United coach de Boer apologizes for calling fans “spoiled”

ATLANTA (AP) — Frank de Boer has apologized for calling Atlanta United fans “spoiled.”

The first-year Atlanta coach issued the apology ahead of Wednesday night’s CONCACAF Champions League match against Monterrey. A native of the Netherlands, he says the word has a different connotation in his homeland. He says he merely meant to imply that United fans have high expectations for a team that won the MLS Cup last season.

De Boer called the fans “a little bit spoiled” after defending MLS champion United gave up a late goal in its home opener Sunday against FC Cincinnati, resulting in a 1-1 tie against the expansion team. There were boos at the final whistle.

After replacing Tata Martino, de Boer is off to a rocky start in Atlanta. The team had one win and one draw through its first five MLS and Champions League games and faced a daunting three-goal deficit in the return leg of its quarterfinal match against Rayados.