- Match: Atlanta United vs D.C. United
- Location: Audi Field, Washington, DC
- Date: September 3, 2018
- Final Score: ATL 1-3 DC (Recap | Highlights)
Tata Martino – Atlanta United Manager
His thoughts on the game:
I think we played well in the first half. I thought the tie was deserved at that point and there could have been even another goal difference. But then in the second half I think the penalty changed things. We lost a little bit of confidence, we got down on ourselves. Then we got a little disorganized and didn’t have as much control of the game.
On why the team got disorganized:
Because we went down on the scoresheet after the penalty. After that, we were trying to get back into the game. We thought we had less time to tie the game and that led to the disorganization.
On the introduction of George Bello:
I think he did a good job. He took initiative when he went in and did what we asked him to do. We put him and Julian out wide so we could get the ball out wide and get the ball into the box. We had Romario [Williams] and Josef [Martinez] in the box, so we had two target forwards to put crosses to, so I think he did a good job.
If D.C. won the game or Atlanta lost it:
I think you could say both, but I think they did enough to deserve it, especially with their order defensively. But on top of that, we made some mistakes that led to how the game played out and above all, we had a lot of possession but we were slow moving the ball. We could have been faster and I think we lacked a little bit of rhythm.
If there was more pressure on this match:
No, I don’t think so, especially with the Red Bulls losing. At that point they were two games ahead of us, so I don’t think there was any pressure on the guys for that. If they had won and they were four points ahead, maybe there could have been more pressure. But I don’t think that was the case.
On the play of Ezequiel Barco and if there’s pressure on him due to his transfer fee:
No, I don’t think so. Sometimes guys have the confidence to finish those plays and sometimes they don’t. Especially tonight, I don’t think it’s anything to worry about with him individually. It was more a collective effort. What we tried to do was to get the ball out wide and get the ball into the box to our forwards in there. They were able to get on the counter a few times, and once they got a third goal it kind of opened us up.
On the penalty:
I was far away, so it was hard for me to say. But it’s possible with the referee we had tonight that it was going to be a penalty.
Jeff Larentowicz – Atlanta United Midfielder
His thoughts on the game:
I think it was just an off night. It’s not often we get outplayed, we just weren’t as sharp as we usually are. The field slowed us down a little bit as far as moving the ball quickly. That being said, we had opportunities to score, opportunities to defend and we just didn’t do either of them well enough tonight.
On if there was extra pressure to clinch a playoff spot
We always take it game by game. It’s a difficult game on the road, this is obviously a rejuvenated team that’s comfortable playing at a home atmosphere. It was kind of like us last year when we opened our building last year where you kind of get on a roll. But we just didn’t play well tonight.
On the play of Luciano Acosta:
He’s a dangerous player, very dangerous. Pulls you into tough spots to defend where you can’t see him, and he has a finishing touch.
On the main struggle for the defense:
I’m not sure. Usually we defend really well as a team, when things break down we are able to get behind the ball and slow the opponent down. I don’t think we really did that tonight. They were able to break quickly, create 2v1s and 1v1s, in open space and that’s not normally something we allow to happen.
On his goal:
It was a corner, I headed it in. Not much else to talk about. The ball was there, it was simple.
On if the team is frustrated not being able to capitalize on the Red Bulls loss:
Absolutely. We watch everything, we know what’s going on. We obviously focus on what we want to do on game night, but it’s clear what the picture is. It certainly was an opportunity going into the break. But we move on. This was a tough stretch of road games, and when we come back from the break we’ll do it again.
On the play of George Bello:
He was great. Very good. At his age, to come into a game like that, he was outstanding.
George Bello – Atlanta United defender
On his first MLS appearance:
It was a blessing. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get a win. But to be able to make my debut is a dream come true. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time, so for it to happen is a great feeling.
On if he was nervous:
There’s always going to be little butterflies, but once I’m on the field it was all gone. Just trying to be in control, do my best, put in the effort and try to get the team back in the game.
On what he should work on for his next experience:
Just coming into the game more solid. It won’t be my debut, so I’ll be more comfortable with it and relaxed.
On the instructions from the coaches
They said I should just attack and put in as many crosses as I could, so that’s what I tried to do.
On how the veterans have helped his development:
We have great leaders on and off the pitch. Any questions you have, they can help you out. They’ve been great role models for me to look up to.
On if he knew he would make it in:
No it was just the circumstances. I didn’t have any idea until they called me up. IT was a great feeling, I just thought, “woah.”