of the season, but we want to make sure that our name is at the top.”

Atlanta United forward Hector (Tito) Villalba

On his goal:

“I started to run – really that’s it – then, the goal just opened up by itself.”

On whether he saw the replay of his goal:

“No. I haven’t seen it yet.”

On switching from the left to the right during the game and whether he’s more comfortable there:

“Just like you said it was kind of like a goal from FIFA when I play with Atlanta. I play with myself or Miguel (Almirón), and we make runs like that.”

On his thoughts on today’s match:

“It was tough. It’s a tough game. They’re an opponent where no matter what field they play on they try to impose their style. Similar to the way we do it as well. I think you saw that during the game. It was close up until the end.”

On Josef Martinez tying the MLS single season goals record:

“I’m happy for him that he tied the record. I want him to keep going. I want him to keep scoring goals and for the team to keep having success.”

On whether he thinks he’s in the best form of his career:

“I’m in a good moment. I think my teammates are always on top of me, supporting me. I think the communication we have on the field is really good, and they allow me to move freely during the game and go wherever I want to go.”

On the importance of this win regarding the Supporters’ Shield:

“It’s very important. I think from here on out every week, every result is going to be important. Now we know it’s only a three point race and four points with New York City, so we just have to take it week by week. We know it’s going to be close.”

On whether he thought about passing or taking it himself on his goal:

“Those are goals or moments where everything comes very fast, so you have to make a quick decision. Once I passed the first centerback, I was going to play the ball, but I didn’t pick my head up, so I didn’t know who was running with me. It was Miguel (Almirón) or Josef (Martinez), so I took an extra step, and at that point, the best option was to finish it.”

Atlanta United midfielder Ezequiel Barco

On being back on the field tonight:

“I’m really happy to get back out there. I think it was even more important for us to get the win as a team, but I’m happy to get back on the field.”

On if he could go a full 90 minutes right now:

“This is the first game that I’ve been back, but I think it’s always good to be adding more minutes. I believe I will be OK.”

On what he wanted to show Tata (Coach Martino) in the last couple of weeks:

“I just wanted to do everything that Tata and the coaches are always asking me to do. I want to do everything that I’m asked to do on the field, and I think as I said before, it was just important for us to get the win today.”

On the suspension and what happened:

“As I’ve said, it was just a decision by the coaching staff and after that, all I could do was to continue working hard to do everything I could to get back on the field.”


Columbus Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter

On the match:

“I think it’s a good effort. I think it is an effort that shows our intent, shows that we can be dangerous, shows that we can come in here and push Atlanta to the edge. I think we did that. I’m disappointed with the goals that we conceded. I didn’t think they indicated the level of defending that we are capable of, but overall proud of the effort of the guys.”

On Gyasi Zardes’ goal and the attack in the second half:

“I think it varied. I think, in the first half, we were a little bit too passive. It was difficult to get numbers forward because of our defensive position. (In the) second half, we had a more aggressive defensive position, which led to more attacks. At the end of the day, I think we had more than one goal in us.”

On Hector Jiménez making his 100th appearance with Columbus:

“Hector is the glue. He’s the guy that keeps the locker room together, mixes well with everyone, understands the work it takes to be a pro. He’s been a pro. This is his eighth season, so he really understands what that means. We couldn’t be happier for him and this accomplishment.”

On playing Chicago on Thursday:

“We put this game away already, and now it’s about focusing on the next one. We’ll get fit guys. We will probably make a couple changes, but excited for the game on Thursday. A chance to get back at it.”

Columbus Crew SC forward Gyasi Zardes

On the match:

“I felt like we were all over them in the second half. As soon as the second half started, we really capitalized, got ourselves back in the game, and (it was) just unfortunate to not have a call go our way, and they turn around and score on the same play.”

On his goal:

“I saw Wil (Trapp) dribbling across the field and I looked around and saw myself wide open. Wil made an amazing pass on this turf and just turned and tried to put it on frame, far post.”

On playing Chicago on Thursday:

“This game is behind us, and now, as we train this week, we just really have to focus on what the coaches ask of us. They do a phenomenal job of getting us prepared for our next opponent. We are going to look forward to playing against Chicago.”

On Hector Jiménez making his 100th appearance with Columbus:

“Hector means a lot, especially to myself. When I first became a pro, Hector was driving me to and from training. I always have respect for Hector, and I love playing with him each and every moment I get. Congratulations to him, and I really look forward to playing many more games with him.”

Columbus Crew SC midfielder Wil Trapp

On the competitive effort from his teammates:

“I thought (in) the second half we came out very strong. I thought how we wanted to play them in the first half was a little bit of a feeling out period (and) unlucky to give up the goal. Once we scored, I felt like we had the better of the chances, the aggressors, for the most part. It was an interesting call on the potential handball, and it goes into a transition the other way, and they score. The last one is another transition play, so we have to buttoned up in those scenarios. They’re a team that can exploit you on the break, and they did so tonight.”

On finding Gyasi Zardes for the equalizer:

“I think, like I said, the way we came out in the second half, we really tried to spread them out. Gyasi was in a great spot. I just kind-of picked my head up and they slid to the side and I found him through the middle. It was a great finish by him especially from distance. Just got to keep finding him in good spots to get shots.”

On the message to the group with the next game against Chicago on Thursday:

“As much as this one is disappointing for us and we put a lot of effort into it, we have to just put it behind us because we’re traveling quickly. It’s a game we feel like we can get a result out of Chicago, so we have to go for it.”

On Hector Jiménez making his 100th appearance with Columbus:

“He’s huge. He’s just a wonderful teammate, a wonderful player. He’s been a wonderful servant as well. I’m happy for him. He’s probably disappointed in the result of the game, but for him, it’s been a wonderful time for him here. So, I’m happy to be teammates with him.”