Inter Miami 2, Atlanta United 1: What was said

Sept. 19, 2020 - Atlanta, Ga: Atlanta United defender George Bello, left, and goalkeeper Brad Guzan react after their 2-1 loss to Miami at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday, September 19, 2020 in Atlanta. JASON GETZ FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

What was said following Atlanta United’s 2-1 loss to Inter Miami in MLS action on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:

Interim Head Coach Stephen Glass

On the team giving up an early goal tonight

“I think the first goal we lost on a counter attack. That was something we specifically talked about heading into the match. If there are opportunities to tackle in their half, prevent the ball going forward which there was in this case. That prevents the counterattack from happening, so that’s something that should be prevented. Not being prevented is why that goal happened. In regards to not getting shots off late in game, we had a number of crosses come into the box. If Cubo’s (Torres) chance goes in then we are sitting at two each. They packed the center of the pitch, so it was a case of getting the ball wide and getting it in. Maybe we needed slightly better deliveries, or there were a couple of crosses where there was a lack of attacking runners in the box. Both were contributing factors to not scoring a goal late on.”

On not playing with any DP’s tonight

“You have to try and control the things that you can. Obviously we were a threat with the pace that we had. We didn’t have any of the DP’s obviously, I think it’s the first time in club history we’ve done that in a game. It puts you in a battle against a team that has top players. In terms of the work rate, I can’t fault the guys. There are certain situations that could have been prevented with a little bit more knowhow. That’s something you do get from the top guys. Balancing the playing field is about work rate and doing the things you can control well. Doing it every single time. It’s difficult when you don’t play with DP’s.”

On Jon Gallagher and Jake Mulraney’s performance tonight

“Yeah, I think we were more of a threat. I don’t think it was just a case of getting in behind. It was controlled passes that were going in there that were creating positive opportunities. Obviously where we fell down is when they backed off a bit to prevent the balls in behind, we could have played better through the middle. That understanding from a group of players could have been better. It’s difficult when it’s a group of players who haven’t played together. It’s not an excuse, but it’s something that we could be recognizing in the game. It was controlled at times and giving Jake and Jon opportunities.”

On any update in regards to new player acquisitions

“First part of that, there is no indication on a timeline at the moment for any new player coming in. If we get players and add them to the roster, it will be a big help and I’m sure that’s something the club is working on right now. Nothing has been announced as far as I’m aware of.”

On his message to the team after the match

“We are going to speak to them tomorrow morning. We have a lot of video that we’ve already looked at as a staff. Tonight’s a case of getting the players out of here and then we will see them in the morning. We can go over the video and show them situations that could be improved upon. Obviously, you want to move on as quick as you can. But it’s important you recognize the mistakes that were made, the opportunities that were missed, so that we are ready for Wednesday’s match against Dallas.”

On Barco’s injury and any updates

“It’s just unfortunate it’s happened to Ezequiel. It was Friday that he’s hurt his leg, so he couldn’t play tonight. That’s as much as I can share to be honest. We are very hopeful he will be ready for Wednesday.”

On where the team is mentally and how confident he is in getting them ready for next match

“Dallas coming in off the back of three wins, like we mentioned earlier, it’s not easy on any given night in this league. This is not a group of players that are going to roll over and accept that things aren’t happening right now. I think again you saw that second half. They were pushing trying to get the equalizer. We had a really good chance, that we didn’t take. If we do, I think we push on and get the winner. It’s the little fine margins of getting wins and hopefully that starts Wednesday. There is a belief in the group that it can happen, but it’s important that we recognize some of the mistakes and missed opportunities so we can rectify them for Wednesday and next Sunday.”

Atlanta United midfielder Jon Gallagher

On scoring his first goal for Atlanta United

“It’s a mixed bag of emotions. Obviously, I am delighted to have scored my first goal. It has been a long time at the club kind of working my way up from the USL team and to have a moment like tonight was really special for me and my family. But as I said, the mixed bag of emotions obviously because the team is in a bit of a tough spell. When you’re out there, after the goal it was more focus on getting a win. Obviously, that didn’t happen.”

On the opening 15 minutes of the match

“Honestly, I don’t even know. The first 15 minutes were crazy. I said to one of the other guys that I know on Miami, ‘this game could turn into 5-4 the way it is going.’ We were pressing and they just kind of split us open way too easy and obviously that is something we are going to have to address. But we come back into the game, 1-1, and then they get another goal and go ahead, a third one gets called offside. So, it was all a bit frantic and points like that you’re looking for leaders to step up and put a stamp on the game and say, ‘look, we have to settle things down.’ I thought we did that towards the end of the second half.”

On the instructions he was given pre-game

“I was listening to Jeff answer some of the questions about not having Barco. I was going into this game not thinking I was going to start and then obviously he picks up a little injury and I was thrown into the lineup. As a player, you have to mentally changes things, how you prepare for the game, being a sub compared to a starter. I know Glassy believes in me and I want to do really well for him just because of the connection we have. He just told me to be myself. He knows I’m an attacking player, he knows I can score goals. He said, ‘just put yourself in opportunities where you are going to help the team.’ He thought I did well last time we played Miami. So, he didn’t really need to say much apart from just do what you do best and get at people.”

On what the team can build on

“It is a really tough spot that the team is in at the moment. I think that the club is not used to being in a spot like this. Nobody is going to help us get out of it, apart from ourselves. I think collectively we have to come together. As I said, nobody is going to get us out of this rut. It is on the player and I know we are capable of doing it. Hopefully we can come together and string a couple results in the rest of the season.”

Atlanta United midfielder Jeff Larentowicz

On how the team looked tonight

“I think in the moments that mattered we weren’t good enough and unfortunately those moments came early in the game. Again, their counterattack, their speed on the break was something we spoke about all week and it still bit us on the first goal. The second goal they were just sharper than us and there is really no excuse on that one.”

On the thought process in his positioning as the team was looking for an equalizing goal

“I think it was just something that happened on the field trying to create a different look. Obviously, I can sit in between the center backs and shift the ball side to side. I think if you do it, it becomes repetitive and the opposing team can jump on it. I think Matuidi was popping out a bunch. I figured if I switched my positioning and allowed Matheus (Rossetto) to get on the ball, and also myself to try to get in the box a couple times when Brooks (Lennon) was crossing I figured I might as well might a run for it at this point. I thought that Miles (Ronsinon), Anton (Walkes) and Franco (Escobar) were handling the counterattack and at that point and I didn’t need to sit as much and was really just trying to take a chance.”

On the team’s mood

“Everyone is obviously disappointed. It’s something that we’re not used to. But we as a team have to rebound. You have to be humble when you’re winning and stand up when you’re losing and right now we’re in a tough stretch. We’ve lost a couple in a row. But the season is not going away. We have another game in a couple of days. As much as you want to not look at your mistakes and not think about the next game because it’s tough, you can’t do it. You’ve got to fight your way out of it; play your way out of it. You can’t back down at this point.”

On if playing without a Designated Player changes the team’s mood entering a match

“I don’t think anyone looks around and says ‘Hey, do we have all of our DPs on the field? Okay, let’s go.’ That’s just not how it works. We kind of all just believe in ourselves. We believe in any player on our roster whether they are a college draftee on a league minimum to a DP. I thought that our two wingers were extremely dangerous tonight: Jon (Gallagher) and Jake (Mulraney). Jon gets the goal and played really well and was extremely dangerous. The danger that those players created was good. I don’t think that anyone stops and says ‘oh shucks we don’t have a DP tonight.’ Everyone stands up and everyone’s got to play. And for the most part, attacking wise, which is where our DPs are, I thought we were alright. We created chances, had a really good opportunity to bring the game level.”

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