Post-Match Quotes | ATL vs ORL

  • Match: Atlanta United FC vs Orlando City SC
  • Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
  • Date: May 12, 2019
  • Final Score: ATL 1-0 ORL (Recap | Highlights)

Atlanta United Head Coach Frank de Boer

On mistakes that led to chances by Orlando

"I said it at half time, the only time we give chances away we are over confident. We were sloppy - and yes, we have to get that out of our system. We played very well, but only those moment we think, 'Okay, I can do that' or 'I can just turn around.' We have to avoid those kinds of mistakes, because it suddenly can change the game, and we don't want that of course. We were good in the game, but sometimes we were too sloppy and overconfident and we have to realize, you have to play with confidence but not make silly mistakes. They had really two good chances out of there, we didn't get punished. I'm sure that we will be punished when we do it again."

On if the team was fortunate to get the win:
"No, I don't think so, because I think we were a much better team. At the end I think the best team won. Again, we could be very disappointed because they could have scored very easily two goals. We have to avoid that."

On Gonzalo 'Pity' Martinez's goal

"Yeah, I think I mentioned it last game that he's searching for the assist or the goal. He's coming closer and today he showed it. It was a fantastic strike and it gives him a boost, that's for sure. I'm very happy for him but it's also important for the team, because he is a player that has to get assists or make goals. Normally Josef (Martinez) is one, but you want also somebody else. Jules (Gressel) is normally one part, or Tito (Villalba), or (Ezequiel) Barco. But also, Gonzalo Martinez wants to be on that list, so i'm very happy for him."

On if Atlanta has moved on from the losses early in the season

"No, of course you learn from the past. We made great steps forward and still we are not there where I think we can be. But it's a good start right now. You have to learn from the past but I am not looking back to it, you keep looking forward. We're going to analyze this game, what do we have to improve and go into the next game. It starts with the energy you put in, and I think today - even though we had some overconfidence - at the end the energy was always there."

On Franco Escobar's performance

"How he runs, it's just fantastic to see. Up and down, he's got a lot of energy. That's the Franco we want to see. He's coming close to his form that he had last season, especially at the end of the season. For us it's very important that he's there, because modern fullbacks have to have depth kind of qualities, go up-and-down. Making plays and crosses, but also going back defensively. He did it all today."

On Orlando's game plan tonight forcing long passes

"I think a lot of times we didn't have to play long, but sometimes we had to play long because they want to press with three up front. If we did it really quickly we could find out at midfield a lot of times Darlington (Nagbe) or Pity Gonzales or one of our fullbacks was a mixture, sometimes long balls because we didn't react or they pressed really good at that moment. A lot of times we could also get under the pressure of them and then we were always dangerous. Also when we were there, what we call, 'the lock on' was normally quite organized that they couldn't really get proper parts and just kick it blindly away."

On the pressure on Pity Martinez:

"Of course, when you have that amount of money - when you buy somebody - you know there's pressure because people expect a lot of you. He feels it also, and he wants to show it. It's a relief, especially for him because we always believed that it would come. Of course, you want it as quick as possible but you have to work hard for it - and he did and now he's getting his reward."

On Josef Martinez understanding his role in the system:

"I think for me, he was one of the best players today. How he was enforced, sometimes he dropped a little deeper because a lot of times we played really good from the back so we had to push them back. It's like the factory system too, that is very difficult to find space. I think sometimes Pity (Martinez) went as a striker and he came in. He got outside of rhythm and everything, what he did he did really really well. I always say, 'If you see him, this is what I want to see: It's like music small parts and then suddenly he accelerates and you feel the danger.' Everybody feels in the crowd, or me myself, will see that something is happening. He had his chances today, so I'm really pleased with his performance today."

On Tito Villalba's role in the lineup:

"Maybe he can play 90-minutes for us. He puts lots of energy - and like Franco (Escobar) he can go up-and-down, because his muscles are built for that. Tito isn't a sprinter, so he will be exhausted much earlier and have to recover for a longer time to do it again one, or two times. He had a lot of runs today, so you have to protect him for himself and for the team. I think he was one of our more dangerous players and they did substitute (Alex DeJohn) because he was so dangerous on that side. He also played a really good game."    

Atlanta United midfielder Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez:

On how he feels after his first goal

“Good, good. I’m happy because the team won. The goal was necessary for me for my confidence and that the team showed another mark of character that we need at the moment and we have to continue on this path.”

On if he felt any frustration having to wait to score

“Zero frustration. I come from a big club in South America and well-known around the whole world so there was zero pressure. I had the confidence of my teammates that it was going to come at some point, and today it came and the team can keep winning which is the most important and now we have to keep this up next game.”

On how he’s playing better and having his family here now is extra motivation

“I think it makes you calm. But this is work. This is soccer. My wife and daughter don’t play with me on the field. My teammates play with me. I feel comfortable with them and they give me their support on the field and little by little I’m adjusting to what the game is like here and I think the last two-three games have gone well and we have to keep it up.”

On his habit of scoring goals in rivalries both in South America and now in MLS

“Yes aside from that Atlanta has a short history, few years as a club. Rivalries are built like this, with wins and making yourself strong at home. It’s important that people can take joy home with them and we have to keep writing the history of this club day after day and over time it’s going to be great.”

On his thoughts on the game

“The team was a little tired in the second half. We played a great first half. Created chances. Maybe we made the wrong decision on various occasion and weren’t able to convert but in the second half we got a little tired. We’re carrying a lot of games right now. We have to try and rest, keep training for the games that are coming but I think it was a great game from the team.”

On his celebration

“To get rid of the bad energy from not having scored in a while.”

On what the team needs to do to get to first place

“On rest, recovery. The team has found a good rhythm and we’ve been playing 90 minutes well. But as you said we have a lot of games so trainings sessions on the field aren’t as useful. As always, we get massages, ice bath, hot tub. So I think it will depend a lot on that.”

Atlanta United FC forward Tito Villalba

On his thoughts on the game

“A difficult game. Hard-fought, very physical. Back and forth. Another rivalry game and we won for the fans, luckily.”

On what happened in the second half

“We were tired. I think we played a great first half with a lot of intensity. We didn’t know how to take advantage of the opportunities that we created. We went for it time after time and there was another goal to be had but when we got in the second half, around 60 minutes, you feel the fatigue.”

On how he’s in good form and how he got over his injury from last year

“Training. As I always say. I think training your hardest is the best way and we’re playing every day, which is good for me. I need to play and play and luckily I’m getting it and I’m feeling better as I go.”

On being 5-0-2 against Orlando and what the rivalry is like

“A tough rivalry like I said. They came and gave everything also. We’re on a good streak, winning games and as I said we’re playing every three days and feeling better each game.”

On seeing Pity Martinez score

“I think I’ve said it before that I love assisting. Obviously, I like scoring goals, too. It makes me really happy to give a pass for a teammate to score and the truth is I get excited and I like giving that to Pity and for it to be his first goal it makes me happy.”

On what’s allowed Atlanta to improve

“Playing. Playing together. Understanding the idea of the coach and the way he wants us to work on the field. Sometimes it’s tough. You saw that at the start of the year. But little by little we’re moving forward.”  

Atlanta United defender Michael Parkhurst

On his thoughts of today’s game

“It was a good win. It was a bit of a tired win in the second half because guys were fatigued. We’ve played a lot of games in the past couple of weeks, and defensively we continued to work and that’s most important. We didn’t allow too many chances, they had a very big one in the first half and Brad (Guzan) makes a great save. A couple half-chances in the second, but defensively guys did their jobs tonight and we worked hard. On the offensive side we were just a little bit off.”

On dealing with Orlando’s high press

“We expected them to sit back a little bit more than they did, but we always welcome teams to press here because it opens things up, gives us a little more space. It allows guys to get in behind and play through lines. Particularly in the first half we played in those lines and pushed the game a little bit.”

On Dom Dwyer’s offensive contributions

“Miles (Robinson) and Leandro (Gonzalez-Pirez) did a fantastic job working on him tonight. He’s a strong guy but Leandro and Miles are no slouches themselves. These guys are playing at a very high level and a big reason why we have so many shutouts lately. So, credit to them for shutting him down tonight.”

On the team’s confidence levels after tonight’s win

“The confidence level is very high and it continues to grow. Josef (Martinez) got on the scoresheet a couple games ago, Pity (Martinez) scored today, Tito’s (Villalba) been playing very well, (Ezequiel) Barco before he left, different guys are stepping up every game. Everyone understands their role a little better now and we are getting into a rhythm. The games are coming really fast now and it’s welcomed when you are on a roll like this. We look forward to playing again on Wednesday the most important thing right now is to recover.”

On transitioning from CONCACAF play

“It was a tough start to the season with CONCACAF. You look at some of the other teams and New York Red Bulls has struggled in MLS partly because of that, Kansas City is banged up because of CONCACAF. It’s a difficult start to the tournament when you have to deal with that and we weathered it. We had some okay performances when we got a little unlucky but now we are in a groove. When you win games you get confidence, when you get confidence you win games, it’s like the chicken and the egg.“

On playing outside back

“It’s not a new position, I feel comfortable but I’m not a young chicken anymore. It’s a little more difficult to get up and down, I can’t play every game at outside back for sure. But I enjoy my time out there.”

Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan

On the keys to the shutout streak
"I think we’re limiting the opposition’s chances. If you look at the first few games of the season, the chances we were giving away were careless and reckless with the ball. We took chances that we didn’t need to take, especially when we were exposed higher up the pitch. Teams obviously sit in and try to counter us, especially here. I think there were still some areas that we could have been sharper in especially with the ball. There were some needless turnovers. Overall, we were comfortable aside from probably the first 30 seconds when we gave them a golden chance. We didn’t allow too many of those moments."

On easing the pressure after Pity Martinez’s first goal
"There’s pressure on all of us. There’s pressure on him and there’s pressure on all of us. We are at a big club and do big things here in Atlanta. We’ve got a fantastic fan base that proved themselves again tonight with their voices. There’s pressure on all of us to perform at a high level and we’re not here to accept mediocracy. We push each other and it’s about getting better every day in training. Ultimately we want those performances to shine through on a game day. I thought he [Pity Martinez] was good again today. He certainly turned a corner from an individual point of view and he was well rewarded with a goal today."

On Jeff Larentowicz’s 400th  regular season MLS appearance
“It’s fantastic and an unbelievable achievement. The manager said congratulations to him before he addressed the team. I think that speaks volumes about what he has been able to accomplish here in this league. To play that many games in any league around the world is a huge accomplishment. I couldn’t be more excited for him. He fully deserves it. He’s a fantastic teammate and even a better professional."

On the state of the team
“Ultimately goals change games and wins change the atmosphere. At the same time, we never let it get to us in such a way that it’s the end of the world. I think it’s about getting everyone on the same page of what we’re trying to do and how we’re trying to play. Now you’re starting to see that. It wasn’t perfect tonight but when you have the hard work and belief for 90 minutes, you normally get rewarded for a good result."

On his saves throughout the match
“I was just happy to play my part. The guys run around for 90 minutes. That’s the beauty of being a goalkeeper. I don’t have to run around. They put in a fantastic shift. We knew it was going to be a hard game especially on such short rest. I’m just happy to play my part. It was a great result and we look toward Vancouver now.”

Atlanta United midfielder Jeff Larentowicz:

On reaching 400 appearances in his career

“It was a goal that I set so it feels good to achieve that goal. But really, it’s just a moment in a season we hope goes really well for a long time. I’m happy for the moment but happy for the win. The team is playing exceptionally well right now.”

On individual errors throughout the game and what he would attribute that too

“No, I’m not going to jump on that one. I thought the team did well. It has been a lot of games, but mistakes are common and it’s a shut out so I thought it was a good performance.”

On the teams fourth straight win and the confidence going on the road

“It was important for us to get everyone back into it. In the locker room. Outside the locker room. Today, in front of the full stadium it was good to get a win. You play games quickly, every three days, and when you’re winning them it’s a good thing. Today was a difficult game but a good performance by everyone. 

On when and why he set 400 appearances as a goal

“I got 300 [games] and a reporter asked what’s next, and I said ‘400’ and he laughed and I said ‘Well, I’m going to try it’. It was a little bit of motivation but it takes a lot of things to make it happen. I am thankful to really have the opportunity over the last few years. Immediately after 300 [games] it was tough, so I’m happy to have the chance.”

On his next career goal

“The next goal is to help this team in anyway. Success feels very good. Not having success does not feel very good. I think everybody is getting a sense of how good it feels to be doing well and how much it requires to do well. And I think we have kind of gotten back to that mindset. Helping in anyway, I stood in this locker room a few months ago and felt very good and I think getting back to that point would be enough.”  

Orlando City SC Head Coach James O’Connor

On his takeaways from the game:
“I think the biggest thing for us, coming away, not having got anything from the game, it really hurts. In a derby, when you look at the chance creation, to come away and not get anything out of the game, especially against Atlanta United FC, it is pretty painful.”

On the team’s chances on goal:

“We have had more. When you go through the chance creation, there will be very few teams that will come here and create the amount of good quality chances like that, but we have to take them. I think that is the big thing. When you create that amount of chances, you have to take the chances. I think it really hurts because the score could and should be different, but it is not because we did not take them.”

On Dom Dwyer’s recent play:
“Look, it is not just Dom (Dwyer). Dom has had a couple of chances to take and he almost had another one where he could have slipped it to Tesho (Akindle) and we could get in. Ruan had one inside the six. Will (Johnson) had one as well, so great credit to the guys for showing that level of fight and heart to keep going, keep going, and keep going, and I really feel like there was a relentless effort to try and get something out of the game. To show that courage and bravery, and the volume of really good chances to take is fantastic, but you have to take them. Ultimately, we have lost the game one to nil against our local rivals, which makes it really, really painful.”

 On the play of the team without Nani:
“I think from our perspective, we want to create chances, we want to be an attacking team, and we want to score goals, and we are really, really close. We could not have asked any more of the players. When you look at the volume of chances that we have created, to get that level of chance creation, and not capitalize, is very, very frustrating for all of us. But you cannot fault the players in regard to the effort, the intensity, the desire, and the character to keep going. Lesser teams would have felt sorry for themselves at halftime, because even at halftime we had had three really good chances, but in the second half we managed to weather the storm a little bit. I thought Kyle Smith did really well. I thought the subs had a big impact when they came on, and again, we had another three really good chances, but you have to take them.”

 On the play of Cristian Higuita:
“I thought he played very well. Credit to Cristian. I thought he handled the ball very well. I thought he started to tire and that was the only reason we took him off, to manage him. He got a knock on his shoulder, so we wanted to make sure he was ok, but a credit to him. I thought he played very, very well.”

 On Cristian Higuita’s performance in recent trainings:
“He has shown the last couple weeks in training what he is capable of, and has been consistent, and that is why he has been rewarded today with the start. We were really pleased with his performance. I thought he got on the ball and made some good decisions. As I said, it is hard to fault the players when you create the volume of chances that we did. It is just heart-breaking because we did not take them.”

On the likelihood Sacha Kljestan, Nani, and Lamine Sané return for the match Wednesday:
“We will wait and see. I am not going to guess too much. We obviously need to manage this week, especially getting on the plane tomorrow and going to Seattle.”

Orlando City SC forward Tesho Akindele

On the recent run of being shut out:
“I think just being clinical with our chances, because we created good chances if you look at the game. I think we had three or four really good chances that you expect us to score maybe 80 or 90% of the time, but we did not take advantage of that, and that was the difference.”

On the frustration level with not finishing chances:
“It is a bit frustrating, but you kind of have to just have that bounce back mentality. We have another game coming on Wednesday, so we cannot just sit her in our frustration. We have to reset and just get ready for that game.”

On what can fix the goal drought:
“I think today especially it was just the chances are there and we need to put them in the net. Maybe other games the story is different, but today, I thought from 30 minutes into the first half until the end of the game that we were the better team. We just did not finish the chances that we created.”

On how to help Dom Dwyer out of his slump:
“He knows. He is a professional player. We always tell him ‘next one, next one,’ but it is one of those things that has to come from within you. For every time he might miss a chance that people say he should score, he has scored a goal out of nowhere to save the team, so I think people should keep that in mind whenever they are thinking about what is going on with him.”

Orlando City SC midfielder Will Johnson  

On not getting a result
“It is tough. We did enough today to get a result out of the game. Obviously, a quality moment by their (Atlanta United FC) guy, and not enough quality in our attacking moments to get something out of the game. So, it is frustrating because you can put in all the tactics, you can work as hard as you want, but at the end of the day, the game comes down to putting the ball in the net, and that is something we failed to do today. That being said, we can look at it one of two ways: we can understand that that was a pretty good performance and we can build on that and keep progressing forward, or we can do what we have done the first four years of the club and feel sorry for ourselves, fold, and turn this couple of back-to-back losses into a losing season. Or, we can use it in a positive way and know that next time we get in these positions our guys are going to come through in a real way and help us get back into this season.”

 On the mood within the locker room
“We are trying to stay positive and stay upbeat. We understand there is another game Wednesday where a group of guys will get an opportunity, and then another big game back at home this Sunday. So, we know that there is a lot of soccer left to be played. Guys are optimistic, but we are disappointed in our quality today, especially in the final third. We executed our game plan exactly the way we wanted to, and we did enough to get something out of the game, but obviously we did not. It is now about somehow finding a way to continue to have performances like that with a little more quality.”

 On the play of Cristian Higuita
“I thought he was good. Obviously, Cristian (Higuita) comes in and always does a good job holding the ball and making plays. Probably needs more minutes to get a little bit sharper and let his quality show through, but he is a guy that is in a good way at training at the moment, and hopefully that continues and leads to more opportunities in games. He is one of those guys with quality and the ability to make a final pass, make a finish, so hopefully he gets a little sharper as we go.”