200308_Jake

Post Match Quotes | Atlanta United vs FC Cincinnati

  • Match: Atlanta United FC vs FC Cincinnati
  • Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA 
  • Date: March 8, 2020 
  • Final Score: ATL 2-1 CIN (Recap | Highlights)

 

Atlanta United Head Coach Frank de Boer

On the team’s effort tonight:

“Yes, of course. You cannot replace Josef so other players need to step in. Winning two times in a row, Emerson Hyndman and Ezequiel Barco, you know did a good job to replace those goals so that’s very positive. Also, I think Pity (Gonzalo Martinez) really played really well. He, of course, created the first goal, was like 90 percent his goal, so that was really nice to see. I think, overall, the whole team did a great effort. I know we can play much better. We worked very hard. Sometimes, it was quite difficult for us. They (FC Cincinnati) played in a block, and we had to create our own space and everything. It was difficult to find a free man. We had some moments, for example, the great pass that found Pity then directly to (Ezequiel) Barco one against one in the first half. That is what you are looking for. But it’s so rare, you know when you find those spaces. I don’t say we have to be more patient, but I think the tempo can be better from left to right and try to pull them more to the sides and suddenly you know, you won that spreading pass in between. I think we can do better, but still we’re still on our way. A lot of new players, I think we have like 4 players who started the last game against Toronto and so that means everyone has to feel his position and also with his teammate. That takes time, last year we played 1-1 against Cincinnati. Now we have 6 points instead of 1 point. So that’s a big difference and it’s positive. But we have to improve that’s for sure.”

 

On expectations of Ezequiel Barco and intention to get behind defenders:

“Yes, because especially when you play against a block, they’re waiting for those balls in between. We are frustrated and try to make more risky passing. Then, they won. We were also focused on making runs behind their last line because of the center backs but more because of when you play against a block like that, most of the space is behind them. So, Laurence Wyke, he opened a lot of times directly to Jake Mulraney, and that is what you want, and then you want directly one against one. I think if they really understand, I am making an unselfish run, free Jake, but also for yourself. I think Barco did really well to put a lot of energy to make those runs. It opens up the game a little bit. He had some good runs. Unfortunately, he did not score on his first great run.

 

On Laurence Wyke’s injury as the team faces Club America:

“Yeah, he had quite a knock on his head. It was a bit swollen. He was a little bit dizzy. He couldn’t really see clear, so I don’t know if it’s a concussion or not. But it seems like it a little bit. But, still, I don’t have to resolve this. We have to wait for that, of course. Hopefully, it’s just a knock on his head, and that’s it. But we have concerns of course, because you lose an extra body at the back so hopefully, he is going to be alright tomorrow, and he can join us.”

 

On the performances from Adam Jahn and George Campbell:

“I think starting with Adam Jahn, He works his bollock off. He was running everywhere and had some good combinations. For him it’s also new, playing in such a full stadium with almost 70,000 people. Also playing on turf, he has to get used to that. Yesterday we trained for the first time here, I think he can be very proud of what he showed today. Great debut. Also for George Campbell, of course. He is very young, but when you are in the roster, you have to be ready. If you are not, I don’t have players just for fun in the roster. No, if you are on the roster and you are 17 years old, that doesn’t matter. You have to be ready. I think he looked a little bit nervous, but he can be proud of his debut tonight. Now, he has that debut, and he can look forward to a lot more appearances.”

 

On the confidence level of the team heading to Estadio Azteca for Champions League this week:

“You know, we have to really play as a team. We did that today. Every game we have to show that. I think we have enough quality on the pitch to get a good result at Azteca. It’s going to be difficult. They have one more day rest than us. The altitude can have a big influence. We have to be really clever and not to do crazy things. Recovery starts tonight for Wednesday. It’s going to be a tough game for sure, but hopefully we can get a good result.”

 

On being forced to play some younger guys and his confidence level in them:

“If you dig into my history a little bit, I’m never hesitant to put in younger players. When they well in training, then they need to show it in the real game. It’s good for them to have that experience now. It gives me confidence that I can do it. I will not hesitate for any other game. Again, for me if you are in the roster, you are available for selection. I’m very happy they have that feeling now.”

 

On the rest of the team rallying around Josef Martinez’s injury:

“Well, you know, that’s always the case. When an important player is injured or not playing, then other players will feel that responsibility to step in that gap. I think Pity (Martinez) and (Ezequiel) Barco is one of those. They have that feeling that they are the guys to lift up this team now. To be creative, but also score goals, and I think they are doing a great job.”

 

On if it’s too early to focus on one tournament given the current injuries:

“You don’t want to take big risks because we just started the season. We have to see. Of course, we want to have a great result in Estadio Azteca, but we aren’t going to take any risks with any injured players. For us, the MLS Cup is normally the most important one, because it comes with a qualification for Concacaf Champions League. We try to get as far as possible in CCL and we have to wait how it goes. It limits our possibilities to rotate. It makes the chance that you get other injuries much higher. We have to be very careful to our players and listen to them. We also have to take them into their own protection.”

 

On Jake Mulraney’s work rate and defensive improvements as a wing back:

“His work rate is unbelievable. One time he tracks back two guys and recovers the ball. He has that engine. Hopefully, when we are a little more in common with the way we want to play, he can contribute more in the 1-v-1 action and get by his opponent. I think that’s his real strength with his speed and combination with teammates to play him in behind the last line. He’s not really a fullback, but I’m very happy with him and what he is showing in his position.”

 

On what he has learned from his team through the first couple of weeks of the season:

“For me, the most important thing is that the ambience in the team is really, really good. That we have confidence with every player that starts. That we know this is our quality and we try to show that every game. Also understand that if we want to play really reserved, we can do that. If we want to play offensive, we can do that. I think we are much further than last season, but we have to work every day very hard. Also, as a staff, we have to let them know that the six points is nice, but we have to continue to work for those three points. That costs energy. We need everyone on the roster, but I’m very hopeful that a lot of players can return soon. Manuel Castro gives us an extra body in the Concacaf. He will be available, which is good news. Hopefully, he can also contribute for a great season.”

 

Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan

On biggest takeaway from tonight’s game:

“It certainly wasn’t pretty. With the last two games, we’ve shown a different side in terms of being able to roll our sleeves up and fight through some injuries and adversity.”

 

On new defensive players in front of Guzan:

“A bit of patchwork. Just trying to get through the 90 minutes. Guys do a job and especially towards the end where they start to throw bodies forward and deal with numbers in and around the box. You just try your best to try and get as many guys on the same page as possible.”

 

On having to playing without Josef Martinez:

“Regardless of Josef (Martinez), you know obviously he’s a massive part of our team and obviously we’re all behind him and we know he’s going to come back stronger from his injury. But regardless of him, whether he’s on the field or not we need to figure it out quickly. We’ve got another game - massive game - on Wednesday, away, in a tough environment. So, you know, being able to roll your sleeves up and fight and scrap only goes so far. At some point you need to turn the corner and the football needs to start to click in and we need to be more consistent. “

 

On managing expectations with injuries:

“When you’re in a big club you talk about managing expectations, but the expectation is to win and be successful. So, that’s all we know. That’s what we talk about wanting to be a big club and big clubs find ways when their backs are against the wall to persevere through difficult times and play good football and fight and scrap and do those types of things. That part is not about management’s expectations. It’s about guys stepping in, and listen we’re part of a big club where the expectations are high. It’s not all, ‘He’s young and all we’re going to give him X amount of time to cruise into it and what not.’ No, listen, this is the man’s game and we need guys that when they walk through the door of this locker room that they realize i’m at a big club, at a big team, and the expectation is to win and the demands are high.”

 

On George Campbell’s debut:

“Again, you know a young kid getting his debut and coming in and doing a job. I think in these moments it’s not always easy for him to come in a game like it was, how it was playing out. It’s another step of the learning process for him individually, and for us as a team you try and help them through these difficult times.”

 

On going into this game:

“We need to manage the game. You look at the last 30-minutes and when our backs are against the wall you could talk about injuries, talk about this or that or whatever but you’ve got to be able to manage the game. We give them too much time and freedom on the ball to pick a pass and in this league. Any team, any player can pass with good time on the ball and so we need to be able to do a better job of keeping the ball and managing the game. Yeah, it was a massive, massive game for us. Going into it, knowing how last year went going to Motagua away. We need find the way for 90-minutes to make sure that after game, come Wednesday night, that we’re still in the fixture, we’re still in the tie and hopefully, positive.”

 

On tonight’s match in comparison to Wednesday’s match:

“We need to be able to play under pressure – to find and pick passes. Cincinnati came in with a gameplan of, obviously, sitting back and looking at playing the counter and this and that. That’s fine. Teams will do that at times, but they’re not going to do that. The top teams aren’t going to do that. They’re going to look at us and, at times, they’re going to smell blood, so we need to be better, and we need to win. When teams do smell blood, and they think they can get after us, then, we’ve got to put them to the sword, and we’ve got to punish them, and we’ve got to dictate the game, and we have to be better.”

 

Atlanta United FC midfielder Emerson Hyndman 

On tonight’s game:

“A tough game. We knew that they were going to be tough to play against. They sat in quite a bit. We just had to be patient most of the time, but we created enough chances. I think we could’ve created more obviously. That’s something we’ll look at and work on. Overall, another three points, so a good day.”

 

On personnel changes:

“A couple big losses. We worked on it in training, and we looked alright. I thought the guys that came in did really well. Laurence (Wyke), I felt bad for him. He was having a good game. You see George (Campbell) comes in and does a very job. We need players to step up like that, and so far so good.”

 

On playing without Josef Martinez:

“Obviously, he’s just a massive presence. The goals he scores for us. He can kind of create one by himself sometimes. We still have a really good attacking team Pity (Martinez), (Ezequiel) Barco and Adam (Jahn) coming in and doing really well. I think we have to do it a little different way, a little bit more build up and not as direct. I think, at the same time, it’s something we can build on and get better at. I think he’s always been that focal point for us – since I’ve been here anyways. He’s someone that a lot of teams game plan against too, so they’ll probably start game planning other ways against us, which we’re not so used to. We’ve got to figure that out but so far. We’ve got two wins in two (games), and we just want to continue that.”

 

On his role:

“My role is to basically control the game, try to find attackers and maybe nickel myself. My role doesn’t change too much. I think it mainly changes the overall attack, the way we go about things. Like I said, we’ll build on this one and I think we can create more chances than we did tonight. It’s something we can look at.”

 

On the upcoming match in Mexico City:

“A huge game for us. We’ve shown that we can go to a tough atmosphere and get a result and bring a decent result back to our place. A little more grand in scale – Stadium Azteca. When they came here, it was a great game. We want to approach it the same way and replicate the performance and really show up.”

 

On tonight’s goal:

“I feel OK. I had a couple of rough touches in the first half that I wanted to put right. Thankfully, I got myself in it again. I’ve always backed myself in the box, wherever I’ve been. I should probably shoot a little bit more considering, but I just got to keep getting in there.”

 

On his positioning with Josef Martinez out:

“It was something I wanted to focus on this year anyway - regardless of who is on the pitch. With (Martinez) being out, chances have got to come from somewhere else a little bit more. It’s definitely a focus for everyone. Everyone has to step up a little bit more, especially in the attacking third. We can’t rely on him for goals anymore, so we’ve got to create our own chances and have a good end product when we can.”

 

Atlanta United FC forward Adam Jahn 

On playing in Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the first time:

“I had a blast. You can tell it was really fun. You don’t get many chances to play somewhere like this, so whenever you get one you soak it up.”

 

On what he did well tonight:

“I think I made some good combinations where we were able to play to me and then lay it off to Pity (Martinez). We had a few chances there and kind of opened them up. Overall work rate, I was able to help out on defense a lot.”

 

On how playing in Mercedes-Benz Stadium will prepare him for playing in Estadio Azteca on Wednesday:

“You can’t really hear much on the field, so it’s probably going to be the same over there, but it definitely helps us going into Wednesday.”

 

On if this will be his first time in Estadio Azteca:

“Yeah. I’ve heard crazy things.”

 

On stepping into a new role with Josef Martinez not playing:

“It’s a team effort because you can’t fill his (Josef Martinez’s) shoes, but everyone stepped up and we did enough to get the result. (Ezequiel) Barco with a great goal and Emerson is in great form, so people are just stepping up and that’s what it’s about. That’s what a team is all about, finding a way to win, someone’s going to step up and get it done.”

 

On training and practicing runs behind the defense:

“Especially with (Ezequiel) Barco, he’s so fast and quick, so we were trying to get him in behind a lot, and you saw that he was making a lot of runs like that. I was happy that I was able to dish the ball to Pity (Martinez) a few times because when the ball is at his feet, you know things are going to happen. We scored a goal and had a bunch of other chances with him.”

 

On how this game is different from 2017:

“Well, just knowing that the fans are rooting for me, and obviously, our team, helps the energy. You feed off the energy. Frank (de Boer) said that before the game. So did Jeff (Larentowicz). Just let the fans lift us up, and you can definitely feel it out there. It’s nonstop, and it really helps.”

 

On if he watched Club America last night:

“No, I heard they’re in a little poor form. I won’t see much tonight, so I will probably re-watch this game and if I’m still not tired, I’ll watch that one.”

 

On what he’s looking for when re-watching the game:

“I like to watch for what I could have done better. What kind of runs I could have made differently, and things like that to improve. Then, also I look at things, I did right and did well and continue to do those things, too.”
 

On Matheus Rossetto’s performance:

“He did great. He’s so calm on the ball and you can tell he’s so shifty. When he has it, if you make a good run for him, he will get it to you.”

 

Atlanta United FC midfielder Jake Mulraney

On tonight’s environment:

“Crazy. Honestly, it was crazy. Apart from the game, it was an amazing experience. I’ve said it before, (but) I think the atmosphere across the water is a little bit more hostile, whereas here, it’s a lot more supportive.”

 

On his expectations for Mexico City:

“We just heard that it’s crazy. It’s going to be crazy over there, and that Mexico is football mad – soccer mad – sorry.”

 

Atlanta United defender George Campbell

On making his MLS debut:

“It was exciting. (It was) probably the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen, so, you know, I had to try to play my game and not get too nervous on the ball – stuff like that.”

 

On his role at center back:

“I always try to be ready for the game, obviously, but I didn’t expect to go in that early, so, obviously, the blood was rushing a little harder than usual, but again, I just try to keep it cool and play my game.”

 

On advice before subbing in:

“It was a little quick, so I didn’t get too much advice, but honestly, it was from (Head Coach) Frank (de Boer). Just play my game. Just see what happens and go out there.”

 

On preserving the win:

“It’s just about trying to get into the game and stay connected with them. Obviously, Fernando (Meza) and Anton (Walkes) are more experienced, so listening to them was key, and just trying to learn as the game goes on to see how it goes.”

 

On the offense without Josef Martinez:

“Obviously, it’s a big loss. You can see we still scored twice and still have a lot of attacking threats. So honestly, we just have to keep playing our game, and obviously, we don’t have Josef, but Adam (Jahn) did well. He’s going to continue doing well.”

 

On handling pressure and moving onto Club America on Wednesday:

“Obviously, it’s a good jump for just getting the first game out of the way. Obviously, that helps me with my nerves going into the next game whether I start or not. It’ll help me stay cool for the next game.”

 

Atlanta United midfielder Ezequiel Barco

On overall thoughts on tonight’s game:

“I’m happy for the goal, but as a group, we are happy to get the win. It’s an important win to get at home, so we have to take that and move forward.”

 

On the upcoming match against Club America:

“We have to prepare. It’s going to be a difficult game just like these recent games that we’ve had, but we know it’s a difficult place to play, so we have to be ready.”

 

On how the team is playing and practicing without Josef Martinez:

“The group is doing a good job. We have a big loss without Josef, but the important thing is we’re always a group, and we’re doing our best moving forward.”

 

On the media coming into the locker room:

“We get used to it. In Argentina, this would never happen, but I’ve been here for two years, so we get used to it.”

 

On his personal feelings scoring his second goal tonight:

Scoring is always good for the group, and it gives you confidence, and that is what I’m happy for.”

 

On his celebration tribute to Josef Martinez and his message:

The goal was for him. Yesterday, I met up with him and told him if I scored, I was going to dedicate the goal to him.”

 

On the offense without Josef Martinez:

“Josef is a player we know when he is on the field he’s going to solve a lot of problems for everybody. Adam’s a good player, and I thought he did a good job.”

 

On the team’s mentality going into Club America:

“I think the win today gives the group confidence as we head into this really difficult game on Wednesday.”

 

Atlanta United defender Fernando Meza

On the game:

“It was a game that was under control. We played a good first half, and they didn’t generate any chances on goal. In the second half, when we lowered the intensity a little bit, they scored the goal and made it 2-1. It complicated things a little. They started to attack more. We’re happy that the team put in the effort and when the team plays, we do it well. The season is just starting, it’s a long season, and this continues, and we have many things to improve.”

 

On his first game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:

“Incredible. I’d been here for about a month and hadn’t been yet. Yesterday, we had the first training session here and today, the game. The show that they put on, the stadium, it’s incredible. Any soccer player that has the chance to play here will be impacted because the show is incredible and the support of the fans in fundamental.”

 

On playing Club America and the expectations:

“To win. I’m able to compare, and I know the team that America is. It’s a team with a lot of depth, a big squad. We have absences but every player who plays will be important for the team. I’m totally convinced that our team, even with the loss of Josef (Martinez), which obviously is important for us, we know that at least whoever plays can do well. I’m convinced that we can win, obviously, it’s going to be an entertaining game because they play well. The field at Estadio Azteca is well suited for that, so it will be a show, and when they come here, it will be the same.”

 

FC Cincinnati Head Coach Yoann Damet

On the growth of the team:

“I think the guys played well. I’m disappointed for them tonight. I think they put a lot of energy, a lot of hard work on the field. I think they respected the plan really well. I think we created some chances, tried a lot, were strong defensively. Overall, we didn’t trail that much except at the end of the game where the game started opening up a little bit because we were chasing, but I’m very proud of the guys. The guys have shown growth in comparison to last week and overall when I analyze the first two games, I see improvement, and I see we are going in the right direction.”

 

On fighting back in games:

“I think it is the mentality of the players. These players don’t want to give up. They feel what we are capable so I think they feel that we can create opportunities and we can be dangerous even if we play away from home. They want to show it for ourselves, but they also want to show it for the fans. The fans have been amazing traveling and being there for us. I think they players want to show that we can get into these games and get results. Tonight, again, it is very disappointing to concede these two goals. We knew in the second half that the second goal could be a turning point, and we knew that we could get back into the game very quickly and very easily. We kept on pushing and the guys tried really hard. I think there were some decisions that were questionable in the first half, but we know that if we want to win this game or at least get a result we have to do it our way.”

 

On what Cincinnati can change to be the team that gets on the front-foot:

“We adjust in the games, but we don’t really adjust. Like I said, it is little mistakes. The players have to understand each other. Little details makes a difference on the two goals that Atlanta scored tonight. For us, it is all about how we show up and the plan – how we execute. I think the players showed that they are able to adjust to the game plan and to apply the game plan and that is why for us it shows that we are able to do a lot of good things in the future.”

 

FC Cincinnati defender Greg Garza

On playing in Atlanta:

“Obviously, a special place. I think the atmosphere and energy kind of gives you an extra bit of motivation – I think – for both teams. You are playing in front of 70,000 plus is something you don’t get to do every day. For me personally, this place was once a home, so obviously playing in front of people that still support you and still were cheering for me is something that feels very special.”

 

On if starting tonight’s match was more special than his appearance against Atlanta last season:

“Goodness, I’d have to disagree with that one. I think the moment last year is something that I will definitely remember the rest of my life, for the rest of my career. Getting a standing ovation in front of everyone was something that is unforgettable, but I think to be more involved in the game today was special. The main thing for me is being healthy and starting the game was something very important for myself and unfortunately didn’t get the win or get the tie or grab any points, but I think the chemistry and the confidence is still building within the group and within the team. Hopefully, we can turn the page around as quickly as possible and fight for some points and hopefully get a win at home.”

 

On growing his own confidence:

“Just things that we have to continue to build on. Things that we will look over video this week and know what our mistakes were. Like you said, continually build confidence and chemistry between everyone. Build those relationships on the field between two’s and three’s and pairs and everything that we need to do. Hopefully, as I said, turn the page around as quickly as possible and get a W at home next Saturday.”

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