On the decision to start Laurence Wyke: “I think defensively, we felt we would get a little bit more out of Laurence. Going up against a player like Nani, I think Laurence’s defensively qualities were in our opinion better than Brooks' (Lennon). That’s was pretty much a straight choice. Brooks has done well for us going forward, but we chose Laurence. A coaches' selection is really it.”
On the attack and seeing any improvement: “I think we did a lot of training the other day. It’s something a lot of people don’t see. We did a lot of attacking work during the week. Adam Jahn was really good in the work we did. Cubo Torres had an opportunity last week. It was our choice to go with Adam tonight. Again, it’s a coaches' pick. Whatever team you pick and the team doesn’t win, you will be open to criticism. But, we pick the best team available based on all the information we have available. It’s pretty straight forward to me. There is no angle why guys aren’t playing. It’s based on training and performances they have given.”
On the play of Marcelino Moreno tonight: "We have actually done limited training, and haven’t had opportunities to train too much. It’s obvious to see he’s a top player. He handled the physical aspect pretty well tonight. Managed to last the 90 minutes and push at the end. I’m sure he would like to score a goal or make a goal and create in the final third, but he is fitting in great. I think he will be a big player with the club. For next year, I think he will be a great player for the club.
Atlanta United defender Laurence Wyke
On how tough of a challenge it was to start tonight given the circumstances: “It was difficult. The heat, it was 82 degrees Fahrenheit. It was hot starting in warmups. It was difficult to play 90 minutes, I’m not going to lie. I was definitely tired and starting to cramp toward the end. But disappointed as a team to not get the win.”
If he considers it a difficult proposition to make the postseason this year: “Yeah I mean our backs are against the wall – everyone knows that. We’re not winning games. We’re playing well in spells, and then we’re not. Conceding goals tonight, that’s partly on me. But never say never. If we get these six points in the next few games, and Montreal, Chicago and some of those teams start losing games, then there’s always an opportunity. So we just have to focus on ourselves, put that aside and just go for the three points each game. If we come short, we come short. But at least we give it 100 percent, you know?”
On what was working tonight and when it broke down: "I think from the offset we won second balls and managed to control their big forwards. Maybe we lost the first one, but we were always picking up the second one – all getting around to the ball. I thought we played through the midfield very well in the first period, but we just had trouble penetrating them, their back line, that was our biggest problem from what I saw. Jurgen [Damm] was causing a lot of problems out wide, switching the ball from side to side very well. And then just with the humidity and the heat, we’re not used to this – I’m certainly not used to this – but still no excuses, we have guys to come on and sub. But the game started to slow down, we started moving the ball a little bit slower and then we just really struggled to get in behind the back line.
On the impact of Orlando’s second goal: "It was tough. When a free kick is lined up like that – I don’t know how far it was, 30-35 yards maybe – you think that you’re probably going to get a save or a miss. But he punished us and we probably shouldn’t have gone in like that. I mean it was a great free kick and it really wounded us going in 2-nil because we started to get a little bit of momentum after the 1-nil. Could we come out and grab the ball? But when it went to 2-nil, it was a little bit more difficult.
On playing against Dike: “Personally, he’s a strong player. Deceptively fast. I think it was more so that he’s had so many games under his belt – he has this match fitness, playing 55-minutes plus. For me, my legs were getting heavy towards the end. But he’s a great player. I played against him against Virginia in the NCAA Second Round a couple of years ago. So I know the kid. But I felt we dealt with him well apart from the third goal which was a misplaced pass from me. We controlled him OK, but he was causing us some issues in the second half.”
Atlanta United forward Cubo Torres
On the mentality of the group: “The mentality of the team is to finish taking the maximum amount of points remaining. I don’t know if mathematically the team can be in the playoffs but the mentality of myself and my teammates is to finish the remaining games taking the most points possible, winning, and giving everything on the field. Later we’ll see if the numbers put us in the playoffs but now the reality is to finish by taking the six points that are left.”
Given the team’s place in the standings, if there are worries in the locker room about players having uncertain futures and having to show something in the next two games that the team needs to win: “I think these two games, both individually and as a group we have to give everything. Things haven’t gone our way. In the end, this institution, the directors, Carlos Bocanegra, the fans, the institution in general is a big institution. It’s one that arrived very strongly to MLS and is among the strongest five teams in MLS. We have to finish well, more than for our futures but for the institution because it’s a big club with a strong infrastructure and we have to respect it and the crest. We have to focus on finishing well for our own futures and for the respect of the fans, the directors and the club that deserves the best.”
On what it meant to score his first goal for the club: “It’s something very nice. I’ve been working really hard so that I could score my first goal with Atlanta United. As a player, I’m not one to say it a lot but I’ve put in extra hours on the field, at home, in the gym. All the work I’ve put in for this moment to come because I’ve wanted it come since the first game. In the end, it came tonight. It’s not what we wanted. But I’m leaving with that feeling that I was able to score my first goal with this shirt for the club and I feel very happy because my family and I know how hard we’ve worked for this to arrive. I feel happy, grateful to God, and my teammates, because they’ve also worked hard and are playing crosses to me. I’m grateful, not happy with the result, but thanks to God the goal came.”xx
Atlanta United coming games
Sunday vs. Cincinnati (4-12-4), 7 p.m., FSSE
Nov. 8 at Columbus (10-4-5), 3:30 p.m., FSSE
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