April 20, 2019 Atlanta - Atlanta United forward Hector Villalba (15) works the ball during MLS soccer match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Wednesday, April 20, 2019. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Dallas 2, Atlanta United 1: What was said

What was said after Atlanta United’s 2-1 loss to Dallas on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (transcript provided by Atlanta United):

Atlanta United Head Coach Frank de Boer

  “I said to the team before the game that they were ready for Dallas, because we trained the whole week for them. I reminded them that we want to make progress, want to take steps forward. We did that already against New England. Of course, you think always that if you make progress you will get three points, but today, it was not like that. I believe we really made progress with how we played today. I told them after the game that I can’t expect more from you, of course, not to concede goals, but they created chances and dominated the game. They played well, but we didn’t score the goals. I told them, if you play like this, I think from the 30 games remaining, you will win 28. One you will lose like this today, and one you are going to draw. I think we made two steps forward today, not with the result of course, very disappointed with that, but I was proud with the intensity with how we played. Everything that we told them and expected from Dallas, we confronted them with a good defense or attack. So, they had two chances, or two and a half chances and scored two goals. I don’t know how many we had. Sometimes, soccer is unfair, and maybe, it was like that today for us, but that’s why the game is so beautiful. Not always the best team wins, but again, if we play like this with the intensity and quality we showed on the field, the points will come for sure.”

-

“Eric (Remedi) is a very important player for us. I think with (Ezequiel) Barco at the No. 10 position today, and afterwards Gonzalo Martinez coming in and swapping positions, they did great. When they play, you need two players that are especially defensive minded, and I think Jeff (Larentowicz) and Darlington (Nagbe) did a great job tonight. We have very good midfielders, and that’s nice to have as a coach to make difficult lineup choices. Now, I think both of them did great. Eric, when he comes back, can be great as well. I always look to the opponent, to see which midfielders are more suited against the opponents. It’s good to have this type of quality midfield.”

-

“It’s the quality of Dallas for sure. You see how they finish the goals, especially the second one. It was a really quality goal. If you always analyze the goals, you can always see hey we could have avoided some of those passes or attacking runs. Don’t step in or don’t gamble you know. If you gamble, gamble defensively. If you attack offensively and you miss, it is a big risk. It’s very important that we don’t allow these kind of goals. Sometimes, you have to give the credit to the opponent though. When I was a player or a coach, when you play 95 minutes, the opponents are going to get one or two chances. You saw that today. Sometimes, you are unlucky in that they really punish you, which is what Dallas did today.”

  -

“I think it was the best performance we saw right now. I think this what we want, going out there and creating chances. Like I‘ve said again and again, I cannot make them (the goals), they have to make them. We’ve all made goals, that’s for sure, and if we play like this we are going to win a lot of games.”

-

“It happened from the first second on. It was unbelievable. I think I said to the referee afterward that I think he did good, but he has to be much earlier coming to action against this kind of type of time wasting, especially to the goalkeeper. You already saw it again, this goalkeeper, he was taking his time. Every time it was almost one minute, so if he did it after 30 minutes, then he knows it’s going to be dangerous now, but now he gives it in the 71st minute or something like that. I think he has to give it much earlier as a signal to everybody not only for this game, but also for other games. We are here for a good result, but also when it’s a full stadium because we want the people to enjoy the game and this is not helping them enjoy the game, and it’s not helping the product of soccer, so we have to punish this kind of behavior.”

-

“My first line in the post meeting was, “What are the intentions of Dallas?” So, we have to read that, are they going to press really high? Then, we have to know what is our requirement. We know that if they are just sitting back, then what the other plan is. If they are going to play with three in the back or five, however you want to call it, what do we have to do right at that moment. What do Julian Gressel and Tito Villalba have to do in that moment. I think everything we did well and sometimes it’s not fair, but in the end it makes the game beautiful.”

 -

“I think it was by far his (Ezequiel Barco) best game. Of course last week, he scored two goals, but what I thought right now was that he had confidence on the ball and didn’t lose balls in dangerous areas, and of course maybe those two goals helped him in that, but still, I think he was a threat for every defender and he gave energy into the team, so I was really pleased with his performance. Hopefully, he can continue that way. He is so light footed – he is very difficult to defend. Hopefully, we and the fans can enjoy him a lot more like he played today.”

Atlanta United defender Michael Parkhurst

“We scored a goal (and) created chances, but we are disappointed. We talked about wanting to win wanting to put on a good performance in front of our fans and not taking for granted their support and their attendance they come here to see us play well and to see us win so we want to win especially when we are in front of them.”

-

“You can’t get them back. They are lost. You have to learn from it and you have to play better. Opportunities can pass you by quickly and that was one that just passed us by. We have another home game next week, and that’s an important one. All home games are important games especially in this league where it’s difficult to win on the road. We want to take advantage, and we want to put that fear back in teams that come to Mercedes-Benz (Stadium) to play us and right now, it’s not there.”

-“I haven’t seen it, but from what I remember, it was just a long ball over the top to (Michael) Barrios, and I’m not even sure who went to him. We got caught up field and we are trying to push it’s the 84th minute, and w

e were trying to get the equalizer and we were playing a little man on man and taking chance you wouldn’t normally take if you’re winning or if the game is tied. They catch us on the break and put a fantastic cross in and a good finish. Credit to them for that goal because they could not have done it better. Probably the biggest breakdown was we didn’t press the ball quick enough and gave him time to play that ball especially when we are vulnerable in back because we were pushing forward.”

 -

“It is the toughest thing to do in soccer, and it’s more difficult when the goalie is playing well. We don’t have the confidence right now. Goals tend to come in bunches sometimes, and right now, we scored a couple goals in New England and could have had more. Tonight, we get one at the very end with the penalty, but during the run of play, we had some chances but just didn’t get it. A little unlucky not enough quality in front of net. We are happy (that) we created the chances, and we know they will start to fall for us.”

-

“We have to put it behind us we have to learn from it. These opportunities are here and gone and the next opportunity is Saturday, and we don’t want to waste that one, too. We want to win in front of our home fans. We want to make sure these fans are coming to our games, and we give them something to cheer for, and they keep coming back. We don’t take them for granted. Let’s put in a good performance on Saturday, score goals and hopefully, pick up three points.”

 -

“Their support has been great, and we need to give them more goals and more wins to cheer for.”

Atlanta United FC midfielder Jeff Larentowicz 

“I don’t know if it’s necessarily unlucky. I think that’s just kind of the game sometimes. They came out with a gameplan, and scoring early I think was ideal for them. They were pretty comfortable to sit behind the ball, and then when we pushed forward they got a second. I can definitely say that we were the most dangerous we’ve been all year, I can say that we played well as a team tonight, too, but just like times in the past we can’t be as naïve with some of the teams we’re playing against. They came in with a game plan and executed, and I think to give away that goal in the second half – the word is not unlucky, it’s probably something else.”

-

“If you’re pushing forward and you’re putting attacking players on the field you have to be aware of what’s around you. I’m talking more about myself than anybody, and making sure that the space behind us is covered. (Michael) Barrios is a handful. He’s very quick, he’s smart with his movement. He pulls out to the outside to create space for himself to drag a defender with him. He plays a great ball.”

-

“I think losses where you don’t play well are the hardest. A loss like this is tough but when you have a lot of positives you end up being okay. I think their goalkeeper had an outstanding game. When you’re creating the chances I think eventually it’ll come around where you’re putting them away.”

-

“Yeah, a bit. I think we started the season playing one way. I think we kind of morphed and rotated and moved around, some personnel shifts, so yeah, possibly, but I think last week to go on the road and win and then this week create as many chances as we did. I feel like we’re sniffing around the right kind of thing right now.”

-

“There are so many positives, and to be honest, the exact thing that happened today, we worked on this week. I mean, we did several days of transitioning behind the ball, a team like Dallas was going to try and break and try and break with speed, we were prepared. Like I said, I think a step here, a step there, a very good ball, a very good run, a very good goal, sometimes, you get beaten. We were prepared, going forward, I think you take a lot of the positives, eventually the goalkeeper’s not going to have enough to stay in the game.”

Atlanta United FC midfielder Julian Gressel

"We just got to score goalsYou can’t win games if you don’t score goals. They had three chances to score two goals. Obviously, the early goal helped them, and we couldn’t find a way past a great goalkeeper who made some incredible saves today. You have to give credit to them, and they obviously fought hard. We had our chances and just couldn’t capitalize."

-

"There are always multiple factors. Like I said earlier, I think their keeper made some incredible saves. Maybe we just lacked a bit of that final quality and that ultimate willingness to really want to score a goal. Unfortunately, we didn’t have that today.”

-

"It’s never fun and never good. It’s disappointing for sure. It gives you a better feeling though when you actually had a chance; you’re with a better team. We’ll get better and work on some details over the week and hopefully, next week we can play like this again and end up scoring goals."

Atlanta United midfielder Ezequiel Barco

“The truth is we’re leaving with a bitter taste in our mouth because it’s always important to win at home, for us to keep gaining confidence and for the fans who are a little disappointed when we don’t win.”

-

“On the results, I think the whole team is hurt because it’s always important to win. On a personal level, I feel good, my teammates give me a lot of confidence, and as I said, we’re sad with the result.”

-

“We had already trained on it once. I don’t think we have the turf to blame. We have to take responsibility for this game, in which we did things pretty well, but we didn’t get the result so we have to keep working.”

-

“I think we have to keep training and preparing for Colorado. The team needs to win.”

Atlanta United defender Leandro González Pirez

“It’s a very frustrating game for us. I think we did an excellent job. After they scored a goal in the first six minutes, the game was all ours. We were attacking from all sides. We arrived on goal 200 times. Their goalkeeper saved I don’t know how many shots. It’s one of those games where the ball doesn’t want to go in and we can’t find the why, but in general lines, I think we did an excellent job.”

-

“On the second goal, if you look you notice that I played in a cross from their right corner. It’s a ball that I recover in that corner and then, I have to run 150 meters back. It’s not that I made a mistake or that I fell asleep, but I was exhausted and there needed to be someone to cover me, and it didn’t happen. I tried to get back but couldn’t, and it ended in a goal. Nothing more.”

-

“It seems to me like today we had everything. If you pay attention to the game we had pressure, intensity, chances on goal, they weren’t getting on our goal. I think they had two and a half chances and they scored two goals. I think we’re missing a little bit of luck that we haven’t had this year in games. Everything is costing us double, but I like the team’s attitude, the fans who are still supporting us, and next week, we have a game against Colorado that we’ll try to play in the same way. These are games that if you play 10 times, you win 10 times. They are things where you don’t have an explanation because if I ask you for one, you can’t give it to me.”

FC Dallas Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez

“It’s a privilege to work with our players and staff and to have a game like we did, in terms of a result. I thought the first 15-20 minutes we were very positive in our press and we were aggressive. We got numbers upfield and we got an early goal, which is always a good way to start. Obviously, they started to react and respond and commit numbers, and then we had to absorb more, especially in the second half. But the counter was on, and that tended to be the tactic as the game winded down, and we were fortunate to get that second goal in transition. Then at the end, there was more pressure from them that we had to absorb. The penalty got them back into the game, but I know there was no time left. Just have to be really proud of the boys to come here to a beautiful environment for the league, for the world and for soccer and to get a result. I’m proud to be amongst these guys. So, no time to reflect other than tomorrow and Monday and then as the week starts, we are getting ready for San Jose, an in-conference rival. We have to do better in some of these stats in terms of possession and shots. Shots we actually were pretty efficient, of eight, we put six on target, but we want to get more of them and more passes together, so we are going to develop that as the week goes on for the next game.”

 -

“I look at it more of as a three-back with the two and three as outside mids. If you saw, they were breaking their lines to the oppositions outside backs. So, we were encouraging Ryan (Hollingshead) and Reggie (Cannon) to put pressure on the opponent and then we felt we were defensively sound with three occupying Josef Martinez’s space. We looked at it as more of a three-back, 3-4-1-2, but its fluid. It would become a five-back, especially when we were low. It was a thing we worked on this week. It looked good and had good moments and we went with it.”

-

“Closing a game is difficult in this league, in any venue let alone this one. We knew they were going to commit numbers there at the end. We talked about it during the week, if we have the opportunity to have an advantage and how we can close a game better that we need to continue to get pressure on the ball, continue to counter and open spaces. Be clearer on the marks and let’s improve our clears from service and can we fight and win second balls with our forwards and in our midfield? I saw improvement today.”

-

“We worked on it during the week. We talked about it with the players, amongst the staff, there was some positive feedback. It wasn’t perfect, but we felt confident enough that it was the right way to start this game and we ended up ending it this way. We said that if we need to go into a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3, we could with the same personnel on the field. But we stuck with the formation for the rest of the game. Then Bressan picked up an injury. We could have maybe changed it, but we decided to go with it, slot Ryan inside as one of the center backs and get John Nelson on the field. I thought John helped us close that game and he did well.”

-

“Mikey (Barrios) is a very dynamic player with speed and has great movements in behind. If Brek (Shea) was going to commit forward and they lost possession, it was a space that we felt we could attack. It’s one option, and it ended up helping us on the second goal. The first goal was more through the interior channel with the center backs open. But it was an idea if we could try to expose space in transition, we could recover in the midfield.”

FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez

“It was just the environment. I love playing in these types of environments. Not only me, but the team did a great job. We did what we trained throughout the whole week, and I think it gave us the result.”

-

“The whole team did a great job, but I think we still need to work on some things, but luckily, we got the result today.

-

“I think we need to maintain more possession. That is something that we have to work on. I think we are dropping back too soon when we can still maintain possession. We are still working on some tactics, and I think throughout the year we are going to get better at those.”

-

“That was towards the end already. I was like, ‘take your PK and let’s get out of here with a 2-1 win.’”

FC Dallas defender Reto Ziegler

“It was a great first 20 minutes. We put them under pressure in their stadium, and I don’t think many teams did that in the last year so we are proud of that, but of course, 20 minutes is not enough. It cost us a lot of energy to press. We saw that when we were not pressing, they were building from behind with confidence, and then, of course, we suffered for a bit. But, like I said, we want to play our football – nice football – but sometimes, in these kind-of games, you need to fight and defend. I think we did a good job. We can also thank Jesse Gonzalez, our goalkeeper, he made some great saves. ”

-

“It’s not easy when they always give six minutes against us. I don’t know if this is right. They had the penalty. I (thought) it was a penalty, but they could score also before. I think they hit the bar a few times. We knew (they’re) a good team, but at the end, we maybe need to keep the ball a bit more at the end of the game to avoid being under pressure.”

-

“Yeah, it is, especially against the champion. It’s important for our confidence since we have a lot of young players on the team. They see that we can win against teams like Atlanta, it gives them confidence because the season is long and so, at the end, I think we deserved it.”

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X