Martino’s decision didn’t affect Atlanta United, players say

Atlanta United manager Gerardo Martino said his team seems to have lost its footballing way over the past few weeks, culminating in Sunday’s 4-1 loss at Toronto that cost it the Supporters’ Shield, but doesn’t think his future is the cause.

After weeks of reports that Martino was going to take over Mexico’s national team, the potential first step toward that was taken on Tuesday when it was announced by the club that Martino had declined to exercise the option on his contract and would leave at season’s end. Martino did say in the final question asked of him on Sunday that his future has been decided. He didn’t say what the decision was.

“I can’t assure you that, but I don’t think the team is thinking about next season yet,” he said. “The players have put in a great amount of effort and hard work this year to accomplish the things that we want to do and I don’t think we can be thinking about next season at this point.”

Captain Michael Parkhurst said “Not at all,” when asked if Martino’s decision had affected the team.

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan gave a similar answer: “That wasn’t why we played the way we did. We were shocking. Everyone on the pitch.”

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