Quotes & Notes: Timbers vs. Sporting KC, July 2, 2011

Spencer: Got to get ourselves back on track

Troy Perkins, Timbers vs. SKC, 7.2.11

Photo Credit: 
Photo by Hannah Gustin

Quotes: Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City

Portland Timbers Quotes
Head Coach John Spencer
On the overall result:
"I think we dug ourselves such a deep hole. In the second half, I just thought we were pressing and couldn't get the quality on the final pass that would give us a chance to score a goal. Crosses into the box were too long and we just couldn't get a decent look on goal."

On rookie midfielder Darlington Nagbe's first career goal:
"We've been fortunate in the last month to see three of the best goals in world soccer. (Eric) Hassli's up at Seattle, (Graham) Zusi's against Dallas and that one tonight. If Cristiano Ronaldo scores that goal it's splattered all over the globe. We've been fortunate enough that three MLS players have scored three world-class goals."

On the team's demeanor after dropping another loss:
"We're lacking a lot of confidence right now. When you get out of the gates like we did at home, going five (games) unbeaten, I think guys get the feeling that we could go unbeaten at home all season and they're young. Experience-wise we've got a lot to learn. We've got tremendous young players, if you look at the top young players in the league right now, it took them a while to get where they're at right now."

On trying to right the ship:
"Guys are on the ropes and we've got to get ourselves back on track. The quicker we get back to getting the first goal and getting a little bit of confidence through ourselves again, that's what we need. We've got another big game coming up, one on Thursday, and then one on Sunday against our dearest rivals."

Goalkeeper Troy Perkins
On the result:
"It's quite a hole that we put ourselves in. I didn’t help us out tonight; I think the first goal is my fault. We just have to find ourselves again and what made us a winning team and get back to our winning ways. I think we'll be okay. We're going to get back to work and sort all this out."

On letting in SKC’s first goal:
"I saw it really late. I didn't even see it leave his foot. It was one of those where you see about four sets of legs and then it is there."

On the team’s defense:
"I don't think organization or tactics is the thing that's killing us right now. It's just little mistakes from me all the way up and we've got to put a stop to it."

Midfielder Jack Jewsbury
On his late attempt to tie the game:
"I hit it well, it was close. I would've liked to put it on frame because I thought he was going the other way, but definitely a disappointing result for us."

On Nagbe's goal:
"It was obviously a great strike, very timely. We were pushing to get a goal to get us back within one before halftime and it was a great goal, a great first (career) goal that got us back in the game."

On the result:
"I think they had a gameplan of kind of bunkering in and countering. Once they got their two goals it makes it a bit easier to play that style. We had to continue to press, but we had some chances and just couldn't capitalize."

On how to break the winless streak:
"I think guys need to continue to have that belief that we've got to continue to fight and continue to work hard for one another, knowing that that's the only thing that's going to get us out of this rut."

Midfielder Darlington Nagbe
On his first career goal:
"The ball went in (off a cross) and popped back out, I was going to hit it first-time but it didn't fall right so I just controlled it and hit it and thankfully it went in."

On his reaction:
"It felt great, but being two goals down I felt like it was a good spark (to get back into the game)."

On embracing John Spencer after scoring:
"He told me I was going to score yesterday. That's what it was about."

Sporting Kansas City Quotes

Head Coach Peter Vermes
On the atmosphere at JELD-WEN Field:
"I was saying to the rest of the staff, I think this atmosphere is the best atmosphere we've played in on the road. The crowd was fantastic and we knew this was going to be a very difficult place to play. It's a great environment to play a soccer game. This is what we've been striving for for years in the league."

On his opponent:
"I have a lot of respect for John Spencer. I think he's a good coach. I played against him when we played in the league and I knew their team was going to be hard and competitive, and with the crowd on top of that, it was very difficult. We knew they were going to come out very aggressive and one of the things we said before this game was that we have to match their competitiveness. We knew they were going to compete and we had to make sure that we competed as well."

On getting the early goal:
"What really helped us was getting the early goal – it kind of took the crowd a little bit out of it, and with the second goal even a little more so. C.J. (Sapong) did a good job at turning it, one thing that's very good in his game as a young guy. As a forward he plays very well with his back to the goal and his turn was fantastic. He had a lot of composure to slip that ball into the back of the net."

On giving up a goal before halftime:
"Getting that goal right before half was huge for them. It got their crowd back into it when we started the second half."

Defender Matt Besler,
On his first MLS assist:
"It's nice to help out on the attacking end of things since I play defender, but the big thing for us is the win. It's a huge win for us."

On the atmosphere at JELD-WEN Field:
"I was impressed. Everyone comes here and says they're impressed. They did a good job and I can see why the Timbers have a good record at home."

On the improvement of play for SKC:
"I think just confidence. During the 10-gamee stretch that we had on the road, we thought we were playing well but things just weren't going our way, so it's tough, when you don't get results, to keep your head up and to say, ‘Keep going, it's going to be okay.’ For some reason right now things are clicking and we're very confident."

Forward CJ Sapong 
On the atmosphere at JELD-WEN Field:
"The atmosphere was great. I think it worked for both sides. It's hard not to be pumped up for a game out here. It's definitely top tier in the league. The fans make it a very great experience. Me being a rookie there's only a few places that have left me with the type of feeling that this place left me."

On the early goal:
"I got a ball played into me and felt the defender pressing me to my left shoulder so I just let it run across my body and turn and then just went straight to goal and it snuck in there."

Notes:

  • The Timbers saw their ninth straight sellout crowd for a league match at JELD-WEN Field on Saturday. It’s the team’s 10th sellout overall in its inaugural MLS season as the exhibition against AFC Ajax also drew a capacity crowd.
     
  • Head coach John Spencer made two changes to his Starting XI from the unit that started against FC Dallas last weekend. In his first MLS starting assignment, forward Eddie Johnson was paired with Jorge Perlaza up front, while defender Steve Purdy featured at right back in his first start since April 23 at LA Galaxy.
     
  • Portland falls to 0-8-3 when it concedes the first goal of a match. When scoring the first goal, Portland is a perfect 5-0-0.
     
  • Midfielder Jack Jewsbury played the first eight seasons of his MLS career with Sporting Kansas City before being acquired by Portland in a trade March 1, 2011, for allocation money. Jewsbury, who made 195 appearances during his time with Sporting KC, faced his former club for the first time Saturday.
     
  • Darlington Nagbe’s goal in the 45th minute was just the third goal scored against Sporting KC during its eight-match unbeaten streak.
     
  • The Timbers and Sporting KC met for the first time in league play. The two clubs round out their two-game season series Aug. 17 in Kansas City at the new LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.
     
  • Nagbe, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, is the first rookie to score for the Timbers in their MLS history and, at 20 years 348 days, became the youngest player to score for the franchise.
     
  • Timbers midfielder Sal Zizzo made his 12th substitute appearance of the season Saturday against Sporting KC. His number of sub appearances ranks second in MLS only to the 14 sub appearances by Chicago’s Orr Barouch.
     
  • After missing the last two games due to injury, midfielder James Marcelin returned to the field for the Timbers against Sporting KC, coming on for Nagbe in the second half.
     
  • Sporting KC rookie C.J. Sapong played at JELD-WEN Field last summer as a member of the Premier Development League’s AC Reading United. He faced the Timbers’ Freddie Braun and Jake Gleeson in the 2010 PDL Semifinals between Reading and the Portland Timbers U-23s.
     
  • Earlier this week, the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) named Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi MLS’s Player of the Month for June. Zusi recorded three game-winning assists and two goals last month. He had two shots against the Timbers, including one on frame.
     
  • Sporting Kansas City, one of the founding franchises of MLS, played its 475th regular-season match on Saturday. The Timbers are 16 games into their inaugural MLS season.
     
  • The Timbers have committed 152 fouls in 16 league matches, which is the fewest in MLS. Only one other team has fewer than 180 (San Jose Earthquakes; 168).