The Red Bulls had a rough time against Atlanta United as Daniel Royer (left) can attest to. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
HARRISON, N.J. — Jesse Marsch wasn’t particularly too enamored about the conduct of Atlanta United Sunday.
The Red Bulls head coach felt the MLS expansion team went out of its way to kick his players in their scoreless draw at Red Bull Arena.
“They just decided that they wanted to kick us almost every time,” Marsch said. “Referee doesn’t want to hand out yellows, so then they are allowed to kick [them] more.”
Marsch felt that forward Yamil Asad could have received a red card for his rough play.
“Could have been a red card on Asad,” he said. “Should have been a second yellow when he throws the ball away. Their bench is yelling to kick our guys, okay. So Martino is yelling in Spanish to kick our players.
“I understand it’s a good team and they are the darlings of the league right now, but I don’t think that you should be able to come into a place and behave in that manner and not have some kind of recourse. So it’s a shame because our team really went after it.”
Asked to reply about Marsch’s comments, Atlanta head coach Tata Martino replied, “No, absolutely nothing.”
The Red Bulls went from a 3-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps last week to a scoreless draw against Atlanta. Yet, Marsch felt the team’s momentum heading into the MLS playoffs were not hindered at all.
“I thought we played great,” he said. “I thought we were the better team. Thought we dominated almost every aspect of the game. It was a little bit shaky in the start but once we cranked things up, we took over the game. And the shame is that, you know, they just decided that they wanted to kick us almost every time.”
The Red Bulls struggled in the early going, but Marsch necessarily did not buy that.
“I don’t think that we were on the back foot,” he said. “The game was open, right. There were little loose balls in the midfield and we weren’t clean enough in certain moments and yet we were still creating some advantages.
“As the game went on, you saw our team gather courage, gather sharpness and gather momentum, and you know, it’s too bad, because they deserved the win. They went after the game in a big way and played great. Played great. Especially second half. Wow, wow.”