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What they said: Atlanta United 2, Columbus Crew SC 0

What were the reactions after a tough home defeat?

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports


On Crew SC’s overall performance

Well first of all, I think give Atlanta credit for a good performance. They made it difficult for us. We wanted to come out and put a lot of pressure on them and get the crowd into the game, we had a fantastic crowd tonight, get the people behind us and really put pressure on them. They were able to absorb and we weren’t moving the ball quick on enough and unfortunately, we weren’t able to create enough chances. When you see the shots on goal, it was not good.

On the Crew SC’s defensive performance

What I’d say is the shape wasn’t bad, it really wasn’t. I don’t think they picked us apart at all. I think that it’s a couple key moments. Having the desire to win the ball. When you look at their goals here, the assist from the goalkeeper and you wonder how stuff like that happens. So, that just needs to be better; we need to clean that side up.

On the short gap between games

It’s a Wednesday-Saturday gap, same difference, two days in between. We’ll be able to handle it.

On Atlanta United FC’s first goal

I’m not going to dissect the goals here, we are going to do that as a group and come up with the right solution. What I’d say, is defending - you do it as a group. Regardless of what happens on the ball, you need guys in positions to deal with it, and I don’t think we had that on that play.

On if Atlanta’s high pressure caught Crew SC off guard

I don’t think [the high pressure caught us off guard]. Atlanta has two things that they do very well: offensive transition and high pressure. At the time of the first goal, we were actually getting after them and pressuring them and forced them into a long ball. I don’t think it caught us off guard, I just think in general we could have dealt with it better.

On Justin Meram’s injury

I think it was a turned ankle, I think he is okay.

On general defensive performance

We’re going to evaluate the game and evaluate individual performances. In general, what I’d say is we’ve given up too many goals. So, if we want to speak in general terms, we have conceded too many goals as a group.

On Crew SC defender Jonathan Mensah’s performance

What I’d say is, it’s difficult for defenders to adapt to this league sometimes. What we’re doing is we’re working with Jonathan to help him adapt. In general, at times it’s been very good and at times it hasn’t been so good, but I don’t think it’s any different than anyone on the backline who has been playing.

On disappointing performance

No, I wasn’t happy the performance, not at all. Let’s not sugarcoat this. It wasn’t our best performance and on a night when we had a great crowd, we had a great opponent, we had an opponent that’s snipping on our heels; this is where you go out and show who you are as a group and that’s why I’m disappointed with this performance. I think as individuals, I don’t think we had enough and collectively I don’t think we had enough, so of course we’re disappointed.

On Crew SC defender Nicolai Naess

I think he stands where every other player stands. Any guys who aren’t playing want to work and try to get on the field. Any guys who are playing want to work and stay on the field, and he falls into the category of guys who hasn’t played and wants to work his way on the field.

Defender Jonathan Mensah

On whether Crew SC’s defense this match

It was there in the beginning but then we were allowing them to bounce back and wasn’t supposed to happen, but it did happen. We just have to move up to the line more and get to work.

On Crew SC’s performance against Atlanta United FC

It is not the result that we wanted. I think I wasn’t there today — I was kind of tired. The whole team also we all felt short. This is not a time to point fingers. I personally know I wasn’t there today, but we just need to put this behind us and keep working.

On the next step to being more consistent

We are always working and there is room to progress. We are going to keep working and we will bounce back because it’s not going to be easy. We all know we have a couple games to go

Midfielder Artur

On whether he hurt his wrist during the match

Everything is fine. My wrist is fine - it hurt for little bit, but overall, I’m doing okay. It’s nothing I need to worry about or anything like that.

On whether he felt disappointed on the loss given the team’s performance against the Montreal Impact

I’m a little disappointed yes, but disappointment occurs any time that you lose. The last game was the last game, but we played a different opponent [tonight]. But yes, it is disappointing to lose, always.

On some of the positive takeaways from tonight’s match

I think we pulled together as a team,connecting well thanks to our chemistry. We always try to play for each other. Personally, I wish I could’ve done a little bit more and we came up short individually, but we always try to play for one another.

Atlanta United FC

Head Coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino

On Atlanta’s defense and back-to-back clean sheets

I think attacking and defending requires the participation of everyone in the team, it’s not up to a group of a few players. Today we played a solid game against a tough rival and we didn’t give them many chances.

On the away victory and its significance

Like I said before, we played a serious game, a solid game without many mistakes on our part and being opportunists. We had five clear chances on goal and we converted two. I think that makes us the clear victors.

On the short turnaround against San Jose on Tuesday

We need to recover and rest. We need to do so quickly because it is very valuable for us to pick up another three points at home.

On Tito Villalba’s performance and his brace

On the first goal, what he did well was to put himself behind Joseph during that long pass, finding the ball and finishing magisterially. On the second goal, he completed the play in the other sector. He controlled the ball with two touches and he was able to convert

Defender Michael Parkhurst

On the team’s second straight clean sheet

We just had a good mentality. We talked before the game that this was a big one for us, you know, start of the second half of the season on the road and we hadn’t been doing well. We skipped the lines when we needed to, we wanted to play out of the back. We said ‘hey let’s not give away anything, Columbus is too good of a team to gift a goal too.’ It worked out for us, the first goal is as easy as it gets. They struggled with it a couple of times, we were lucky enough to score. It was just a real good professional performance, we did what we needed to do.

On Martino’s game plan, ‘Route 1’

No particular instance. We were disappointed in the goal in D.C we gave up. We’re trying to play out of the back, right after getting a one goal lead on the road. We just talked about being a little smarter, it’s not something that is our plan A. We still want to play out of the back, we also want to have a plan B and it worked out tonight.

On his health

I’ll be alright, I’m just sore

On returning to MAPFRE Stadium

It was good to back here tonight, the crowd was great. Good to see a lot of friendly faces.

On his emotions being back

Nothing special, the win is always extra satisfying against your former team, that’s just the way it is. Even though I’m friendly with the guys, it’s good competition.

On the quick turnaround for Tuesday

Thankfully we are going to friendly confines. Where we are on a roll, and we know it is just as tough, if not tougher for them because they haven’t even kicked off yet. They also have to travel across the country. It’s a tough challenge for them as well. For us, it’s just focusing on getting the body ready, you know, taking care of it, getting the travel out of our bodies tomorrow. And, hopefully taking the adrenaline from the crowd into the game and playing a smart, smart game.

Goalkeeper Alec Kann

On recording an assist tonight

I might have gotten one in the USL, but someone might have to dig through the archives to see. It’s my first one in MLS for sure, I almost got a second one.

On the shutout

On the road, the results are going to be ugly if we win. You know it’s not a pretty game, we played a lot of pretty game this year and not won or tied. Today was not pretty, but we got a 2-0 win which was huge. It’s a huge result for us.

On the change in tactics

We scored really early and talked about playing a little more direct, not taking as many risks, playing out of the back. Risk vs. reward. Especially early on, we knew they pressed really well in the preseason and did it pretty well in Atlanta. We have to adjust to other teams that we play and I think we did that to perfection today.

On his forward’s performances

They can score at any moment and that helps our defense because we know that they are going to score a goal at some point, so we know that if we keep a zero on the scoresheet we will win.