Quotes & Notes: Timbers @ Real Salt Lake, Oct. 22, 2011

Spencer: I felt very very unlucky to not win the game tonight.

Quotes: Portland Timbers at Real Salt Lake

Portland Timbers Quotes

Head Coach John Spencer
On whether or not the game was important to his club:
“I disagree about there being nothing to play for. I think you have to play for a lot of pride. The playoffs have passed us now but our fans, as you’ve seen tonight, traveled in the hundreds again to support us. So there’s something to play for. When people are paying to watch and paying for season tickets, I think you have to come prepared and ready to play and I felt very very unlucky to not win the game tonight. We came to one of the most difficult places in the league and were able to play for long periods of time.”

On the club’s expectations of players and the coaching staff:
“They had to play that way because I demanded before the game that they play that way. I never take the foot off the gas, that’s what I’m like as an individual, and I’ve always been like that. You’ve got to place the demands on your team to play that way and we’ve never done anything different. We still did our video analysis before the game. If you don’t play that way, the way the coaching staff demands and the way the owner wants the team to fight every game, then you’re not going to be here for very long. I’m not going to be here (very long) if I let them do that.”

On coming back in the second half:
“We could have sat back and just felt bad for ourselves and thought ‘Here we go again, we’re going to lose another game on the road,’ but they didn’t. They kept on going and they kept on going. Credit to them; I think that everybody that’s connected to the club tonight has got to be proud of that performance.”

On Portland’s supporters groups and the effect they have on the team:
“Our fans are, by far, the best in the league. That’s why we can’t have nights off. Yeah, we don’t play well every night – no team does in the league, regardless of how good you are – but you’ve got to be able to fight every single week. I think we showed tonight that we have that resilience. It gives me great pleasure to think what could happen in the future with this group.”

Midfielder Jack Jewsbury
On the young Portland team fighting back to earn a late tie:
“I think it says a lot about the class of this locker room. We’ve got a group of guys that has fought no matter what the circumstances are. Obviously, we could have said ‘season’s over’ and not given the same amount of effort as we have all year. I thought we played really well tonight.”

On the Timbers’ first MLS season and the future of the club:
“The reality of it is that you are an expansion team and, for pretty much every guy in this locker room, it’s their first year to play together. Getting quality games, getting games where there’s a lot of pressure on you, I think is key in terms of building to the future. That’s hard to say because this year we had the goal of making the playoffs and we fell just a bit short, but I think that we’re proud of where we’ve come.

“Coach said at the end of the game that earlier on in the season, if we’d gone down 1-0 at halftime, maybe something like Colorado in the first game happens, whereas now we fight back and we continue to play our style and get ourselves back in the game. I think we’re excited about where this team is going.  We’ve got some unbelievable young talent on this squad, as you’ve seen. I don’t think some of them even know how good they are. When that comes to fruition it will be exciting to see.”

On the support from the Portland fans who travel to every game:
“It’s been unbelievable all year and it’s not just when we’re at home. Every road game they’re always there and we know exactly where they are and after the game we make sure we go over and give them a little clap because they’ve meant so much to us this year with our home record. They’ve spurred us on and kept us going.”

Real Salt Lake Quotes

Defender Chris Wingert
On the play of RSL heading into the playoffs:
“We got to win one soon, eventually, so I guess the best time to do it is in the playoffs. For the most part, these past two weeks we’ve been playing our butts off. It’s a shame at the end we gave up that goal. It would have been better for morale had we won.”

On moving into postseason play:
“There were a lot of good things in that game and hopefully we can carry that into the playoffs. Whether we play Wednesday or Saturday, it’s going to be tough so we need to bring that same intensity.”

On what the team did well against the Timbers:
“What we did amazing was, when we did turn the ball over, we won it back right away. They would try to play out and our guys just swarmed and won the ball, and we were very dangerous because of that. I thought we did a great job with that, but you have to focus for 90 minutes not 89.”

Goalkeeper Nick Rimando
On the 1-1 draw:
“We put in 90-plus minutes with great work and we turned off on one play and it cost us. We need to be mature enough to win this game and we should have won this game. The playoffs are right around the corner, and if this happens in the playoffs it will cost us.”

On the feeling in the locker room after the game:
“Right away it’s down. Whenever you give points away like that at home, in front of your fans on Fan Appreciation Night, people are going to be down, understandably. Tomorrow I think we’ll feel good about the performance and look at the tape and see all the good things we did and we’ll go on from there.”

On RSL’s regular season:
“It was up and down for sure, with injuries and call-ups. We had our great streak, our worst streak, and I think right now we are almost where we want to be. We’re getting some great players back just in time for the playoffs and all these streaks go away once you start the playoffs.”

Notes:

  • The Timbers’ 11 wins during their inaugural MLS campaign is tied for fourth on the overall list of wins by and MLS expansion team with the 2006 Houston Dynamo.
     
  • Portland’s Starting XI on Saturday featured just three different players – Eric Alexander, James Marcelin and Lovel Palmer – from the starting group that faced Real Salt Lake back in April at JELD-WEN Field.
     
  • The Timbers finished the season with a three-match unbeaten run on the road, starting with a 1-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Oct. 2 and Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at D.C. United.
     
  • Portland garnered points from five of its last eight road matches, with a 1-3-4 record in those games Portland finished the season with a 2-9-6 mark on the road.
     
  • The Timbers finished their season series against Real Salt Lake with an unbeaten 1-0-1 record, taking four of a possible six points from the 2009 MLS Cup champs.
     
  • All three of Futty Danso’s goals this season resulted in points for the Timbers. He also scored the game-winning goal against Philadelphia on May 6 and the game-tying goal at Seattle on May 14.
     
  • In 2011, the Timbers went 7-6-4 against Western Conference opponents.
     
  • When allowing the first goal of a match, the Timbers were 0-13-4 in 2011.
     
  • The last time the Timbers conceded the first goal and came back to earn a point was June 19 in a 3-3 draw with New York at JELD-WEN Field.
     
  • Saturday’s match marked just the second time this season in which the Timbers fought back to earn a point after trailing at halftime; the club was 0-10-2 in 2011, when trailing at the break.
     
  • Forward Kenny Cooper reached a MLS career milestone Saturday, surpassing 10,000 minutes played. He finished as the Timbers’ leading goal scorer in 2011, netting eight goals, and was the only player on the club to appear in all 34 regular-season matches.
     
  • Portland wore its primary green-white-green kit for the 23rd time in 2011 and posted an overall record of 9-8-6 when wearing it.
     
  • Captain and midfielder Jack Jewsbury took all five penalty kick attempts for the Timbers in 2011 and converted three for goals; both of his missed PK attempts hit the woodwork. Jewsbury finished as the Timbers’ leading scorer (22pts) and assist leader (8).
     
  • In their final 10 matches of the season, the Timbers posted a record of 4-2-4 (16pts) (since Aug. 20), one of their best 10-match stretches of the season. In their opening 10 matches of the campaign (March 19-May 21), the Timbers earned 17 points from a 5-3-2 record in that span.
     
  • The Timbers posted a perfect record on the road in October, going 1-0-2. Overall, the Timbers were 1-1-2 in October.
     
  • Defender David Horst came on as a second-half sub for the Timbers and played against his former club. Horst was a member of Real Salt Lake for three seasons (2008-10) before joining the Timbers through the 2010 MLS Expansion Draft.
     
  • Defender Eric Brunner led the Timbers in minutes played in 2011 with 2,705.
     
  • After missing the first five matches of the season due to injury, goalkeeper Troy Perkins started 28 straight matches to finish the season, leading the club in consecutive starts.