Pity Martinez – Atlanta United – fired up
USA Today Sports Images

Atlanta's Pity Martinez clears the air after dispute with Frank de Boer

MARIETTA, Ga. – So far in his debut season with Atlanta United, it’s safe to say that Pity Martinez’s performances have left fans, coaches and the player himself frustrated and wanting.

In a press conference following a 2-1 win over the Montreal Impact on June 29, De Boer stated that Martinez’s risky passing was becoming “a danger to the team,” thus requiring the manager to substitute him at the hour mark.

After Atlanta’s 3-3 draw against the New York Red Bulls last Sunday, De Boer said in response to a question about subbing Martinez again in the 63rd minute, “We have to win duels, and in my point of view, he did not do enough … I want not 10, or nine, or eight men who work very hard, everybody has to work hard, especially in these kinds of games.”

Thursday evening, an interview with Martinez emerged from Fox Sports Argentina in which the reigning South American Player of the Year expressed frustration and disappointment with the way De Boer spoke about his performances after recent games.

Friday, Martinez held media availability at the team’s training ground for the first time in more than two months, where he clarified his grievances.

“It bothers me because that's something I think he should've said behind closed doors to me before he said it to the media,” Martinez told Atlanta media through a translator Friday. “Because whatever he says also has a lot of repercussions everywhere, because people are going to see it. I think, really, he should've just said it to me in private and it's something we can talk about.”

De Boer, who spoke to reporters prior to Martinez on Friday, said he doesn’t regret speaking what he considers to be truthful statements to the media after matches.

“Everybody knows I take players out when I see they are injured. They are, in that moment, a danger for the team,” said De Boer. “That can happen after 60 minutes. That's why you see coached make changes after 60, 70 minutes, because you see somebody who's tired not do his job anymore — what you expect. And that's also normal.”

Both Martinez and De Boer met with Atlanta United VP and technical director Carlos Bocanegra Friday morning, but the two did not speak to each other directly. Martinez said he does indeed speak with De Boer regularly.

“We talk often, but that comment that he said after the game [Sunday], he didn't have a chance to tell me,” said Martinez. “So those are just things that happen, but it's done and we have to move forward.

“We have a good relationship. It's just what he said that bothered me, but that was it,” added Martinez. “He's the coach, and everyone has to get to understand his style of play and what he wants and we have to follow his orders. I'm aligned with that. The only thing that bothered me is that some things are better left behind closed doors.”

The timing of the drama isn’t ideal for De Boer’s side, who have a difficult run of games coming over the course of the next month, including matches against LAFC, the LA Galaxy, D.C. United, New York City FC and Portland.

That stretch kicks off Sunday at CenturyLink Field against the Seattle Sounders, who currently sit in third place in the Western Conference standings (3:55 pm ET | ESPN in US, TSN1 in Canada).


LIVE YOUR COLORS: Download the free MLS app - The official MLS app gets a major update for 2019, making it easier than ever to keep up with your favorite club, check standings, watch videos and much more.