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Andrew Gutman: We will just put this one behind us and move forward

Yes, what he said

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Well, this one sort of knocked the good vibes down a peg. The Five Stripes jetted up to high altitude to play the Colorado Rapids and wound up with a goose egg. Naturally, fans may have concerns about defensive play and personnel issues, but the team exhibited some positives despite what the scoreline shows. Yes, Atlanta United losing 3-0 is unfortunate, but there are so many factors involved in the loss that any doom-and-gloom naysayers should be taken with a grain of salt. The fact of the matter is Atlanta didn’t jump on their first half chances and they had a few moments of lackadaisical defending that inevitably cost them. Gonzalo Pineda, Amar Sejdic, and Andrew Gutman all participated in the press conference afterwards and answered various questions about the team’s performance, Ozzie Alonso, and the overall game plan for the evening. Here are the post-match quotes from Saturday’s hushed performance.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Colorado Rapids Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta United Head Coach Gonzalo Pineda:

On the status of Ozzie Alonso and who played in his spot tonight:

“The club made a statement on Ozzie. It’s just that. The cardiologist came up with this conclusion that we need to do more tests on Ozzie. That happened yesterday early in the morning. So, we came up with the solution of playing George Campbell as a center mid today. He played there a few times last year and I think he did well in that role. Part of the idea of playing George there is to not change the dynamic a lot on what we trained the whole week. So it was just a man-for-man change and I don’t think the gameplan changed dramatically for us with George playing for Ozzie.”

On missing the final pass early and momentum disappearing:

“Yes, I think that’s part of the story line today. We were much better in possession. We had the ball a lot today, we had control in the middle third, but kudos to Colorado. They did a great job at putting a very good block of 5-3-2 or 5-4-1 players, very solid and compact. The times we broke that pressure and we got into final areas, the final pass was missing. The movements to get in behind the back line we were lacking today, and that’s part of today’s story.”

On what the gameplan was and where it maybe fell apart:

“I think you saw the gameplan there. The first 25, 30 minutes I was very happy with the way we were moving the ball around. We didn’t see a couple of movements to get in between the lines, and then again kudos to Colorado. They were very aggressive, always chasing, pressing and they were doing a good job with that. The gameplan was to try and overload the middle. But we were never really able to play them, the times we did play them, we were lacking those runs in the final third that we had last week. It’s a learning process. The key moment in the second half, we had a good plan coming out of halftime to overcome the first half, then we concede very early in the second half the second goal. That made it very hard. But I’m very proud of the team, the effort, the heart, the passion. They never gave up. I think that when you said about it not being the best performance, yes maybe on the soccer side in the final third we weren’t as good today, but I was very happy that my players never gave up. That’s something for me. We will build from there and will try to fix the mistakes and come ready for the next game.”

On Alan Franco’s performance:

“Overall, I think it was very good. Obviously the first goal was a little bit of a tough ball to the far post. He was probably marking correctly, but it was a good ball to the back and he probably couldn’t get any part of the cross. After that, and before that, he was very good. In the buildup he was good breaking lines and then you saw at the end. He was breaking up so many transition moments. I think he had a good game.”

On concerns that Josef Martinez isn’t getting enough scoring chances:

“Well, there were a few half chances there, but not really the ones that we want our striker to have. Again, today, not just Josef, but overall the team didn’t create enough clear chances. It’s reflected in the expected goals stat, but again kudos to Colorado for executing their plan. They played a lower block and then in transition were more dangerous than us. We will improve on that style, trying to break lines better, trying to move the ball faster side to side. Try to occupy the spaces we want to occupy to create more and better chances in the final third. We will try to improve for next time.”

Atlanta United midfielder Amar Sejdić:

On the difference between the first half hour and rest of game:

“I think first half was ok. We kept trying to play the way we want to play. We didn’t change much. We wanted to keep playing and create chances to open them up. We weren’t the best at executing it tonight, but nevertheless we wanted to play our philosophy. The coaching staff preaches it week-by-week. We weren’t able to execute it tonight, but it’s a long season and you have to go game by game.”

On the absence of Ozzie Alonso affecting the team mentally:

“Yeah, it’s always a concern when things happen to your teammate. Of course, we thought about him. At the end of the day, we are playing football and all the energy has to go towards the game.”

On getting Josef Martinez in better scoring opportunities:

“Just playing the football that we play. We are all players who understand the game well. Reading his movements, him reading our movements for when we can slip him in behind. When we can play a third-man pass and get into those crossing areas and cutback areas for him. It’s a team sport, it’s 11 guys on the field and it’s important to understand one another and learn to play together to be successful down the road.”

On what the gameplan tonight was:

“Overloading the midfield trying to pin their wingbacks and midfielders with certain players that are in the middle. Trying to create those overloads in the middle. On the surface, it was hard to play one touch passes and took some time to control the ball etc. That was the gameplan. There were certain moments where it came out well. We were able to combine and slip some balls in behind to create chances, but obviously wasn’t as consistent as it needed to be. We need to learn from it and move on.”

On the accountability of the players tonight:

“It’s a 3-0 loss and that speaks, and the accountability is that everybody has to be better together. We have to fight for second balls, we have to close out games better. We have to have better mental moments. The first five minutes of the second half are important, we concede that second goal that gives them momentum. It was a little bit of a scrappy game. But nonetheless, when we were down 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 we kept playing, trying to find the gaps between the lines and getting behind the lines. It didn’t come out. What we are building here and what we are capable of doing, that wasn’t represented in the score tonight. Just have to learn from this and take it forward.”

On George Campbell’s performance in midfield:

“I think he did great. Of course, it was a last minute thing for him. He didn’t train in that position all week. Matheus Rossetto went to him before the game to help him out. Playing from a centerback to a 6-role is very different. You always have to be aware of your shoulders, scanning the field constantly. Be aware of the other midfielders so you can combine. I think overall he did well. He won some balls in the middle. He played a great ball to Tyler Wolff in the first half. He did great in that position, I tip my hat to George.”

Atlanta United defender Andrew Gutman:

On what Colorado did to make Atlanta’s transition game difficult:

“I think it was just one of those games where we weren’t as sharp in our passes to unlock the break. Part of that was just us not being sharp enough. Part of that is the conditions, the field wasn’t great. But at the end of the day we have to be better. We have to create better chances. We have to press as a unit better. We will just put this one behind us and move forward.”

On what he saw on the first two Colorado goals:

“I think it was just us switching off a little bit. The game is 90 minutes long and you have to be focused for 90 minutes. I thought we were pretty good on the day. We created some chances, played through them, but just switched off a couple of times. Colorado was top of the Western Conference last year and they punished us.”

On his performance tonight:

“I think even though I’m new to the team, I have experience in the league and I want to be a leader on the field. I thought I could have been better tonight. I could have made some better runs, played some better balls in behind. For me personally, my job is to cause chaos down the wing. Putting balls into Josef or whoever is running into the box and hopefully we can score. It was a makeshift starting XI but we can’t have that mentality. It’s just, look this is our starting XI and we have to go out and get a win. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen tonight.”

On how the team reacted mentally to conceding goals tonight:

“I thought we reacted fine. Throughout the whole game we were the team pushing for goals. We were the team controlling the tempo. We just switched off for a couple minutes and they punished us. I think mentally we are going to be fine throughout this season. It’s just an unfortunate game. When you just look at the score, yeah 3-0 is a bad loss, but when you break down the game, I thought we did a lot of things well. We just have to learn from our little mistakes and move on to Charlotte next weekend.”