Quotes & Notes - Real Salt Lake: 2, Portland Timbers: 1 - Sept. 22, 2012

Portland led on possession against RSL at 51.6% and won 52.2% of duels

Timbers team photo, Timbers @ RSL, 9.22.12

Photo Credit: 
(Getty Images)

Quotes: Portland Timbers at Real Salt Lake

Portland Timbers Quotes

Timbers general manager/interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson

Overall thoughts on the match…
“I think in the first half, we gave them a little bit too much space, a little too much respect and they’re a very good team in keeping the ball. We kept the ball, but it wasn’t in dangerous areas, and Nick Rimando pulled off an absolutely fabulous save to be honest. We went into the half 2-0 down, but in the second half I think the boys responded very, very well. They were positive in the way that they played. We tried to have a little bit more purpose to our possession, and we were unlucky not to score a second.”

On the team’s performance…
“We kept challenging them. We challenged them at halftime. To come into Salt Lake and be at 2-0 at halftime and wonder how it’s happened…two set pieces and when you’ve got quality people taking them it’s very dangerous. The second one was fantastic. I thought Bright Dike came on and added a bit of life. I would like to do a little more in the final third. I think that comes with maturity. I think the possession stance of this team has changed dramatically from what they were. We look a lot more comfortable with the ball, but results are what it takes.”

On changes that should have been made for the set pieces…
“The first one, we should have pressured. They changed the point of attack on us and we should have had a man charge it. We will address it as a coaching staff and take responsibility for it. The players have worked really hard and we’ll continue to look for ways to move forward.”

On Portland’s struggle to get a win on the road this season …
“Great question…I think with the New York game, the Toronto game, the San Jose game…there have been some good performances on the road. Tonight wasn’t a bad performance from us. There have been teams that have come in here, and done less against Salt Lake, and picked up a better result. As a coaching staff we’ll take responsibility and analyze it, look at what differences we could have made, and see a way to move forward. I think on the road, we just have to keep the ball, especially in places with high altitude. When you come into a place like Salt Lake, you can’t just expect to defend for 90 minutes. I think we did a better job in moving the ball, keeping the ball, and at times we played better soccer, but they capitalized on their chances.”

On moving on from the loss…
“We are maturing as a team. The last time we were here we lost 3-0 and I don’t think we even had a shot. I think the performance tonight was a lot, lot better. Rimando I thought showed his quality tonight. Now we’re playing DC at home, in front of our fans and we still owe them an awful lot, two road games which are very important, and then San Jose again at home; and that’ll be a very interesting game.”

Timbers midfielder Jack Jewsbury

On his overall thoughts on the game…
“Well we obviously we got punished off the two free kicks but we came out in the second half and I thought that we controlled the game. Obviously we got the goal, we put them on their heels a little bit and we were a little bit unlucky not to get the second one.”

On the two remaining road games that are left for Portland…
“Yeah, not only are they road games but they are against Vancouver and Seattle so that adds more to it with it being the Cascadia Cup. They are big time rivals for us so there is definitely some extra importance. The reality of it is that we don’t want to go down in the record books as the team that was the worst of the year. It’s getting better but we need to be able to walk out of here with three points.”

Timbers midfielder Sal Zizzo

On the offensive turnaround they had from the first to the second half…
“When we were coming from a scrappy game in San Jose, it was a fast paced game compared to here where the pitch is pretty big and in the first half we were trying to force things a little bit. Second half we wanted to keep better possession and get it wide, if it wasn’t on keep moving it and I thought we did a better job of that.”

On the 2-0 deficit they faced going in to halftime…
“I thought that was a little unfair to go in to halftime down two goals. We had things figured out in the first ten minutes and we gave them two close free kicks right on the edge of the box and did well with them. Joe [Bendik] made some nice saves to keep us in the game and I thought that we just came up a little bit short.”

On the fight they showed after going down 2-0…
“We have a different mentality. This may get old saying that we are close week in and week out, but I really do feel that we are close. There is going to come a point when we are going to tie this game and win in San Jose. We just need to stay focused.”

Real Salt Lake Quotes

Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis

On getting the early goals…
“I think it was big. I knew it was going to be difficult for us after a long flight from Panama on Wednesday, and I think it was critical that we scored early and put ourselves in a position where we didn’t kind of have to struggle for it in the end…oh wait, we did have to struggle for it in the end. On the other side of things, it was nice to not have to try to be putting in all kinds of attacking substitutions to try to find a goal, for once.”

On Espίndola ending his scoring drought…
“I thought he was really in and around their goal. On a different night he walks out of here with three goals. It’s an easy, easy night for us; it’s a step in the right direction, very much so, and I think that his confidence should improve from here on out.”

Thoughts on difficulties at the end of the match…
“I think it’s a little mix of everything. Two to zero lead I think is one of the most dangerous spots to be in as a soccer team, because you just have this tendency, no matter what you say or how you talk to the players or hear them talking to each other, there is just that tendency to just relax and feel like it’s going to be an easy night. Portland wasn’t prepared to relax, they weren’t going to give up the game, and they were throwing lots of numbers in our attacking half of the field and serving balls into the box and that’s where their goal came from, from the wide service into the box that we don’t do well enough finding our marks in there. Portland, lets credit them, I think they made it difficult for us.”

Thoughts on Rimando’s performance…
“I think he had three unbelievable saves tonight, and our last home match was the same deal, two or three unbelievable saves, and we are going to need that. I think it’s terrific, my hat’s off to Nick, and continue to do it. All of the guys I think need to look at that performance and also with what Javier and Fabian did tonight and say hey, we all need to step up now and make plays.”

Real Salt Lake midfielder Javier Morales

Overall thoughts on game…
“I think we won a tough game. We were a little scared before the game, because Sabo [Alvaro Saborio] wasn’t with us. He scores almost every game for us.”

On being aggressive…
“I always try to be aggressive. Sometimes you can do it and sometimes not. Today I think we made a pretty good first half, and the second half we got a little bit tired and we didn’t do a good job.”

On the design and set up of the first free kick…
“I talked with Fabi [Fabian Espindola]. He asked me that he wanted to do it. I felt it was too close to go over the wall, so I told him to stay there, and move the ball and go hard. He made a great shot. We decided that right before it happened with Kyle [Beckerman].”

How Javi’s goal was set up…
“It was a pretty tough angle, so maybe the goal keeper didn’t know if I was going to shoot a goal or across to someone else. I had the confidence to try to make a goal, and I’m happy.” 

On the confidence going forward as a team…
“This is the most important part of the year for every team in the MLS. Playoff and tough games with the CONCACAF, we have to be ready. It’s best to be able to make a good run in the last couple of months like tonight.”

Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando

How much of an accomplishment was tonight’s match…
“It’s good to get the three points for sure, we wanted that. The first half I didn’t even think twice that we were going to get it. The second half I think we kind of weren’t as sharp and we let our foot off the pedal even though we didn’t want to. We were hoping to come out with three points. We got lucky I think with them hitting the post that could have tied it. I think we’re feeling a little bit tired. We need to get our legs back and be sharper in the second half. Three points are three points and we’re happy, but at the end of the day I think if we’re going to go a long way in the playoffs we need to be sharper and can’t be getting lucky at winning games at home.”

On the feeling of getting multiple goals at home…
“I think we could have scored five or six goals tonight. We got to put our opportunities away. Especially at home, and against teams who are fighting for their jobs. It’s only going to get harder and if we don’t put our chances away, other teams will. I think three points is great, but we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and know that we did get lucky on getting three points tonight.”

Does any of the second half play have to do with fatigue?
“I think a lot has to do with the fatigue that sets in from traveling and coming back and having multiple games, but the guys did dig deep today and created a lot of chances and we got the three points, so we’re happy.”

Notes:

  • The Timbers and Real Salt Lake concluded their 2012 season series Saturday, with Real Salt Lake winning all three matches. The Timbers are 1-3-1 in their all-time MLS series against RSL.
     
  • After posting just five shots, none on goal, in their last visit to Rio Tinto Stadium on July 7, the Timbers nearly matched RSL in shots 11-13 and both clubs finished with five shots on goal in Saturday’s contest.
     
  • The two goals scored by Real Salt Lake on Saturday were its fourth and fifth goals scored off of free kicks this season.
     
  • The goal scored by Fabian Espindola in the 14th minute was just the third goal allowed by the Timbers in the opening 15 minutes of a match this season.
     
  • Portland had the better of the possession against Real Salt Lake at 51.6 percent and won 52.2 percent of the duels.
     
  • The Timbers’ five shots on goal and six corner kicks against Real Salt Lake matched season highs for the club on the road this season. The club also recorded five shots on frame and six corner kicks in the road matches on Aug. 15 against Toronto FC and Aug. 19 at New York.
     
  • Forward Bright Dike, who came on as a sub at halftime against Real Salt Lake, scored his third goal in eight games this season for the Timbers. It was Dike’s first career goal against RSL.
     
  • With his goal in the 61st minute, Dike became the first Timbers substitute to score in a match since March 17, when Darlington Nagbe, who came on as a halftime sub in that match, scored in a 1-1 draw at FC Dallas.
     
  • Dike’s goal was the seventh goal scored by the Timbers on a header in 2012, and the club’s second header goal in the last three games.
     
  • Counting Saturday’s goal against Real Salt Lake, the Timbers have scored seven goals over their last five road matches.
     
  • Portland had four different players record multiple shots against Real Salt Lake – Dike (3), Franck Songo’o (2), Rodney Wallace (2) and Sal Zizzo (2).
     
  • Timbers midfielder Jack Jewsbury played in his 60th match with the club on Saturday, becoming the first player in Timbers MLS history to reach the 60-games-played milestone.
     
  • Midfielder/forward Darlington Nagbe surpassed 4,000 minutes played in his career on Saturday. He is also the fourth Timbers MLS player to log more than 4,000 minutes with the club.
     
  • Forward Danny Mwanga made a second consecutive start Saturday, marking the second time this season he’s made back-to-back starts, which also came against San Jose (July 3) and Real Salt Lake (July 7) earlier in the season.
     
  • Portland midfielder/defender Rodney Wallace played in his 80th career MLS match (70th MLS career start) on Saturday at Real Salt Lake.
     
  • League pool goalkeeper Scott Angevine served as the Timbers’ backup goalkeeper for a second straight match.
     
  • The Timbers road trip against San Jose and Real Salt Lake was the last of three, two-game road trips for the club during the 2012 regular season