March 10, 2019 Atlanta: Atlanta United head coach Frank de Boer directs midfielder Pity Martinez against FC Cincinnati in their MLS soccer match on Sunday, March 10, 2019, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton

Atlanta United’s de Boer apologizes for calling fans “spoiled”

Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer on Tuesday apologized for describing the team’s supporters as “spoiled” after Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Cincinnati.

“I’m sorry for what I said,” he said.

Looking at notes, de Boer started to try to explain that “spoiled” in Dutch, his first language, doesn’t have the same connotation as it does in English.

“Spoiled was maybe the wrong pronouncement,” he said. 

He said he understands the frustration the supporters felt after Sunday’s draw, which he said shouldn’t have happened. Atlanta United is the reigning MLS champ and has set numerous league attendance records.

“It’s hard for them because they are used to winning,” he said. “We will try to get that feeling back as soon as possible.”

Atlanta United will get two more chances this week when it hosts Monterrey in the second leg of its Champions League quarterfinal series, and when it hosts Philadelphia on Sunday in its third MLS game this season. It is 0-1-1 in league play. It trails Monterrey 3-0.

After the draw against Cincinnati, which happened when the expansion team scored in the 86th minute in its only shot on goal, de Boer was asked about the supporters’ reaction to the 1-3-1 start to the season.

“Everybody was spoiled with the results of last season, so everyone has expectations, and that’s normal, but everybody also saw what happened with Toronto FC when they played in the Champions League last season,” he said as part of a longer answer.

On Tuesday, De Boer asked for the supporters to continue providing the enthusiasm they’ve shown throughout the team’s history.

“They are used to the victories,” he said. “Sometimes, we have a little bit setback. We can lose a game or draw the game, but it’s important for the supporters to support the team, as they always do and did against Cincinnati. To be the 12th man.”

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