Now let's dive in a little deeper on team captain Francisco Calvo's fire comments after the game. You can read what he said in my gamer or see this tweet, but I think it's interesting to see what others on the team had to say.
First off, coach Adrian Heath was asked on Friday if he used the Atlanta games as a measuring stick for his squad, and here is what he had to say:
"Well, I think it’s a little bit unrealistic comparison at this moment in time," Heath said. "I'd like to think in two or three years' time when we've been in the stadium, we look around, we've maybe got three [designated players], and we've got quality. At this moment in time, the harsh reality of it is, they’ve probably brought three of the best young players into the league. That’s where it is."
But after his team's gritty but ultimately unsuccessful performance Saturday, Heath had a bit of a different answer when asked if the spending gap between the two teams was noticeable on the pitch.
"Well, did you see a gulf in the teams today?" Heath said. "No, I didn’t think there was. And it’s up to us. It’s up to every other team to make sure that you do compete. And I thought we did more than compete today. So we’re the better team."
Winger Ethan Finlay said Calvo isn't alone in his pursuit of widespread respect for the Loons, and it's something that is echoed throughout the locker room.
"Before they even have the red card, we were already dictating the play. We were already putting them on the back foot," Finlay said. "And we heard plenty about Atlanta at the end of last year, and we’ve heard plenty about Atlanta heading into this year. So it’s a very good team. Don’t get me wrong, but we’ve proven that we can play with some of the better teams in this league. And tonight is disappointing, because we think that we are a good enough team to beat them. I think it puts us behind where we’d like to be. We wanted to stay undefeated at home, and it’s disappointing to have our first loss here. But we’ve got two weeks to regroup, and we’ve got a tough stretch ahead of us. Not the way we wanted to end March, but I think we’ve gotten more points than we’ve had in the past, so we’re moving forward."
Forward Christian Ramirez said his team thrives off playing with that underdog mentality. And gaining more respect in the league is essentially going to come down to the Loons' own performance.
"More wins," Ramirez said. "I think that starts to build on that. Winning fixes a lot of things."
Rewatch my Facebook Live below or click here. Also enjoy a clip from Heath's postgame presser. I'll have a follow-up for Monday that discusses United's bye week approach, as the next game isn't until April 14 at Portland. And then new signing Darwin Quintero's introductory press conference is Monday afternoon, so expect coverage from that!