Gregg Berhalter vs ATL
USA Today

POST-MATCH QUOTES | #MINvCLB

HEAD COACH GREGG BERHALTER

On how his team is able to stay patient …

"We had an objective. We wanted to make it difficult for Minnesota. In the first half, we had excellent defensive shape, the ball movement was good, and we were making it difficult. Focus was on 0-0 ahead at halftime and coming into the locker room we achieved our objective. We thought that there would be space opening up in the second half. We weren’t pleased with the counter-attack in the first half, we thought that we could have been more effective on certain opportunities. So, that was our focus. In the second half it was determination, it was a lot of grit, but it was also some pretty good counter-attacks. We certainly had an opportunity to make two or three goals."

On how it feels to get the team’s first clean sheet since May …

"I think it’s good. The thing about us is we play a certain way that will concede some chances at times. We don’t want to give up silly goals. We don’t want to give up easy goals. A lot of the time we’re the aggressor; we look to stretch the opponent, open up the opponent and at times it leaves you vulnerable. Tonight, I think the effort from … when you talk about guys like Lalas Abubakar, who made his debut, Alex Crognale, who hasn’t played in a while and we had to sub Josh Williams in. We had a couple of wingbacks who played a good game. Overall, it was a collective effort, and I think that’s what feels good."

On having players come off the bench and whether or not that was just to try out a few new faces …

"No, I think it was tactical in terms of we knew we had a weapon on the bench. We had Ethan [Finlay] and Kekuta [Manneh] in those positions early in the game, but we knew we had a weapon that we could bring in to create opportunities. Especially as the opponent got tired. Justin [Meram] did a good job in doing that and was unlucky not to score."

On how much Finlay and Manneh’s defensive efforts contributed to the shutout …

"It was big. They both ran and ran and ran. Both Kekuta, Ethan and Ola [Kamara] up top did a very, very good job of closing down, making it hard on defenders. You could understand why at times it wasn’t energy for the counter-attack, but that was going to be the key to the game—locking them when they lost the ball."

On if he’s expecting to see many changes before the next match …

"Could be. There’s potential for that. All we want to do is make our team better. We want to improve our team. If that means making a change, we’ll do so. If it means using these guys, we’ll do that, but we want to improve."

On how he’s seen Manneh continue to come into games with hunger …

"He has a great poise in front of the goal, and when he gets the ball you know he’s going to stay calm and collected and that helps him score goals. I think today was a good example of that. We see it in training all the time. He’s very calm in front of goal. He can pick out his spots and makes it difficult for goalies."

MIDFIELDER & CAPTAIN WIL TRAPP

On the defensive side of things …

"I think today was a great testament just to our collective work. We had a completely new lineup. We had a lot of guys who hadn’t played maybe in a starting role. And I think we did a good job with staying as cohesive as possible, shifting together, and that’s a lot of work we put on the training field. It’s a mentality. It’s a mentality to communicate. To always have the guy next to you back."

On Minnesota back line being frail …

"We had a slight idea that they could be playing a five back. But you just never know. I think we did a pretty good job with our game plan of being flexible, had they of had a four back or five guys in the back. So, getting guys forward, moving our center backs forward into positions where it made it difficult for them to step out was a big advantage for us."

On Columbus’ slow start …

"I think the first half as well as the second half we wanted to try to get after them in transition. We play a five back as well, so it wasn’t going to be easy for us to dominate the ball in their defensive half of the field and really overload. So, winning the ball deep and moving forward was an advantage for us and I thought we did a pretty good job."

On controlling Minnesota’s open play ...

"I think we did a good job of having numbers in the box and were able to clear crosses. So that was a huge advantage for us."

On if the clean sheet feels good …

"Always!"

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