IMAGE: Lloyd Atlanta 8-23

Quote Sheet | Aug. 23, 2017

United head coach Ben Olsen

On dealing with Atlanta tactically…

“Obviously, they’ve got some great weapons. They’re as strong of an attacking team as they come in this league and it’s always a matter of how you deal with their aggression and strength in the wide positions…you have to smother players like Almirón. It’s all about how you deal with their transition game and whether we could punish them for being aggressive. I thought the offensive side of our game was good. We picked our spots and could have had a goal or two in the first half. We had a good start to the second half and we came out with a lot of energy. Once the game started to open up, we had a lot of composure and were disciplined defensively.   Overall, it was a good and selfless performance from the group.”

On Russell Canouse’s first two starts…

“I thought he was good in Colorado and great tonight. He wins duels, clogs up passing lanes, connects passes and starts attacks. He’s doing all the things you want from your number six. He makes a lot of little plays that add up throughout a game. He reminds me a bit of Perry [Kitchen] in those ways. Across the board, we made a lot of little plays tonight that we’ve not consistently been making throughout the year. We need to make those gutsy plays where we get a toe in, run an extra ten yards and help the guys next to you. To me, that's what I’m most proud of with this performance.”

On United’s ability to counter… 

 “I thought we were efficient on the attacking transition. In the first half, we defended more than we wanted to. They came out with a lot more energy because they'd been off for two weeks and we had a quick turnaround from Colorado. But we settled in and frustrated them in the latter stages of the second half.  After that, we were able to get some good looks. All it takes is a quick couple of passes and you’re looking at a chance on goal because of their aggression.”

United defender Kofi Opare

On possibilities of a playoff run…

“Yeah, I think the group definitely believes we can still do something this season. Obviously, look at last year how we were able to make a run in the latter stages of the season. I think, judging by the past few weeks with this group, [we have] the ability to compete with the best teams in this league and we still believe, we’re just trying to take it game by game. Obviously, today was an important three points, but we’ve gotta look forward to the game versus New England. Another big game. As long as we continue to improve game by game, that’s always great to see.”

On playing beside Jalen Robinson…

“I thought Jalen did a really good job tonight. You know, the kid can play. He’s shown it before and he just got in, he kept it simple, he did his job. Obviously, I’ve had reps with Jalen in the past, so I think that understanding is there. But I think it was a group effort. It was communication in the back from Bill [Hamid], from [Nick Deleon], from Chris Korb, Russell [Canouse] in the middle, Marcelo [Sarvas], [Jared Jeffrey], myself and Jalen. You know, just constant communication. I think it was a team effort defensively. Jalen did a really good job showing he has the ability to step in and play well.”

United midfielder Russell Canouse

On finding a rhythm...

"I’ve been watching the other guys closely, even when I wasn’t playing. I think we had a good group before I got here, and now I’m just trying to work hard and fight for the team. Tonight, I was a part of the goal, which isn’t usually part of my game, but I’m going to try to incorporate that part of my game."

On the start of the second half…

"We came out strong. We pressured as a team and closed some spaces down. We countered quickly, had some options in the box, which opened space for me at the top of the area to take a touch and get that shot off. Credit everyone, we all fought hard from the beginning."

On the makeup of this team...

"I know we have good players on this team, guys that are hungry and ready to fight. If we keep fighting like we did tonight, I don’t see the last place squad. We can get results week in and week out. It’s one game at a time, and we will keep trying to grab three points each and every game."

On the short turnaround from Saturday in Colorado...

"Today, I felt strong and was able to get out early and pressure their number ten. The whole game, I felt fit, especially coming off the Colorado match."

United midfielder Paul Arriola

On Russell’s performance…

“He’s gaining confidence game by game. I’ve known him forever, he’s been a great player. Sometimes all it takes is being in the right environment for a player to really push himself to get to the next level and I think Russ is showing the quality he has now. … Russ is a hard worker as well. He’s in there to run and make tackles and challenge. Then, with the ball he’s a good passer.”

On the goal…

“It doesn’t matter who pushes the ball in as long as the ball crosses the line and that’s kind of how it’s been the last two games.”

On playing former Tijuana teammate Greg Garza…

“That was one of my best buddies [in Tijuana]. It was interesting to actually face him for the first time in an actual game, but he knows me very well, I know him very well. Obviously, he’s a completely different player than he was in Tijuana with the way Tata [Martino] has his team playing. He gets up the field so much and he pinned me back a lot of times.”

Atlanta United FC head coach Tata Martino

On if it is the same story as the previous two games against D.C. United…

“Yeah it was pretty similar. I thought we played a good first 30 minutes again and then after the goal things changed and we became a bit predictable and weren’t able to create as many chances despite the possession we had.”

On how this impacts the playoffs…

“We don’t know yet. We have been fighting for the playoffs ever since they won, but we know that we are in a very even group in our conference, but this is a game that escaped us.”

On how he thought Josef Martinez looked in his return… 

“More or less like the rest of the team. He was OK but today we were missing something.” 

On if becoming predictable after the goal is just today or a theme in other 45 minutes…

“No it also happened in the game at home against Orlando. We were losing at that point. But in that game we at least controlled the ball. We were able to create some chances with our possession and tonight we didn’t.”

On pattern of grinding out results…

“It’s tough to get results when your play falls off a little bit. I think the last game that we played well was at home against Orlando. In the game in Kansas City and this game, I didn’t think we played as well, aside from the first thirty minutes where we created two really good chances. After that, we returned to being a predictable team.”

On if the two-week break had an impact…

“There have been other times this season where we had similar breaks and we played fine after the breaks. So, I don’t think it’s anything that we could control.”

On looking at playoff picture knowing they have two games in hand…

“It’s something that we knew along, that we were going to be a few games behind and today, if you look at the standings, we are outside the playoffs.”

Atlanta United FC midfielder Jeff Larentowicz

On what United did well…

"They a team fighting from the bottom. You can see their team spirit. They got the goal, they fought to keep us off the board and in the end they got the result."

On if this hurt Atlanta’s playoff implications…

"Every game affects playoffs, obviously. But now, we turn around and keep our minds right and win on Saturday, we’ll be fine."

On if the two weeks affected the team…

"I don’t think so. Once we got out there, you could see it early on, we were creating chances." 

On what the team has to work on for Saturday…

"We have to put in a 90 minute performance. We came into the locker room at half time saying that 30-35 minutes into the first half, we were very good, but we had 10 minutes of lapses and gave up some opportunities. In the second half, they scored quickly, and we just need to put together a full performance, especially on the road."

Atlanta United FC goalkeeper Brad Guzan

On Coach Olsen…

“Their manager, he’s a smart guy. Sometimes I don’t think he gets enough credit, but he puts their team in position to keep themselves in games and give themselves opportunities to win games.”

On the own goal…

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how it goes in the back of the net. They got three points, we don’t and we’ll go again Saturday.”

On how the two-week break affected Atlanta…

“I thought the first 35 minutes we looked really good, really sharp. Then D.C. obviously came into the game a little bit, created a few chances and then, as they say, goals change games.”

On D.C.’s additions…

“They’ve got good players, they’ve added a few players. [Paul Arriola] is a good player. He sees the game and is good on the ball and he adds a different dynamic for their team.”

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