Atlanta United players dismiss loss to D.C. United

Atlanta United’s Kenwyne Jones said the team is not worried that the peformance in last week’s loss to D.C. United is the beginning of a trend. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
Atlanta United’s Kenwyne Jones said the team is not worried that the peformance in last week’s loss to D.C. United is the beginning of a trend. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

Two of Atlanta United’s veteran players were still a little confused Tuesday as to why the team didn’t play as well as expected in Sunday’s 3-1 loss to D.C. United at Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium.

“It was our first game where we came out and said we didn’t deserve it and weren’t good enough on the day,” captain Michael Parkhurst said. “It’s extremely disappointing, our first home game in a while, for that to be the case.”

Forward Kenwyne Jones, who scored Atlanta United’s only goal and gave his team a 1-0 lead, said he was still trying to come to terms with the result, but took some responsibility. After scoring a header in the ninth minute on an assist from Yamil Asad, Jones had two more chances to score before the game reached 20 minutes. He said he should have put away at least one.

Jones wasn’t the only guilty player. Hector Villalba missed two chances in the game’s first five minutes. Julian Gressel missed two more in the first half.

“If we scored we wouldn’t be having this type of conversation,” Jones said. “We will put it down to we didn’t score our chances and they got lucky.”

Atlanta United created a season-high 21 chances in open play against D.C. United . For the season, it is fifth in MLS in chances created from open play (70) and second in the league in goals scored (18).

That the team is creating chances is why Jones said he wasn’t worried.

“The time you have to worry is when you aren’t creating chances and can’t break a team down,” he said.

And neither Jones nor Parkhurst expressed any concern that failing to score is a trend that will affect the team throughout the season.

“We are definitely not in a crisis,” Jones said. “Only way it could be like this is we aren’t focused and keep letting this happen time and time and time again for it to become habit.”

After a day off Monday, the team resumed training for Sunday’s game against NYCFC (4-3-1) in Yankee Stadium. It is the first of two consecutive road games that ends with a trip to play Portland (5-2-2), arguably the best team in MLS.

Jones said there will be no hangover from Sunday’s loss.

“We aren’t going to sit on this and keep remembering this. It’s already gone,” he said. “We will tighten up and believe in what we do all the time.”

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