Atlanta United exit interviews: Hector Villalba

Nov 22, 2017
Branden Camp
Atlanta United forward Hector Villalba (15) pushes the ball up field during the first half of a MLS soccer game against Montreal Impact at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Atlanta. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL

Atlanta United held its season-ending media session on Monday at the training ground in Marietta.

Over the next few days, I’ll post a few stories from interviews with Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra and players Michael Parkhurst, Brad Guzan, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Andrew Carleton, Chris Goslin, Josef Martinez, Hector Villalba, Julian Gressel and Miguel Almiron.

Here is an excerpt from Hector Villalba session following the team’s inaugural season. The 23-year-old scored 13 goals and had 11 assists:

Q. What’s the No. 1 thing you learned playing under Gerardo Martino this season?

A. To play soccer. Tata sees the game in a different way. That’s a plus that he’s able to show different things that we are then able to do on the field. 

Q. You won Goal of the Year, especially when you were talking about your shooting rating on FIFA?

A. I play a lot of FIFA, and when I play as myself sometimes I’m not able to do that. I tried, but I couldn’t do it again.

Q. Some of the guys who are on loan, decisions either haven’t been made or announced. Make a case for Yamil Asad, for example, why he should be re-signed.

A. I don’t think I have to talk about Yamil. Everything he did this season and his play on the field speaks for itself.

Q. What does the team need to do to win a championship next season?

A. I think we are a really young team and everyone saw that this season. I think we need to get more comfortable playing with each other this season, and show more fight, more force and strength together.

Q. Are you going to grow the beard until they Atlanta United wins a title?

A. No. Just a few more days because my barber is back in Argentina.

Q. Will how the team lost in playoffs be motivation for next season?

A. Motivation? No. I don’t think losing serves as motivation. What serves as motivation is the way this team, in its first season, took on the league and showed what it’s capable of.