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Atlanta United’s de Boer on why he subbed out Pity Martinez

Atlanta United midfielder Gonzalo MartAnez (10) moves the ball during the first half in a MLS game against the New York City Red Bulls on Sunday, July 7, 2019, in Atlanta. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL
Atlanta United midfielder Gonzalo MartAnez (10) moves the ball during the first half in a MLS game against the New York City Red Bulls on Sunday, July 7, 2019, in Atlanta. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL

Credit: Branden Camp

Credit: Branden Camp

For the second time in as many home games, Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer subbed off Pity Martinez and didn’t have positive words for him.

Last week, in what became a 2-1 win at Montreal, Martinez was subbed off because de Boer said he was making decisions that put his team in danger.

The latest happened when de Boer replaced Martinez with Brandon Vazquez in the 63rd minute of Sunday's 3-3 draw with New York Red Bulls. Martinez had one assist on the opening goal by Justin Meram. After good effort on defense early in the game, he began to not work as hard. He also completed just 66.7 percent of his passes.

But those stats aren’t why de Boer said he took him out.

“Subbed off because we had to win duels,” de Boer said. “He didn’t do enough to avoid giving someone an easy long ball. When Brandon (Vazquez) came in you saw  it was a different story.

“I want 11 men who work hard, not 10 or 9 or 8 men. Everybody has to work, especially in these types of games. These are very difficult games. We had to win those duels.”

With Martinez on the bench, the middle of the pitch opened and Darlington Nagbe began to exploit the space in sparking Atlanta United’s offense with several runs into the penalty box.

Vazquez also worked hard to win duels so that his teammates could get up the field.

De Boer said he thought Martinez would play a bigger role in the game because in the two teams’ first meetings Martinez put himself into position to do so, even if “he didn’t make the best choices, but he’s the player you want to have the ball in the area.”

Atlanta United will host St. Louis in the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday and then will play at Seattle on July 14.

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