Atlanta United left Vancouver with 3 points, rested some key players and got their fifth clean sheet victory in a row, setting a new MLS record. Also, Atlanta fans discovered that Florentin Pogba may be decent and a reliable rotation player. A couple of weeks ago, Pogba sat down with AS.com and he talked about his famous brother — but who cares about that. He also talked about his move to MLS and more.
When Atlanta United first signed him, we didn’t know what to expect. He was set to play in the Segunda División in Spain until he got a call.
“An MLS agent I know called me. I had already been in Spain for a week to train with the team and since then I was waiting for it to be known if the manager that was there, Martino, would continue or not. Then the new manager, Frank de Boer said he loved me, so I went to Atlanta.”
Even when he was playing more in the USL than in MLS with the first team, he wasn’t worried and just kept working hard.
“I’m fine, training well, working. I’m playing little with the first team, but because I was late, and the coach already has his people. I know how that works and I keep working to get it right until I get a chance.”
This was his first start in MLS, but he had some unexpected minutes in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals against Monterrey.
“To be honest, I did not think I would play that day. The boss called me, I played 15 minutes, fine. With the fans and everything was incredible. It was the first few minutes I had, and they were very good for me.”
He stayed calm because he was in constant communication with Frank de Boer.
“He told me he was counting on me because I’m the left-footed center back. When I arrived, he explained that he needed a lefty. I’m calm, waiting for my turn. I do not know when it’s going to be, I always have to be prepared. I’m ready.”
His hard work and patience paid off as he started and helped Atlanta keep another clean sheet against Vancouver and after the match Frank de Boer was impressed.
“I think Pogba played a fantastic game today, he didn’t make a mistake. He was also very good in the buildup and defensively he was very good. It wasn’t easy, but you can see his experience and it was fantastic.”
Pogba hopes to be more involved in the future but he doesn’t mind waiting as long as the team keeps winning.
“Now we have to get some rest and focus on these games that we have coming up and hopefully I’ll get some more opportunities. The team is winning. When the team is winning, it’s always difficult to change the team. But that’s football. We know what it’s like, you just always have to be ready when your turn is called, so that the coach can know that he can count on you.”
Yes, it’s only one solid performance and we shouldn’t overreact, but we can appreciate it. He’s obviously not going to be a starter but he can provide the team some much needed depth on defense... like maybe we don’t have to start Jeff Larentowicz as an emergency CB ever again.