Atlanta United’s Vazquez says he can play better

Atlanta United striker Brandon Vazquez said he didn’t feel any pressure as Josef Martinez’s replacement, but he did sound a bit like him after Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to NYCFC at Yankee Stadium. The defeat ended Atlanta United’s hopes of finish in first in the MLS Eastern Conference.

“I feel like I wasn’t satisfied with how I played,” Vazquez said. “I feel like I could’ve done more. It was a fast game, there wasn’t a lot of spaces, we got into their box a lot but there was some. Shots that I could’ve gotten on target that could’ve been vital for the game.”

Vazquez’s desire to do more is something often said by Martinez, who missed the game because of a knee and ankle injury sustained in last week’s win against San Jose. Martinez leads Atlanta United with 26 goals. Before Wednesday, Vazquez had two goals in nine league appearances, and four more goals in the U.S. Open Cup.

“I know what job I have to do, and I did it to the best of my abilities and I know my abilities,” Vazquez said of replacing Martinez. “And I know that I am good and that I could do the job, so no, not really.”

Vazquez finished with three shots, one on goal. He caused a penalty that was converted by Pity Martinez for Atlanta United’s only goal. Vazquez showed a good understanding with Martinez, who created at least three scoring chances with passes to Vazquez against NYCFC.

Should Vazquez start against Montreal on Sunday, he said he wants to improve on putting his shots on goal. He missed two chances to do so against NYCFC.

“I think he did well,” Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer said. “Sometimes, he can do better. He’s young. He worked. He created a penalty. He can be proud of himself.”

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