Nevertheless it wasn’t like that.
As his Atlanta United gamers put together for Saturday’s MLS Cup last in opposition to the Portland Timbers, the final recreation Martino will coach with the membership, his gamers are reflecting on a legacy Martino is leaving of humility, sacrifice and an easy model that has made him a beloved determine within the 5 Stripes’ locker room.
“I feel the factor that in all probability caught out to me essentially the most is simply how humble and the way trustworthy he’s,” defender Greg Garza mentioned. “Off the sector, he’s a man you possibly can in all probability speak to concerning the recreation or discuss something with and he’ll offer you a straight reply – and let you know what he’s feeling or what he thinks about you on the dot. There’s nothing he hides.
“He’s the sort of individual that may sit within the center seat on the aircraft on journey days, and he doesn’t complain about it. He doesn’t wish to make himself really feel a bit extra particular than any of us. He’s part of this group, part of this crew and we will go away him legacy on Saturday.”
Garza is one in every of a number of gamers Martino and the crew’s entrance workplace introduced in to assist construct a crew that made the ultimate in its second yr of existence. He arrived on mortgage final season from Membership Tijuana and signed a long-term deal after a profitable first marketing campaign. There are the MLS veterans like Michael Parkhurst and Jeff Larentowicz, the South American rising stars like Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez. There are younger gamers like Julian Gressel, acquired within the draft and U.S. nationwide crew gamers like Brad Guzan who got here again from Europe. It is all held collectively by Martino and his philosophy of not solely having an important crew on the sector but in addition having good individuals working collectively off it.
“I’ve seen groups the place there are dangerous relationships within the locker room however they’ll go away that apart and win on the sector. For me, I’m not glad with any a part of that,” Martino mentioned at a information convention. “It’s essential to have group of folks that get alongside effectively, the place the individuals are available to work and do it in a contented manner, that they take pleasure in being on the membership.
“And it’s not simply the gamers, however the teaching workers, the trainers additionally, the kit-man, the individuals who work across the membership. In these two years, we’ve been in a position to work in a wonderful setting with distinctive services. I feel that good vitality over the course of time transmits itself on to the sector.”
Whereas Atlanta’s gamers mentioned they’re assured the setting fostered by Martino nonetheless can thrive when he leaves after the season, they will nonetheless miss the 56-year-old as he strikes on to new pursuits. A number of experiences say Martino is ready to signal a deal to educate the Mexico nationwide crew. If true, his gamers say El Tri are getting a coach that’s humble but in addition speaks clearly and instantly.
“He’s a wonderful supervisor. He has a number of good values as an individual. He makes issues very clear with quick and direct messages,” middle again Leandro Gonzalez Pírez mentioned. “On the enjoying discipline, it’s the identical. He speaks about engaged on ways very clearly and is aware of quite a bit about soccer, so we’re going to overlook him quite a bit.”
Requested to single out just a few traits he’ll miss concerning the supervisor, midfielder Miguel Almiron struggled to pinpoint one factor. “I feel I’m going to overlook the whole lot about Tata,” he mentioned. “Not simply me, however my teammates, the followers in Atlanta. He’s an important individual, and as everybody is aware of he’s an important supervisor.”
A fantastic supervisor who, by his personal admission, has struggled in finals. It is clear Martino has left an enormous mark on Atlanta and shall be remembered fondly each for his crew’s on-field achievements in addition to his character and the way he handled these round him in Atlanta. But, it might really feel a bit empty if he is not in a position to carry MLS Cup together with his gamers Saturday.
As Garza mentioned, the gamers do hope to place silverware within the trophy cupboard and add to Martino’s private haul. However successful the league additionally serves as its personal motivation.
“There is not any added urgency due to Tata leaving or the rumors relating to any of our gamers or something like that,” Guzan mentioned. “There’s urgency as a result of, once you’re in a cup last, you by no means know once you’ll have the chance to be in one other one. ”
Nonetheless, it will be an exquisite last second for Martino, a prize for beginning what he and lots of others right here really feel shall be a legacy of enticing soccer, a robust bond with the followers and, above all, a successful crew.
“I appreciated the concepts and ambition the franchise had and I shortly began to comply with with that very same concept,” Martino mentioned. “Every thing that has occurred since reveals the readability Atlanta United has had with the best way it desires to work and the trail it got down to comply with, and that’s what’s taking place.
“The franchise’s expectations continue to grow, because it’s solely been two years. I’m stunned by the magnitude of the whole lot, however not for what’s occurred as a result of what has occurred was the very first thing they put to me.”
A imaginative and prescient of successful that the supervisor has carried out with humility and love for his gamers. All that is left is to attract up a successful recreation plan to prime Portland and spark a send-off celebration for the ages.