Atlanta United weren’t thumping their chests after escaping Exploria Stadium with a 1-1 draw against Orlando City SC in Week 10.
But after a late equalizer from substitute Adam Jahn salvaged a point for the Five Stripes in a game in which they were just minutes away from taking none, interim head coach Stephen Glass highlighted the positives while conceding there’s plenty of work to be done in the attack. He feels the resolve his team showed to find a way to tie the game late is something that can pay dividends moving forward.
“I think it’s important that the last goal, [the players got] what they deserved of the game,” Glass said at his postgame video conference. “You saw the resolve, the determination not to get beat. The group of players that were on the pitch at the end injected a little bit of energy and pace in general in the second half. I think we deserved what we got.
“In terms of the importance, we know how important it is to come here and not get beat, as a first. But we want to come here and win. So we’re not over the moon with a point, we know there’s a lot more work to be done, especially in the top half of the pitch.”
Highlights: Orlando 1, Atlanta 1
On the flip side, the late goal marked a deflating end to a match that could have been Orlando’s second straight win over their archrivals.
While the Lions still have the look of an Eastern Conference contender under Oscar Pareja, another win over Atlanta could have acted as a statement that Orlando has indeed flipped the script in what had been a one-sided rivalry up until last weekend’s 3-1 Orlando victory in Atlanta.
Pareja felt that Orlando were the better team on the day, but he admitted Atlanta's wide play and crossing caused them a few issues, including on the tying goal. He hoped the pain from dropping two points would help the team grow and improve in their quest to make their first playoff appearance in club history.
“They’re mature enough right now to absorb the pain they have in the locker room,” Pareja said. “We just have to let it go. It’s normal. I don’t have to say thing to soften their pain. It’s normal. This is football. We have to put the games away when we can. It’s an ongoing process but the players know deep inside that they had a great game today. But we’re not there yet and we have to keep working. Nothing we can say is going to soften their pain today, but just keep working."
“Yes (Orlando were the best team on the field] but that falls short. The words don’t give us the two points we needed today especially with the great first half we had,” he added in Spanish. “We have to correct things during these tough moments. The games show us that to be the big team we want to be we have to get better. We’re on the right path.”