Gonzalo Pineda: Why not Thiago? I have to make choices

Oh no.

Not much went to plan for Atlanta United in the first half of their 2-0 loss to LA Galaxy, and a moderately better second half couldn’t save the overall game. Gonzalo Pineda went with an unchanged starting XI in favor of consistency as opposed to fielding Josef Martinez and Thiago Almada, and the team simply came out flat.

LA made Atlanta pay early when Chicharito went wide open in the box and drilled Rocco Rios Novo from eight yards. The rebound was exploited and from then on the Five Stripes continued the game. Pineda made substitutions similar to those he made against Orlando, albeit earlier, but a decisive goal never happened. Josef and Almada injected some energy in the second half, but the Galaxy seemed content to weather the storm and try to hit the counter, which is exactly what happened when they scored their second in the final moments of the game.

Gonzalo Pineda certainly had some tough questions to answer regarding the line-up choices, but what’s also concerning is the team’s lack of spirit in the first half. Pineda mentioned that the formation Galaxy used was not what the team expected, but unfortunately the backlash didn’t come until halftime.

It seems inappropriate to beat a dead horse, so watch what Pineda and Matheus Rossetto had to say about the match below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda

On whether old problems with the team have surfaced and why he hasn’t started Thiago Almada:

“I feel like it was a bit different. I felt the change LA Galaxy made in their form with a 4-3-3 was maybe a big factor. They played in 4 -4-2 most games Colorado last game they play 4-3-3 but we expect more from 4-4-2 I felt in the first half we don’t couldn’t really control the game the way we wanted to. The second half was much better. We were pushing, we were trying to get into those areas and I felt we weren’t locked in the final third. Why not? Thiago? I have to make choices. I have to make choices with the back five we were playing, we were looking to solidify the back five and that means I have three places up front. I decided for Luiz [Araujo]Marcelin [Moreno] and Ronaldo [Cisneros] but we’ll try to check out the movie and try to see if we could have done better. I think so, individually, that Thiago was very good tonight. I will tactically check if it could have helped us also at that time.

On the team’s conservative nature in the first half:

“That wasn’t really the plan. We weren’t trying to do that, it’s just, again, the tactical form change they made with the 4-3-3, we didn’t have much control because they have a additional midfielder, basically. We were busy with the three midfielders they had and a central midfielder, Ronaldo had to drop a bit more. We were just waiting for that visual cue to press with our full-backs and wingers at the same time, but we weren’t right about that. It was just to try to establish a confrontation line, a middle block, hard to beat and from there start our pressing but we were never able to do that. What you saw in the first half was not the plan. It was, I would say, credit to LA and the good tactics they put in place. I felt in the second half we fixed that and that was really what we wanted to do from the very beginning.

If the team can play as they did in the second half for 90 minutes:

“Well, I think we’ve always done that. Orlando was a game we controlled for almost 90 minutes. In the second half, we put a little more pressure with two attackers but we controlled the whole match. New York was more of an even game, but I felt we were creating a lot of chances against New York as well. Then New York Red Bulls, I felt for 80 minutes we were the best team on the field. Toronto was, again, a similar game. More equal, but we were more in control in Toronto, so I disagree that we only play 45 minutes. I feel like the whole game, or most of the games, we controlled the game and tried to attack. That attacking football you can see in the number of chances we create in every game, home or away. We create a lot of chances, it’s just that we’re not as clinical as we should have been. But we will continue to try to create more chances than the opponent.

Atlanta United midfielder Matheus Rossetto:

On how this team can get better starts in games:

” It’s hard to say. They scored an early goal and it turned out to be difficult for us. We come here to play LA Galaxy on the road, they’re a good team. But I think in the second half we started better and were able to take control of the game. This is how we have to start. Try to have the same mentality and play the way we wanted to play from the start. We are all working together to try to do that. So we have to take this as a learning experience and try to improve.

Why it was difficult to control the midfield in the first half and missing Thiago Almada in that half:

“In the first half it was difficult for us. We tried to put pressure sometimes, but they always seemed to have a free man. We were struggling with that. We talked about it with Gonzalo (Pineda) and maybe be changing the formation. As for Thiago (Almada), he’s a great player. He’s a very important player for us. When he came on in the second half, with Josef (Martinez) and Marcelino (Moreno) and the guys of our attack. We had more power offensively. We have a lot of competition. Gonzalo cannot choose to play against everyone from the start, so everyone is fighting for places. Of course, Thiago is a great player and I hope we can all play together on the pitch in the next game.

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