Take a look at that cover photo. Then take a look at the videos of Andrew Gutman’s absolute golazo and subsequent reaction from his teammates, his coaching staff, and the fans that are circulating across social media as Atlanta United toppled the Seattle Sounders 2-1.
Every video I see from every angle just shows how much this meant to every single person in this club. From our view in the press box to fan videos and others like this…that’s what you want to see from a team #ATLUTD #UniteAndConquer https://t.co/xdeaHVBHMC— Tyler Pilgrim (@ATLPilgrim) August 7, 2022
Body language is a tell-all, and the way everyone reacted after that shot proves that this team is going to fight for one another, come hell or high water. This wasn’t a run-of-the-mill celebration; a collective weight seemed to lift from Mercedes-Benz Stadium when that ball hit the back of the net.
Head coach Gonzalo Pineda’s reaction in the above video is one of pure elation. He said as much in the post-match press conference when he referred to Gutman’s goal as “perfect,” but what’s interesting about the context behind that quote was the question that was initially asked.
Specifically, everyone knew of the stakes involved in this first clash between Pineda and mentor Brian Schmetzer, and Pineda’s respect and admiration for Seattle’s gaffer is well documented. But when asked if this was his biggest win, Gonzo didn’t initially dive into the historical ramifications that made this such a hallmark match; he humbly said “I think I will always remember this: Andrew Gutman’s goal.”
Pineda: Rossetto’s lower leg, not sure yet.— Tyler Pilgrim (@ATLPilgrim) August 6, 2022
“Gutman’s goal was perfect…” and adds to the identity of the team.
Had told the team: “I don’t care how we get three points, just get them.” pic.twitter.com/bJXV8xwSHX
For Gutman’s part, he took the entire experience in stride. In fact, when speaking with the media in the locker room about the goal, he joked that he doesn’t “have that skill set, so don’t expect it again.” Ultimately, though, it seems fitting for a player who has been so important throughout the season with the Five Stripes to chalk up his first goal in such a fantastic way, and at such an integral moment in the season.
@_andrewgutman_ It’s been a tough year for this team so this means the world.— Tyler Pilgrim (@ATLPilgrim) August 6, 2022
“I didn’t even believe it when I scored it…I don’t have that skill set so don’t expect it again.” pic.twitter.com/fmocjzvvRr
While the highlight reel game winner is always going to be the main topic, a match was actually still played in Mercedes-Benz Stadium for 93 minutes prior. Atlanta and Seattle both came out poking and prodding at one another, and Pineda’s pre-match prediction that the game wouldn’t initially be stretched was very true. The game was fairly tight, though the Five Stripes did have some early chances when players like Luiz Araujo and Ronaldo Cisneros were able to stretch Seattle’s back line.
The decision to place Araujo strictly on the left with Caleb Wiley worked wonders; Araujo was able to provide some guidance for the young left back and they played well off one another. In fact, it was their connection that led to the first goal of the afternoon when Wiley played a ball forward to Araujo, who then cut it back from the end line. Thiago Almada and Josef Martinez had every defender occupied in the box, and Almada allowed the cross to pass through his legs to a wide open Ronaldo Cisneros. The Mexican put his foot through the ball, which took a deflection off Seattle’s Nouhou and into the back of the net in the 23rd minute. Both Wiley and Araujo were credited on the assist.
Things got a little dicey shortly after the goal as Seattle kept the lion’s share of possession at the half approached, but Atlanta was able to hold stout defensively and enter the locker room up 1-0. It wasn’t without worry, however, as Matheus Rossetto inexplicably went down and had to be stretchered off the pitch. He later let media know in the locker room that he’d stepped on Josef’s foot and rolled his ankle a bit, and that they were just being cautious.
Franco Ibarra entered shortly into the second half and Seattle quickly took advantage of him before he could settle into the match. Cristian Roldan evened the scoreline after a cheap giveaway, and for a moment it felt like Atlanta was going to quickly concede a second. The introduction of the aforementioned legend Andrew Gutman and the newcomer Edwin Mosquera sparked some fire in the home squad, though, and about 68500 people left Mercedes-Benz Stadium ecstatic at the result.
From this point, Atlanta United has to take this momentum and utilize it going forward. 3 wins in 17 is never going to be enough, nor is the inability to win back to back matches. An in-form Cincinnati is going to be tough, but the Five Stripes have to figure out a way to come home with a win if they want to keep their playoff hopes within grasp. But if there was any match that could turn the tide of the season, it was this one. Pineda even mentioned that Ozzie Alonso told him just after the game, “Coach, we needed that one,” and he couldn’t be more correct.
Check out everything Pineda, Gutman, Cisneros, and Alan Franco had to say below (translated from a locker room that was absolutely PARTYING).
Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda
On if it was his biggest win as head coach of Atlanta United:
“I don’t know. I don’t know, it’s one of the better. I think I will always remember this, Andrew Gutman’s goal. It’s hard to say because obviously I have utmost respect for Brian [Schmetzer]. Actually, I think they did a very good game but this victory means a lot for what I said. Seattle, Brian and also the moment of the team because yes, all that aside, my love for Brian and the coaching staff and the players in Seattle, now my job is Atlanta. Now what I’m very happy about is the three points that we got because of them. Because that locker room is full of good people, of humble people, of people that is fully determined to succeed.”
On Caleb Wiley and the younger players that played today:
“Well, next man up, that’s been kind of the mantra for this year. At times, it’s been working. At times, maybe not. But I cannot tell enough good things about Caleb Wiley in general, not just this game but the progression of his development, the little mistakes he made in a couple of games but the reaction after that has been very good. Not just in the games but in the training sessions again. I reflect a lot on the training sessions because what I see in the training sessions normally is a consequence in the game. So he’s like that, I’m confident with them. I’m confident with everyone. You know that we’ve had a lot of injuries so at times if Andrew Gutman is not injured, maybe Caleb is not playing that many minutes in that position, maybe more as a winger but not as a left back. So good for him, all this experience will help him. We have full belief in every player that we have in the squad, whether they are older or they are younger, we have full confidence in the squad.”
Atlanta United forward Ronaldo Cisneros
On what this victory can do for the team’s playoff push?
“This victory is very important for the team. It’s something we have been searching for in the last games, trying to get the three points. I think the team has been working really hard. So, a victory like this is important and will give us a lot of motivation to keep work hard.”
On the sequence leading to his goal being something they work on in training a lot:
“Those goals are always great because it’s a product of the work from the whole team. So, just like Gonzalo has said before on set piece goals, those are goals where everyone is involved as well. It’s not just myself, but it’s a credit to everyone.”
On when Andrew Gutman struck the ball, did he think it was going in:
“Yes. (with a smile on his face)”
On if he’s seen Gutman do that in training before:
“Yes, he’s a player who has shown that he can hit the ball really hard. But, obviously it’s one thing to do it in training than doing it in a game. Yeah, it was a very important goal for the team.”
On the atmosphere in the stadium and on the bench when that goal went in:
“Yeah there was a lot of emotion in that moment. You could see on the bench, I jumped up as if I had scored because we are all so happy for Andrew. I think that goal just shows how we are a family, as a team. All the positive emotion in that moment.”
Atlanta United FC defender Andrew Gutman:
On his teammates’ reactions to his goal:
“They made fun of me because last week in Chicago I had a crazy bad cross, so hopefully now that I have scored this goal it will get them to shut up.”
On what the win can do for the team moving forward:
“I think it is just a confidence booster. Yeah, I scored the goal, but these guys played their hearts for 90 minutes. I came in for 10 minutes and helped the team, and we have been playing great football, but we have to start capitalizing on goals and chances, and I think we will be ok.”
On if the team felt they were “against the wall” coming into the match:
“I think it is just our expectations, not so much ‘against the wall.’ We know what kind of team we have and how good we are, so it is just pressure on ourselves. I do not think it is anything outside of that.”
On the coaching staff and what this win means to them:
“It means everything to them. It has been a tough year for this team everything that has gone on, injuries, and other stuff. Gonzalo [Pineda] and his staff are an amazing staff and I am just so happy that we could get them three points and hopefully we can get on a roll and make the playoffs.”
Atlanta United defender Alan Franco
On the team’s level of confidence entering the remaining 11 games
“I think we’re getting better every day but there are a lot of games left and we have to keep improving. We’ve got a great group of defenders and we need to keep working.”
On if he had played on the backline with Gutman before in that lineup
“Yes, before he got injured we played two or three games in that lineup and he’s a great outside back. We’ve missed him and all of the players who have been out injured but the guys who are playing have played at a good level and we’re working for what we all want, which is to make the playoffs.”
On his thoughts when Gutman hit the ball
“I was joking with Andrew telling him he closed his eyes and hit it. But I know Andrew can hit the ball well. I wasn’t expecting him to score a golazo but it’s good for us and he scored the goal to give us the victory and he deserved it.”
Alan Franco: On defense doing better in the past few matches: “We’ve got incredible defenders and we just have to keep working.”— Tyler Pilgrim (@ATLPilgrim) August 6, 2022
Mentioned Gutman is a great outside back and they work well together. Said he was joking that Gutman just closed his eyes when he hit it pic.twitter.com/4Gr608hqnZ
Finally, y’all give the Spaces show a listen as we had ourselves a good ‘ol WINNER’S CHAT! It was a nice reprieve from pretending we make a lot of money and attempting to fix the entire club after a loss. Plus, you should definitely be listening to these because we may have some special guests hopping on in the near future. As usual, hit us with your comments about everything below.