CCL

CONCACAF Champions League | Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 4, Alpha United FC 1 | Aug. 19, 2014

Timbers open CONCACAF Champions League tournament with decisive road win

Providence Stadium Guyana

Photo Credit: 
Portland Timbers photo

Portland Timbers Quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
General thoughts on the match:
“Obviously, I was very pleased with the result, but even more so the performance. I thought it was very professional from start to finish. Comprehensive. We scored four goals, scored two great goals in the first half. It was tough to give up that goal at the end of the first half, but not much we could’ve done about that, that was a world-class strike. I really liked our response in the second half. A lot of teams giving up a late goal to go 2-1 start to scramble and we put the game away with a third goal and then even went another one to score four. I’m very pleased with my group, obviously we knew it was going to be a tough test dealing with some conditions we don’t always deal with, but I do want to credit the Alpha United side, I thought they were a good side. They made it a game going 2-1 and I thought in the second half they had a few chances that could’ve fallen, but in the end I thought our maturity and our experience – not in this competition, but in difficult games [was a difference]. Game in and game out in Major League Soccer there are no easy games and we talked about that going into this game. We’re in midseason form and I think our organization, our fitness showed and our mental toughness as well. I thought that was the difference. Again, I want to credit Alpha United and wish them all the best. I want to thank Guyana for their hospitality here, we’ve enjoyed the short trip, but we’re also looking forward to getting back home.”

On the importance of starting strong:
“In any tournament, the first game is crucial getting off to a good start. We knew because of Olimpia defeating Alpha United and getting three points that this was an important match and not only did we want to get three points, but we wanted to build some goal differential if we could, but first and foremost the goal was three points. We were able to accomplish what we set out to do and I think it’s great because we get off to a good start and now we have two games at home versus Olimpia and Alpha and then we close out with Olimpia on the road. Hopefully, we can get three points in each of our next two home games which will put us in a great position going into that last game on the road.”

On managing the roster between MLS regular-season play and CCL games:
“We’ve been building toward this really over the last two years. Any top club, their reward for good work is more work by being in competitions like this. When you’re in competitions like this, you have to manage them and you need depth to do that. We sent 10 guys home, 10 guys that played in the last [MLS regular-season] game went back to Portland and for us to basically put out a whole new group of 10 guys really shows just how deep a team we have.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Steve Zakuani
On the match:
“I think we did a very professional job. We’ve had a long trip here and the pitch condition wasn’t the best for us – we’ve only been on it yesterday so we weren’t used to it. I think in the first half we managed the game well and got two goals. They came back to 2-1 and in the second half we killed the game off with the next two goals. Leaving here with a 4-1 victory, you can’t ask for more.”

On the overall experience playing a CCL match in Guyana:
“I think it was good. That’s one thing this competition does, I’ve played in it before, it gives you new experiences against teams from different countries you never play against usually and I think they [Alpha United] did a good job and [we] came in not knowing what to expect. We were tested, they were a good team. It was a game where 4-1 looks easy, but it wasn’t an easy game, it was a tough game.”

On scoring his first goal in a Timbers uniform:
“It feels good. Always to score feels good. The main thing was for the team to get three points, we spoke about that before the game. Getting that first goal, wherever it came from, was the most important thing. I’m glad to be able to score it and we built off that. Hopefully there are many more to come for myself and for the team as well.”

Portland Timbers midfielder/defender Jack Jewsbury
On the match:
“It’s a tough place to play against a very good team and to get a result like that, we’re happy with it.”

On if the long travel affected the team:
“We’re used to traveling in MLS, going across country. The travel went really well after our MLS game on the weekend and the guys knew it was going to be a tough challenge, but at the end of the day we stepped up and had a good performance.”

On executing the game plan and what the win means moving forward:
“It just puts us in a good place. You want to start off strong, so we did that tonight. We knew the Honduran team [Olimpia] came in here and got a goal so we wanted to try to win the game first off and then if we could separate ourselves a little bit in the goal differential we thought that was important, too.”

Overall thoughts on the trip:
“I think overall it was a good experience for the team. Things like this, more than anything are good bonding events for the team. We came together tonight in a tough place to play against a very good team and came away with a very good result.”

Notes:

·         Tuesday’s match marked Portland’s first-ever CONCACAF Champions League game. The Timbers qualified for the competition by virtue of finishing with the best record in the conference opposite the 2013 MLS Supporters’ Shield winner last year.

·         Midfielder Steve Zakuani tallied the club’s first-ever goal in CONCACAF Champions League play, netting the opening goal in Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Alpha United FC. The goal was Zakuani’s first in all competitions for the Timbers since joining the team prior to the 2014 MLS season.

·         Zakuani’s goal was his second-career CCL goal as he previously tallied a goal in the 2012-13 edition of the tournament for Seattle Sounders FC against CD Marathón on Oct. 25, 2012.

·         Nine Timbers players (Adi, Alhassan, Kah, Jewsbury, Nanchoff, Peay, Powell, Urruti and Zemanski) made their CONCACAF Champions League debuts on Tuesday night.

·         Defender Alvas Powell recorded his first career goal and assist for the Timbers on Tuesday night.

·         All 11 of Portland’s starters on Tuesday night against Alpha United FC have seen playing time in 2014 MLS regular-season matches.

·         Only Fanendo Adi, Maximiliano Urruti, Rodney Wallace and Steve Zakuani saw action in both Saturday’s regular-season match against New England and Tuesday’s CCL game at Alpha United FC.

·         Zakuani and Wallace each made their eighth career CCL appearances on Tuesday night and first CCL appearances for Portland.

·         The Timbers have won four of their last six matches across all competitions, including three of their last five MLS regular-season matches.