What was said following Atlanta United’s 2-0- loss at New York Red Bulls on Sunday:
Atlanta United Head Coach Gerardo Martino
Q: The team looked like it lacked intensity in the first half. I was curious if you agreed and if you had any particular reason why.
GERARDO MARTINO: Yeah, because today we played against the most intense team in the league and we knew that if we didn't match that they were going to control the game.
Q. Why weren't you all able to match it?
GERARDO MARTINO: Because they did it better. Usually when one team triumphs over another it's because they did things better, especially in the first half. The second half was a little bit different but definitely in the first half.
Q. Any concerns about this loss?
GERARDO MARTINO: Yeah, before this game we had a bigger advantage, now they have cut that advantage smaller, but it's still just depends on us. But they have closed the gap.
Q. There seemed to be something between you and Armas at the end of the game. I was curious if you could elaborate on that, please.
GERARDO MARTINO: I went to separate him from Miguel because I think they were arguing and I went to take Miguel out of it. I don't know what they were arguing about but I saw that they were starting to talk and I went to take Miguel out of it. I like coaches with a low profile.
Q. What did you try to do in this game and why didn't it work?
GERARDO MARTINO: Yeah, we wanted to gets the ball behind the first line of their midfielders and then be able to find the space behind their center backs because they like to play a high line. And we were able to do it on a very few occasions, Miguel in the first half and Brandon had a chance in the second half, but that was the plan, but it only happened a few times. We're still in talks about the club, there is still a date, but that would only matter if we hadn't been in continuous talks with the club.
Atlanta United Right Back Julian Gressel
On the first half…
Julian Gressel: “They were a lot more intense than us. We try and play out, they had a pretty good plan of obviously trying to stop it with their hold-up. We couldn’t really control the game in the way we wanted to. They were defending a lot more, I thought, and the whole first half was played in our half of the field which is not what we want. Credit to them. They were very intense, they were fired up, and they had the edge in those 50/50 duels, those second balls.”
On whether playing long balls would’ve provided more opportunities to break the Red Bulls’ high-press…
Julian Gressel: “We have a certain style that we want to play and that we want to show on the field. It didn’t really quite work today the way we wanted it to. I still thought that, maybe, if we moved the balls quicker and got into the right places we still could have played through their press. So, I don’t really know if we need to play long balls and just play for the second balls. That’s really not us, you know. I feel like their comes a certain time of the year, which is now, and then probably the playoffs where you kind of just play more result-oriented than style. That’s going to come from Tata and his staff and we’ll just try to learn from this experience today and move on.”
Atlanta United Goalkeeper Brad Guzan
Q: How did the high-pressure affect the team’s performance…
Brad Guzan: It was down to intensity, desire – we never got started. We never got into the game until the game was past us and we were chasing the game. High pressure or not, we knew what they were going to come with, we knew what to expect – we just never got into the game.
Q: Even though both sides are already qualified for the playoffs, did you stay hungry to get revenge over the Red Bulls…
Brad Guzan: I don’t think that’s our next game, our next game I believe is at home against New England. We’ve got to turn around and make sure we have a good week of training and get ready for New England. We’re not thinking about New York Red Bulls right now. The game is over, we turn our focus to New England.
Q: Any guesses why you guys didn’t come out with much intensity…
Brad Guzan: It was a poor start. We never got going and at that point we were chasing the game. It’s not one thing you can put your finger on, we all knew how big of a game it was, we all knew what to expect in the game, and we didn’t perform.
New York Red Bulls Head Coach Chris Armas
Considering how short-handed you were without Brad and Tyler, what did you think of the overall effort and obviously getting the win and putting now pressure on them?
CHRIS ARMAS: What did I think? The effort, it couldn't have been more from the opening whistle. That we feel really good about it. We've always talked around here for years about just being fearless and going after it and that we were most proud of from the opening whistle in a big game, this team has always shown up. It's easy to talk about it and ask for it, but then to see the guys, to a man, step up was impressive.
Q. Do you think this victory is proof of all the stuff that money can't buy? What can happen when you're playing against a team with so much talent?
CHRIS ARMAS: I think, simply I think it's a result and byproduct of a philosophy that we think makes a lot of sense. And we see the roster that Denis Hamlett has built and built with young guys and some experience in there. But a clear way, and playing style that when we're at our best, it can overwhelm teams and that makes you feel good. But I think that's more so what it is that we -- listen we spend money, right? So it's just, there's levels of that. But it's a result and clear result of total commitment, total in on what we do here, and I think we got to, we got tested today in a big way and we showed up in a big way.
Q. When you talk about that philosophy, that playing style without two of your biggest players, how easy is it to have a clear playing style and what you want to be that can you plug in other guys and be able to put that in there seamlessly so that no matter who is out there you're achieving the same result?
CHRIS ARMAS: Yeah, well, I think you can see that it's about the club, not about the coach, it's not about anything other than the philosophy. I mean, when we're doing a good job and the academy, David Longwell, Joh Wolyniec and Ibra, our staff and Denis, we're doing our job. We can take pieces out and plug pieces in and it looks the same. Today we were hoping maybe it can galvanize our team and you get energy from it and say hey, we can all step up a little more. Which they did. So I think that says a lot about our club and it's just a big demand all the time to say, it's easy to talk, but for the guys that show up and perform the way they did was most impressive.
Q. The team seems to really step up in every facet of the game without Ryan today. What did you see from them today? It seemed like Tim and Aaron played really sharp in the middle and then you had Amir pushing off and they were still able to get back into places. Talk about how you were able to hold them off today.
CHRIS ARMAS: It's a big demand. The physical output was always going to be a big demand against a team as good as they are, with attackers as good as they are. Both in transition and with challenging the back line, we were able to put pressure on their backs and up the field to minimize the amount of times we got caught the other way. But look, we talked about the back line, and over the years to try to find guys that are built for games like this, built for teams like that. And then with Tim and Aaron, you can see why they can be regulars on the national team. They can run, they fight, they have courage, they're good in the air, they can step in front, they can win foot races. And then with Amir, he shows a quality that he has on a day like today in one-on-one situations, that his urgency level keeps growing and understanding. And Kemar, we said it recently, as we locked him up for a few years, how much he prides himself into developing. Seeing the tackles he makes late in the games, sprinting back in the recovery run and then maybe more than the three points, first thing he says is, I got you, Chris. And then we got another shutout. So and then we see Luis Robles, the play he makes in the 88th or 89th, he comes up big. You can keep going about the sixes and everything else but the efforts just showed a lot today.
Q. Talk about Alex. It seems like he's improved a lot tactically, attacking the ball, how he sets up that second goal for Tim and he just seems to be a little more consistent in his attacking play. Has he tweaked his game at all? Have you spoken to him about it?
CHRIS ARMAS: No. I mean Alex makes plays. Look at the play he made in DC. It's over his shoulder like Zidane, he takes a touch, he takes another touch, it's incredible. And I think that he's a talented player, but he has a will to win that's strong. So he makes a play a few weeks ago, sliding on the end line, pulling across. He just has a will to win that is high. He's a philosophy player. He plays against the ball and runs and chases and tactically understands. He's good on set pieces, he has a lot of the intangibles. But to see him make that play, it's not that surprising to see him make it because we see it in training regularly. So nothing much I'm telling him, it's all him.
Q. You touched on the defense a little bit earlier, but what exactly was your thought process in the game plan going into this game playing against the likes of their team?
CHRIS ARMAS: Well, teams that are built in transition, they score a ton of goals, they can score an equal amount on crosses, they can get you one-on-one they have 11 penalties on the year, Gressel is an awesome player. You can't just address one of the weapons on their team, so you try to do it all at once and it takes a team effort. And most of it involves taking away time and space and spaces and the back line moving and pressing. It's just so many little things. And there's individual plays. I mean, we let one slip in the first half but Luis comes up big, we recover, but yeah, and then specifically, okay, how can we talk about how Martinez can hurt you. He's leads the league in offsides, he's good on crosses, and you need to address that, how we're playing that in the game with him and win the game there. And then there's Almiron and what a weapon, you can see that almost every time he gets the ball, he makes it look almost too easy. So, yeah, there's a lot of little things there, I'm not sure if that answers your question but there's some individual tendencies that we have to recognize and then game plan for and then there's the team aspect where we just have to, it involves a lot of sprinting and the alertness.
Q. Tyler does a ton of work when he's in for you and without having other guys to pick up that slack what did you think of the way he played today and how do you make up for that and going back to the Almiron issue, they have a lot of weapons, but he's tough to deal with, but you guys really dealt with him. Why do you think you guys were able to do that today?
CHRIS ARMAS: Yeah, without Tyler, you're always better with Tyler. That's our team, the national team, we're better with him because of his fearlessness, his ability to run and sprint and cover ground and lead is at a high level. Brad the same. What he does, one chance for goal. That's what he does. And he does all the other things. There's always going to be a challenge for us there. On the day with Sean and Marc specifically, yeah, those guys, I mean, it's such a -- mentally they have to be fried right now. There's so many things they're thinking about. Thinking when we have the ball, when we lose the ball, are we moving, running option, when we lose the ball am I in a good spot, can I play forward, can I talk, organize, am I spacing right. There's so many things they're thinking about. And you can see both sides of it. They're incredible. They were incredible. So disruptive. I mean Sean Davis, I mean another, a will to win today that he's maybe out matched sometimes, but that is will, that is focus, that is seeing it and wanting it more. It's a big tactical challenge on the day for those guys, but they certainly carried their weight and then some. And of course Almiron, yeah, it's, I mean, when he gets the ball we all have to come alive and try to put out fires before he gets the ball at some point.
New York Red Bulls Midfielder Danny Royer
Q: On if the Red Bulls wanted it more:
Danny Royer: Yeah, I think so. I think especially first half, but also second half. I think we just overwhelmed them and we were just the better team overall, but I think especially in the first half we were more aggressive, we just played the way we wanted to play, and we looked like us. I think that was the important piece for that game.
Q: On the first half:
Danny Royer: Yea, I mean I think that it was pretty good. It is hard to tell if that was the best first half of our season, you know we were still missing quality players, but the guys that stepped in did a great job and we just played the way we wanted to play and I think that was really important, especially against Atlanta, where we think our style of soccer doesn’t fit them as well as other teams maybe.
Q: On the result without Wright-Phillips and Adams:
Danny Royer: Yeah. Definitely says something about the depth of the squad, but also about the style of soccer that we play and I said the guys that stepped in did a great job, especially Brian White. I think he worked his butt off and was always dangerous in the attack, but he worked really hard defensively as well, so he did a great job, but I think every single player on the field did that.
Q: On the depth of the team and guys stepping in:
Danny Royer: It’s all about mentality and philosophy I think. Like, if everyone in the squad embraces the philosophy that we play, it is hard for any team that comes to Red Bull Arena and I think, yea that’s the main thing that overwhelms teams. The system is that we don’t want to let them play and they are a possession team, yea so make it uncomfortable for them and that’s what we did.
New York Red Bulls Defender Tim Parker
Q: On the match and what the team did well against Atlanta:
Tim Parker: I think when teams come into Red Bull Arena, they overlook how we play here. I think we overwhelm teams and from the first whistle it felt like they were a step behind us the whole game. We frustrated them, we put the game on our terms and that’s what we’ve got to do, especially at home.”
Q: On being short-handed:
Tim Parker: I think what Brian White did up top and Marc [Rzatkowski] in the midfield and Alex [Muyl] on the wing, every guy knew that they had to give exactly what we needed them to give today. It was a complete team effort. The whole 11 guys played lights-out today.”
Q: On preparing for Atlanta:
Tim Parker: It’s tough. The whole week of training we weren’t really too happy with each other. We weren’t happy with the way we were figuring things out and then, come game day, things got easy. I think that credits the guys, the scout team that obviously replicates Atlanta and that credits us for figuring things out the right way on game day.”
New York Red Bulls Goalkeeper Luis Robles
Q: On the result:
Luis Robles: The guys really stepped up. There’s a lot of pride in this organization to play in big games and today is a really big game. An opportunity for us to continue to show not only ourselves, but the league that we’re capable of doing big things. … look, at the end of the day, would we love to have those guys [Wright-Phillips and Adams]? Of course, they make us better. But we also know there’s opportunities for the other guys to step in and they really stepped up today.
Q: On possibly meeting Atlanta in the playoffs:
Luis Robles: I don’t know if it plays into it. We just know that they’re the league’s darling. Everyone talks about Atlanta, and deservedly so they’re a really good team with some amazing players and we’ve been able to have some success against them. But with that being said, we know that with today’s result, it’s going to make the rest of the season interesting. They still got a point on us, so we have to take care of business on our end and we’ll see what happens. We’re expecting with every way that it turns out to play them in the playoffs and we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves because like I said there’s still quite a bit till we get there. But at least for us, we can feel confident in what we’re able to do, and if we play the way the way that we want to play, there’s no reason for us to think that we can’t beat a really, really good team.
Q: On the backline shutting down ATL attack:
Luis Robles: Yeah, we didn’t give up much. I think really those two chances – there was a couple more where the guys just – you see the commitment and what they’re willing to do today, putting their body on the line and making some big blocks. But, we know that we can be really good, and after the two games where we gave up three goals… we just challenge ourselves to be better, and better, and better, and after Toronto, we continued to take a step in the right direction and we wanted to keep on that path and we were able to do that today.
Q: On his late save:
Luis Robles: We want the shut out. We say that all the time, we want the shut out. Especially late in the game, in a situation where you want to do everything you can because the guys have really busted their butt all day, so to make the save in that situation and preserve the shutout is the cherry on top. But the most important thing is the way that we played and getting three points.