Here are excerpts from Atlanta United manager Gerardo Martino’s weekly press conference. The Five Stripes will host Houston on Saturday.
It is Atlanta United’s fourth home game this season. That’s the fewest in the league so far this season.
Q: What did you learn watching Houston last night against Philadelphia?
A: They are a team that runs a lot. You can see that they labor a lot in attack. You can see they are determined team in attack, especially the forward. We will have to see if that’s the case against us.
Q: When you reviewed Portland, after the game you though yall played from the back very well, were you as satisfied after watching the film?
A: I confirmed what I said after the game: we played well out of the back. For an away game, it was the best job we have done so far in terms of controlling the ball, controlling the game. Maybe we lacked depth, but that’s it.
Q: With all of that possession, did you want to see the team shoot more? Were you satisfied with the number of shots (7 total, 3 on goal)?
A: We want to shoot more and we want to have more numbers arriving in the area. Those are two things we could have done better.
Q: You are No. 2 in the league in possession (58.2 percent). Houston is one of the better counter-attacking teams. How does their style affect you?
A: The game will probably be like that. They will probably give us possession and drop back a lot. We will play off like that. We are also in the hands of their style and we will be able to find space to counter-attack.
Q: Knowing they like to counter-attack, and how fast they are, does that limit how far forward you can push the fullbacks? Do you have to keep them back to guard against a break?
A: I think the opposite.
Q: Oh, pin them back?
A: We have to find the balance with other players and not our outside backs.
Q: Of the four or five road games last night, only one road team was able to earn a point. Based upon your experiences and success (9 points from 7 road games), why is to so hard to win or even get a point on the road in MLS?
A: It’s difficult because you have to adapt to the field, you have to adapt to the climate, the long trip that goes into the week of the game and also it’s tough to overcome playing teams at home. We’ve performed well on the road but I don’t think we have the amount of points that our performances necessarily deserved on the road.
We also have to make sure that we are playing well at home and take advantage of our home games because we haven’t done that yet.
Q: With the announcement of the rescheduled games yesterday, you will have something like five games in 17 days. How do you manage that?
A: We just have to take it on and play and not look for any excuses.