Atlanta United 1, Orlando 1: What was said

Atlanta United forward Adam Jahn, second from right, celebrates after scoring a goal against Orlando City with teammates, from left to right, Jeff Larentowicz, Emerson Hyndman and Brooks Lennon (11) during the second half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Atlanta United forward Adam Jahn, second from right, celebrates after scoring a goal against Orlando City with teammates, from left to right, Jeff Larentowicz, Emerson Hyndman and Brooks Lennon (11) during the second half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Credit: John Raoux

Credit: John Raoux

What was said by Atlanta United manager Stephen Glass and player Adam Jahn after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Orlando at Exploria Stadium:

Atlanta United interim head coach Stephen Glass

On how much of a relief this point is and the importance of it for rest of season:

“I think in terms of the importance, it’s important that the lads out what they deserved out of the game. You saw a real resolve in there and a determination not to get beat. The group of players that were on the pitch at the end, they injected some energy and pace and in general in the second half, I think we deserved what we got. In terms of importance, we know how important it is to come here and not get beat as a first. We want to come here and win. So, we are not over the moon. We know there is more work to be done. Especially in the top half of the pitch, we could have slightly been better, looked after the ball better. I think you saw that late in the match, we were trusting it and really pushing it. We created some great opportunities.”

On his substitutions tonight and why they were so effective:

“So, I think Miles has been carrying bits and pieces. We are not taking people off just to purely protect them, but they might be struggling in the game. Obviously, with the three moments to make a change you have to manage that well. There was an opportunity to bring some pace on the pitch. We brought on Jürgen Damm on that side, moved Brooks Lennon to right back. Every substitution we made tonight added a little pace to the team. Cubo (Torres) was a little tired, so it was a straight swap to bring Jahn. We wanted to get (Matheus) Rossetto on the pitch and in the middle, which we did after taking Eric (Remedi) off. He helped us control the game a little bit better later on. (George) Bello was cramping a little bit, he had a high work rate tonight. Jake’s (Mulraney) pace came on and his delivery is good as well, and you saw he had a good effect at the end.”

On his message to the team after tonight’s result:

“I think the resilience that they showed as a group. The second half we played at a pace that we weren’t in the first half, because the game was on the line. It’s almost less a message, but more of a question to the group. Can we play with that intensity right from the start, before the other team scores a goal. I think you will a better Atlanta United when that happens. That’s a pretty straight forward message for the group.”

On playing faster in the attack:

“I think it’s a little bit of both. We are playing against good teams that aren’t going to allow us to do exactly what we want to do. I think when we started switching the ball quicker in second half, you saw what we want the group to look like. We looked a heck of a lot more dangerous in the second half than in the first. The pace and energy we played with. Like I said before, if we play like the game is on the line from the first minute, you will see a different Atlanta United. I’m hoping that feeling the reward they got tonight is something we can carry over to the next game against Miami.”

On if playing more games will help the group improve:

“Yes, definitely. I’ve said it previously that the coaching staff now hasn’t had as much time with the group and players as other teams in this league. Even, if we had as far back as the Orlando tournament, you would see a quicker understanding of how we want the group to play. Again tonight, second half and second half aginst Orlando in first game we were better. We’ve been able to get clear messages into players on how to fix things, and then the play has looked a lot better. If that start’s becoming more of an understanding from the players, and what we coaches what, then the results will come. It’s not an excuse. It will come, but hopefully it will come quicker and for longer.”

On the team’s pace up front and opening up spaces:

“I think in the first half the issues were choice of pass and quality of pass, rather than having people running in behind. I think maybe an extra pass was needed, and it would be easier for someone to run in behind. It has to be a little more controlled in that quality. Second half we had more control of the ball which gave guys the belief to make those runs in behind and not have to track back 70 yards. I think the quality and controlled possession in the second half was better. There was an energy and the game was on the line, and like I said before that feeling of the game being on the line is what we want to have at the start.”

On his rotation at the striker position, if it’s tactical or an open competition:

“It’s a little bit of all of it. It was our choice tonight to start with Cubo. I think it went well, he had a good opportunity to score a goal, which he was disappointed not to put away because he is a top striker. But he is someone that gets in those positions. Adam (Jahn) has come on and made an impact on the game. That was fantastic for him. I’m very pleased for him. The work rate he’s been putting in for the team goes unnoticed and unrewarded at times. So, for him to get in there and score, he had another opportunity earlier to score as well. The fact that we have a choice with them is good. It’s not out of the question that we pair them up as well at some point. So, it gives us opportunities to play more players and they are getting fitter and fresher as we go.

Atlanta United forward Adam Jahn

On scoring a goal and what it can mean for his role going forward

“I think I’m most happy about helping the team win a point. It’s a hard place to play – a rivalry game. All of the subs that came on helped make a huge impact. We started whipping in more balls and I was lucky to get my head on one of them.”

On silencing the fans

“It was great to play in front of fans. It definitely adds an atmosphere. And I felt like I owed the Atlanta faithful one. So, I was happy to do it against a big rival.”

On what was going through Jahn’s head when he saw Mulraney’s cross

“Just get across any defender that might have a better position than me. I forgot who it was, somebody made a run more near post than I was, and it drew some of their defenders in. I was able to get a step on my guy and Jake just played a good ball in. And then all I had to do was get my head on it – it was a great ball.

On the team struggling to score goals and what this result could mean for the rest of the season?

“I think tonight should give us a lot of confidence going forward. To put in dangerous balls and being the aggressor in the game. As soon as we started doing that – whipping balls in the box – we were able to get them on their heels and press up on them and win the ball back higher up in the field. So I think just being courageous and attacking more, it helps a lot more on defense as well. And I think tonight gave us a lot of confidence going forward to start doing that more.”

On what this goal gives him personally

“It definitely gives me a lot of confidence. I’m really happy to score my first official goal for the club. And I think Cubo has been doing great, as well, getting chances. I think we keep pushing each other and you’ll see a lot more goals coming from us. We have great guys on the wing whipping in balls. I owe Brooks a dinner because he hit a great ball in a few minutes after I came on and I kind of headed it into my shoulder and didn’t get any power on it. He, especially, plays in a great ball. So, we have the pieces there. The key for us is to keep believing in ourselves. And eventually they’ll start falling and we’ll get on a roll here.

On why he thinks the team needs to fight to be more courageous

“If you’re in a little bit of a rut, it’s hard to kind of fight out of it. I think we lost the best player in the league. And I think it makes so many differences – you realize it at first and then it permeates. It’s so hard to lose Josef and then Pity just left as well. So there’s a lot of turmoil going on. I’m not using those as excuses, we have to find a way to fight out of that and just keep the belief like Glassy has been telling us – and to be courageous. Because that’s the only way we’re going to fight out of it. No one is going to give it to us, no one is going to do it for us. It’s on us. I hope tonight is a big step forward in that.”

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Atlanta United midfielder Jeff Larentowicz

Atlanta United midfielder Jeff Larentowicz

On how important the way the team battled back to get a point for the rest of the season

“Extremely important. I think it goes without saying we weren’t good enough in the first half. Not even close to it. But you can come in at halftime and you can say “oh we lost a goal in the 45th minute” and pack it in because things have been tough lately or you can re-group as a team. I thought we re-grouped as a team and it was truly a team effort with the substitutes that came on. They really gave us a lift at the end, obviously Jake (Mulraney) crosses the ball to Adam (Jahn). Both substitutes to bring a tie for us. Team effort and it was hugely important.”

On if the team was able to respond better to mistakes tonight

“It shouldn’t have been a surprise. I think that Orlando are a team with a lot of confidence and they came in in the first half last week and did the same thing to us at home and they brought a lot of energy so we should have been better from the start but we weren’t. But I do agree with Brad (Guzan). It’s kind of an old adage: It’s not the mistake, it’s how you react. It’s the next play. I had an old coach who said that nonstop on the field: next play, next play. The first 45 we weren’t good enough, not close to it. But the reaction, you can see right away from the second half, we’re building from Brad. The ball gets into Brooks (Lennon) and we create probably the best chance of the game from Cubo (Torres). We don’t score it but again we react and push until the end to get a draw.”

On the team’s general morale and if the team has confidence ending the game like tonight

“I think the team knows that we’re in a tough stretch right now. Three of these day trip games in seven or eight days, and on the back of three games in a week. So I think right now we feel like we came together as a team and got a point in a difficult place to play. Always a difficult place to play. Against a team that has been very strong this year. I think more than anything we’re looking to recover, get home and try and regroup for the next one against Miami.”

On what he’s learning from this group inside the locker room given everything that’s going on

“I think without getting too deep into it that 2020 has been a year with a lot of adversity. We’ve had a lot of stop-start. We’ve obviously had a coaching change. Now a player like Pity Martinez no longer in our team. We lost Josef (Martinez) at the beginning of the year. I feel like we’ve taken a lot of punches this year and it’s been tough. But I think we are learning about each other. I think we have shown that we are willing to fight for each other. I think we’ve had to re-group amidst all this adversity and we’ve done a pretty good job. I think we can absolutely get better and I think that there is still a level of belief that we need to get to but I think we can continue to build on it and tonight is a good step.”

Atlanta United coming games

Sept. 9 at Miami, 8 p.m. (Fox Sports South)

Sept. 12 at Nashville, 8:30 p.m. (Fox Sports South)

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