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LGP: “In these difficult moments... we need the fans”

Atlanta United’s star at the back talks about facing adversity this season and his new role.

MLS: FC Cincinnati at Atlanta United FC Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

With Atlanta United still searching for its first win four games into the MLS season, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez knows the pain fans are feeling right now.

“We are the first guys that want to win,” Gonzalez Pirez said in English to media gathered at the training ground Thursday. “We need time. We say it every single media day.”

Gonzalez Pirez said the team is making progress, even in games like the team played over the weekend in apocalyptic conditions resulting in a 2-0 loss to the Columbus Crew. And LGP isn’t sugar coating the situation either.

“I saw the game. It was boring. It was terrible,” said Gonzalez Pirez. “I think we made a good 35 minutes. We were losing 2-0, but we deserved more goals. But this is soccer — if you don’t score, you lose. But maybe we made one step forward trying to find what Frank [de Boer] wants.”

The results, the frustration, the dissatisfaction — it all stems from the change the club has endured this season under new manager Frank de Boer, who has his own unique philosophies. Many wonder why de Boer can’t simply employ the same tactics that were so successful under Tata Martino. Truth is, you can’t disentangle a manager with his philosophy.

“We knew this year was going to be different because we’d been with Tata for over a year, so everyone was familiar with how things were going,” Gonzalez Pirez said in more detail through a translator. “So we knew it was going to be a new year. We didn’t necessarily expect this start — we would like to have won a game. But the important thing is that we’re all working hard as a group to try to understand each other, get on the same page, and working to get the results that we want.”

Fans are passionate. And that passion that helps make Mercedes-Benz Stadium such a fortress also makes it difficult to square positive things that occur despite poor outcomes. LGP said he empathizes with what the fans are feeling in this moment of the season.

“We understand the impatience. We as a group — the players and coaching staff — we are too. We want to win and we’re working all week to be able to get a win at the weekend. The only thing I can say to the fans is we understand. We really appreciate your support, and we need that support, especially in these difficult moments — that’s when we need the support of the fans the most.”