HEAD COACH CALEB PORTER
On whether he felt happy with the result against Atlanta United
Yeah. I mean, we went toe-to-toe with arguably the best - one or two – team in the League and the best team in the League last year. They’ve won two trophies already and they’ve been on a really good run of form. So for us to come in here and go toe-to-toe, to press them high, turn them over at times playing transition and then do what we need to win – which is what we did at the end of the game: absorb a bit, you know there’s going to be a push and we’re going to manage, [sending] a lot of numbers forward, a lot of balls in the box, and I thought we did that and that’s what good teams do. So, I’m really proud. It has been 10 games and one loss and that killer instinct that I’ve been looking for, we sure showed that today.
On whether the win against Atlanta United shows Crew SC’s improvement and how the Crew measures up to top teams in the League
Yes. Look at their talent, their players, their budget. Look at everything that they are- the trophies they’ve won in a short amount of time – look at the guy that just walked by me [Josef Martinez] which is the best striker in the League. He gets one chance and it’s a goal in the back of the net. You think “Oh, this is the difference,” right? And second half we didn’t back down, we kept going and we got chances right off the bat. Should’ve scored the first one early, we scored an early one shortly thereafter and we kept going, you know? At 1-1 we didn’t sit back, we kept going and played to win. There have been some games where, like you mentioned, that we did play not to lose, and I think that’s the wrong mentality. Good teams play to win, and good teams do what they need to [do] to win, specially if you’re not one of the top budget teams. Every team in the world that’s not a top budget team, they have an identity, but they have to do different things to win games, and I thought we did that today.
On finding Crew SC’s identity and what the team can learn from the remaining matches this season
You saw on display the pressing and the transition. Those are things that will be in our DNA moving forward. To do that you have to have personnel to execute that, you have to have guys that have a killer instinct and guys that are aggressive and guys that cover ground. And Luis Diaz showed why we need that type of player to execute that style and I think there were times this year earlier in the year where we couldn’t do it and now it’s starting to come to life a little bit more. But I think, again, the biggest thing is we’ve been so injured all year and so we can talk about how we’ve improved a lot, but we’ve really just been a lot more healthy and we’ve made some great signings. [Technical Director] Pat Onstad and [Crew SC President and General Manager] Tim Bezbatchenko have really stepped up and done a great job of finding guys that fit the way we want to play and obviously when we have guys that can execute, I’ll get them to execute.
DEFENDER JONATHAN MENSAH
On what the win against Atlanta United says about Crew SC and the fight displayed by Crew SC players
The game plan worked, you know? We stuck to the game plan and we were aggressive from the start. Even though we went down a goal we didn’t back down, we kept pushing and we got a big one today.
On the confidence that the win against Atlanta United gives Crew SC in its remaining regular-season matches
We take it game after game. After this game we rest, we go back to the training grounds and prepare for the next game. Three [regular-season] games to go, we’re going to take it game after game.
On keeping playoffs hopes alive and how important that is to the team’s mentality after a tough season
We need to keep going. Even though, like you said, it’s been a tough season for us, but we don’t need to say “oh we didn’t make playoffs” or “we got to make playoffs so, okay”. We’re still going to keep going. Three games left [and] we can still make playoffs. If we can win our three games it’s going to happen for us, so we have to keep going.
On how big of a statement the away win against Atlanta United is
It’s a great result for us: defending champions, we beat them home and away this season. It’s great for the team and going forward it gives us a lot of confidence to keep going.
MIDFIELDER DAVID GUZMAN
On the personal importance of celebrating his 50th MLS start with a victory over Atlanta United
It’s very important because it’s hard to play many games here due to the competitiveness of the League and has a lot of good players. Having had the chance to start I’m happy because of the win and there’s nothing better than celebrating 50 starts with a victory.
On the importance of the away win over Atlanta United
It was important for us. We had to win because we want to get into the playoffs so we have to win wherever we play. We now have one game at home. Today it was a big game against the champions and they’re a really good team, but we were well organized. During the week we worked hard and today we showed on the field that we could win.
On how much Crew SC has grown this season
Winning was important because we had been working well, but the scores were not reflecting that. Today we played a great game, we were well organized and applied ourselves. I think we can get into the playoffs if we continue to play like this.