Soccer is a merciless beast of a sport, and Saturday night in Mercedes-Benz Stadium was one of many strangest, oddball variations of that beast that Atlanta United followers have witnessed in fairly a while.
The stage was set for a busy, chaotic match because the 5 Stripes welcomed Liga MX facet Cruz Azul in what equated to a knockout match. Each groups had fallen sufferer to Lionel Messi and Inter Miami, so a win for both facet would see that staff by means of to the true knockout rounds. The strain was on every coach, too; Cruz Azul’s supervisor had been given an alleged ultimatum of “win otherwise you’re gone” whereas Gonzalo Pineda has struggled to win constantly since Could.
Cruz Azul followers confirmed up in drive – bringing alongside pyrotechnics, inexperienced lasers and a random Easter Bunny – and the Benz resounded all evening with the forwards and backwards chants of “ATLANTA” and “AZUL.”
Atlanta United confirmed a strong effort early on, being pretty aggressive and leaning into using their new midfielder, Tristan Muyumba. Muyumba was a welcome spark within the midfield, offering great imaginative and prescient, crisp passes, and sprinkle of enjoyable and efficient aptitude to interrupt the monotony of Atlanta’s center-pitch woes. His motion off the ball was intentional, he supplied some good defensive moments, and performed effectively into the field with guys like Almada, Mosquera, and Giakoumakis. Because the game-state progressed and he wanted to be extra defensive and side-to-side, he did so willingly and proficiently. It was general a fantastic first outing for the Frenchman.
In the end, although, it might be a defensive lapse by a combo of Ronald Hernandez and Miles Robinson the place Hernandez left his mark open within the field to win a header he said he thought he might win. The ensuing ball fell to the unmarked Cruz Azul man within the field who drilled it at Brad Guzan for the opening aim of the evening.
Atlanta didn’t let off although, and within the second half they notched up the strain a bit. It could be a mixture of Edwin Mosquera bringing some unrefined however welcome pace and unpredictability on the best facet to dribble into the field, the place he had the ball poked away – and out to Thiago Almada. Almada was capable of catch the ball at an odd angle and narrowly beat the keeper at his close to put up whereas his personal participant blocked the keeper’s imaginative and prescient.
Sadly, Atlanta couldn’t discover the go-ahead aim and the match in the end could be determined by penalties.
It began effectively sufficient. Brooks Lennon buried his first, and Cruz Azul banged theirs off the crossbar. It went forwards and backwards till Miguel Berry stepped up and had his shot blocked to even the rely. Throughout this time, Brad Guzan additionally was pelted with inexperienced lasers as he ready to dam photographs. The shootout would in the end go to sudden demise, and Juanjo Purata sadly missed his goal, and Cruz Azul buried their try and win it by one in PK’s.
The post-match press convention was positively a downer. Gonzalo Pineda was rightfully upset and dejected, maybe a bit greater than regular, as his facet was knocked out of one other competitors within the earliest levels. A few transfers, per week of relaxation, plus two full weeks of labor now await Atlanta United as they totally put together for his or her final 10 matches of MLS play.
Check out what Pineda, Brad Guzan, and Amar Sedic needed to say after the match, and make sure to go away your individual feedback beneath!
Atlanta United Head Coach Gonzalo Pineda
On the primary factor the staff wanted to enhance on from final sport vs. Inter Miami and if he feels the staff did effectively sufficient
“I’d say sure. Simply the ultimate execution within the attacking half. We weren’t as medical however I feel we did sport.”
On how disappointing it’s to be eradicated from two tournaments now this yr and his evaluation of the staff
“Very upset with this one. I feel we deserve higher however that is soccer. I noticed an enormous enchancment within the staff. I feel we did job in many alternative phases of the sport. Soccer is like this and we couldn’t succeed on this one. We’ll after all be reflecting and making an attempt to evaluate our efficiency general and attempt to be higher. That’s all the time the aim. There are 10 video games left within the season. August 20, Seattle Sounders away. It’s an enormous job for the staff. So we now have three weeks to organize for that and go for these three factors or attempt to get as many as potential.”
On the Cruz Azul aim and breakdown of the little moments within the match and corrections going ahead
“I feel it was a mistake. I feel we have been doing job on fixing these lengthy switches of play. Switching over appropriately. We tried to be extra aggressive particularly with the wingers. In that play, they go for a similar ball and each of them don’t make contact. And the second was for them. That’s what occurred. After all, it was a mistake so it’s unlucky as a result of the staff was doing job.”
On if Thiago Almada is the very best participant within the MLS
“It’s the very best participant for me however clearly it’s as much as opinions. I feel Thiago had an excellent efficiency once more. I feel having a variety of gamers now that he can mix with assist quite a bit. I consider course Tristan, you noticed a bit of little bit of what he’s and why we signed him. Additionally Rossetto and Amar there have been so many sequences the place when Thiago is round these kind of gamers, I feel he’s going to shine much more.”
Atlanta United midfielder Amar Sejdic
On how he feels about this being the second cup event the place the staff doesn’t fulfill, however nonetheless know that they’ve the common season to search for
“Yeah, I imply it is a membership with excessive requirements. I feel all the fellows are motivated for each title that we are able to compete for. With the efficiency that we had, it felt so good the primary half. We have been knocking the ball round. So many good connections, nice passes, nice understanding between the fellows. That they had that one alternative, banged it in. I feel our response was nice, perhaps 5 minutes after it was a bit of gradual. I feel finally in direction of the top of the half we have been actually getting after them. Second half as effectively. They didn’t wish to play out. They have been booting it lengthy. Probabilities have been there and on the finish of the day it’s soccer. Success may be very, very onerous. We simply have to return to the drafting board and prepare for Seattle in August and for a house playoff spot.”
On if it’s a silver lining that there are three weeks to work on issues and if he believes the staff is ready to repair their errors by the following match
“I wish to be a optimistic man so I’m going to say sure. After all, in the mean time now, it’s bitter. I wish to go so far as potential and win issues as a lot as I can. Individually but in addition collectively, so yea only a state of affairs the place we have to construct off of the efficiency tonight and get the items collectively and be higher and get buzzing for the ultimate stretch.”
Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan
On the match
“Within the sport I believed we have been significantly better. The primary half, our remaining third play most likely wasn’t as sharp because it wanted to be. However within the second half, making the changes we would have liked to make and within the second half we have been throughout them however the distinction from Tuesday to tonight was huge and that’s encouraging.”
On if there’s extra strain on the staff now to get a end result within the subsequent MLS match at Seattle
“Hear there’s period of time between now and that sport so we’ve received to re-group, it’s so simple as that. There’s no extra added strain due to this. There’s no much less strain due to this. There’s 10 league video games left and we’d like to verify we go into them and decide up factors and on the league facet of issues we decide up the desk.”