Oscar Pareja and Stephen Glass packaged their answers differently, of course, but this wasn’t a case of managers voicing their displeasure or dismay after a scoreless tie.
Just take Pareja’s perspective, for one. The Lions are now 10 games unbeaten and started only a few first-choice players as injuries, international call-ups and squad rotation depleted the ranks. They also pushed their 2020 season series with their Southeast rival to 1W-0L-2D after three prior years of being cast aside.
“No frustration at all,” Pareja said matter-of-factly. “I think the players had another great game. Obviously aiming for three points and our ambition is to have that protagonism and come away, wherever we go to fight, for the three points is there. We had many options to score and not just that, but I think we really dominated the game all the time. [It's] much better when you translate that into three points, but there is no frustration from my end.”
Glass didn’t approach “dominated” territory, but there was certainly satisfaction as the Five Stripes moved to 2W-1L-1D in their last four games.
“I feel like in the second half in particular, I think we were in control of the game,” Glass said. “Any of their opportunities came from breaks. That's before going back and analyzing it, obviously, but I just felt like we were in control of the game and I just felt like the group that was on the pitch had the best chance of winning the game.”
HIGHLIGHTS: Atlanta United 0, Orlando City SC 0
Both teams needed clutch plays from their goalkeepers, most notably Atlanta's Brad Guzan. He made six saves and was twice helped by the woodwork, while Glass called the US men's national team veteran one of the best goalkeepers in the country.
As for Orlando, Brian Rowe admirably filled in for Pedro Gallese with the latter called in for Peru’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers. Rowe, last year’s starter, made three point-preserving saves in his first appearance since Oct. 6, 2019.
In building off this match, both coaches struck an upbeat tune. Atlanta were felled by mental breakdowns earlier this summer, and Glass feels they’ve turned a corner.
“I think the focus of the group's been fantastic, the work rate, the determination not to lose games late, not to make silly mistakes early has improved and I think the whole spirit of the group looks good,” Glass said. “I think it gives a lot to build on.”
“Today the players, they left the field thinking that they left two points on the field,” Pareja said. “That's something important, so they were not so happy with a tie. I say, well, sometimes you take your point and leave, but they weren't happy with it. Not frustrated, but they weren't happy. I think it's what I mention before, they are convinced about what they are and no one has given anything to them. Nobody, nothing. They have earned it through the effort, the discipline, the desire to do the right things."