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Diego de la Torre: We started doing things that we never do. For me, that was the real problem

A frustrating result at home against the best team in the league, but not the end of the world

MLS: FC Cincinatti at Atlanta United FC Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t be upset, it wasn’t the worst thing in the world.

It’s definitely frustrating because a draw would’ve been fair, a win would’ve been phenomenal, but a loss is what happens when you lose control against the best team in the league.

That’s exactly what happened to Atlanta United Wednesday night at home against FC Cincinnati. They played back and forth with the Supporter’s Shield leaders for about 30 minutes, going up a goal thanks to a delightful touch by Xande Silva and a wonderful finish by Edwin Mosquera, but things started to break apart around half time.

The team struggled to string together consistent possession and passing moving forward and when they did move forward, the decision making wasn’t sharp. Multiple chances were squandered due to excessive dribbling - a point that assistant coach Diego de la Torre made in the press conference - and wide-open players were uncharacteristically left waiting for a ball that never came.

Cincy made the Five Stripes pay in a span of less than ten minutes, notching two goals to make the final 2-1.

Take a look below to see what assistant coach Diego de la Torre (on the touch line because of Pineda’s yellow card accumulation), Brad Guzan, Edwin Mosquera, and Tristan Muyumba all had to say after the match.

Atlanta United Head Coach Diego de la Torre:

On if the team ran out of energy during tonight’s match:

“No, I don’t really think that. In the first half, we played a very good game and had control of the game. I think what happened in the second half is we lost control of the game. We were playing against the first-place team in the League, and they were chasing and competing. I have to give credit to Cincinnati, because they were a very good team, but no, I don’t think it happened because of fitness levels.”

On assuming the role of Head Coach for tonight’s match:

“[Gonzalo Pineda] might have put me there, but we all work together. Rob [Valentino], Liam [Curran], and Eugenio [Villazon], we all know our roles and we know how to work together. Then, it is just summation, but everybody knows how the game is going to happen.”

On Caleb Wiley’s growth so far this season:

“Caleb [Wiley] has been great all season. His development has been great and every game he gets better and better and better. He is growing every time and he looks bigger than 18 years old. He looks like a senior player, and that is great, because that means he has confidence, he is growing, and we are very happy with him.”

On helping Thiago Almada keep his confidence up:

“[Thiago Almada’s] confidence is always up. He is a guy that just has to have the ball and he always makes fantastic things happen. I don’t think it is about the mentality or something like that. I think it might not have been his best game, but not the entire game, as he had a very good first half, but then we lost control. Everybody in the game lost control. We wanted to attack at the same tempo and velocity as Cincinnati, but we never play like that. We were in transition a lot, which means constantly dribbling, but that is not our game, so we lost control. Maybe that is why Thiago did not look like himself today, but he is a guy that is going to be ok in the next game. His standard is very high.”

On if he wanted the ball to go through Saba Lobjanidze more:

“I think we couldn’t find [Saba Lobjanidze]. That was a problem, and from the outside of the field, we were looking at him as a very good option to play, but again, we were dribbling and trying to do things that we never do, and that was a problem. Then, we couldn’t find him, and maybe he wasn’t on his game, but he has been with us for one week now. I’m sure his performance will impact later games though.”

On how much more room for growth the team has with this style of play:

“This is the style we play. We always play with a lot of movement, and that goes for everybody. That is one of our core understandings of every game, that everyone wants the ball and everybody needs to play and move to occupy the free spaces. It is part of our game and we have been playing like that all season. Today, in the second half, you saw it more because we lost the control, and that because we started doing things that we never do. For me, that was the real problem.”

Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan

On his thoughts on the loss of control of the team in the second half

“I don’t know why. Turned into a transitional game and that’s where they want the game to be. We stopped dictating the tempo of the game.”

On his thoughts on Cincinnati’s level of play

“Yeah, listen they’re in first place, there’s a reason why they’re top of the table. Everyone’s chasing them, including us. But we need to reflect and get ready to go Saturday.”

On the bad habits that may have occurred tonight

“I mean listen, goals decide games defensively and offensively. I have always said, goals change games and tonight we were on the short end of it.”

On Caleb Wiley’s growth

“Yeah, he is coming into his own. What we’ve seen now from Caleb is what we expect and that’s someone that’s going to give everything. Turns up day and day out. Someone that we count on to make big plays for us.”

Atlanta United forward Edwin Mosquera

On his goal:

“First of all, thank you. I got the ball and saw the rebound and just went and got it.”

On de la Torre’s comments about the team losing control and how he thinks the team will regain it:

“I think we can put the game behind us today, and just look forward to Dallas and put our best foot forward with Dallas.”

On how he feels about playing with the team:

“I think since I came from Argentina, I think that I have gotten more comfortable with the team. The more I play, I start to feel more comfortable.”

On his first goal celebration and what it was:

“I am always dancing, so it is what came out.”

Atlanta United midfielder Tristan Muyumba

On the game becoming transitional and players dribbling too much:

“I think we had a good first half. After halftime we showed a different face. I don’t know how to explain this because it is right after the game but now we need to work to keep the same mentality, same way until the end of the game.”

On the difference between the first and second half

“I think they played more directly. I think we lost the game with a few details in just five or 10 minutes they scored two goals. We can’t show this face at home in front of our fans and families. Before the game we had confidence after winning two games.”

On if despite the loss, does the team still feel confidence based on previous positive results

“Yes, we need to keep the confidence because the game is not so bad. We did some good actions, good possession, good build up, so we need to keep on this part of the game. We need to watch the video of the game. Just the few details at the end of the game, so just that part.”