Quotes & Notes - Chicago Fire: 2, Portland Timbers: 2 - June 8, 2013

The Timbers have scored an MLS-best 14 goals on the road this season

Ben Zemanski #2, Timbers @ Fire, 6.8.13

Photo Credit: 
(USA Today Sports Images)

Quotes: Portland Timbers at Chicago Fire

Portland Timbers Quotes

Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
On what shifted the momentum in the second half:
“Well, we went up two-zero, and to be honest with you, it looked like it was going to be three or four.  They caught us on a counter-attack. Going into the game we talked about managing two things – the counter, because we knew we’d be up the field and have the ball, and control the game. We have to manage that high line, which means all it takes is one moment. We let our guard down. We got flat, Magee got behind us, and I’m not sure what happened but maybe Baptiste pulled up thinking Milos [Kocic] was going to come. In the end that turned the entire momentum of the game around. The other was a questionable foul, to be honest. But in the end he hit a great goal, and it is two-two. We’re disappointed. It’s a bit of a bitter pill, but I think we will learn from it, we will be better from it. We didn’t lose the game. We still got a point; we’re still unbeaten on the road. In fourteen games, there’s only been one team that’s beaten us. So I think it’s a great thing. We are still getting points but we’re a little bit ticked off leaving this game feeling like we left two points slip away.”

On the team's performance:
"Some of the best stuff I’ve seen out of this team happened in this game. That first half, there was a period of about 20 minutes that was electric; it was some of the best stuff we’ve done all year long. There are a lot of positives in this game. If you look at periods of play, we were clicking and firing on all cylinders. If we don’t give up that first goal, the game is two- or three-zero; it’s over. So again, it is just a good lesson that you got to stay focused."

On whether result will provide fuel going into training since giving up a two-goal lead:
“I find it’s more like a lesson. Again, you can’t let your guard down. Even at two-zero, the game isn’t done. With the way we were playing, there was absolutely no reason for that team to get a goal. They got a goal out of nothing. It wasn’t like they had a flow or anything. It popped up in a moment, and we fell asleep. What it does, it keeps us focused for 90 minutes, and it makes us aware we aren’t invincible and even at two-zero; it’s a dangerous lead and we have to manage the game. Again, the fact that we can learn a lesson without losing a game, I think it’s a very positive thing. It’ll make us a better team. Feels like a loss but it isn’t, which is great. A lot of teams have to take losses to learn lessons and we are learning lessons while getting points. So I think it’s a positive thing. We have a big week ahead. We have an Open Cup game Wednesday, then we play Dallas at home and then we go to L.A. So, this isn’t the end of the world, getting a point on the road. Although because our standards are so high because we are used to winning games, our expectations is to do that, so when it doesn’t happen, we’re disappointed. That’s a good thing. That means we have a very positive winning culture in our club right now.”

On whether the team was more defensive than they needed to be at 2-0 up:
“No, no, if you watched the game, we were pushing to get three. Valeri had a shot over the goal, and that could have gone to three. They hit us on a counter attack when we were up the field. We weren’t defending deep when they got the two-one goal. When they got two-one, and now obviously the whole momentum changed. Now they are really gambling. They need points. So they were trying to go for three points, they were gambling at two-one and pushing numbers forward. There was nothing to lose for them. In the end, I thought we ended up dropping off deeper than we wanted. But it was more because they were bombing numbers forward. There’s no choice. You have to drop off. Five forwards, basically. And they went for it. In the end, like I said, I thought we managed it all right. They got the goal on a free kick and I will have to watch the tape, but I thought that [the foul] was questionable.”

Timbers midfielder Ben Zemanski
On letting the two-zero lead slip away:
“Yes, we were really disappointed with that two-zero lead slip away when we felt like we had the game in hand. I think the first goal, it was a big one to let in at the time and it let them back in the game obviously. They did well to keep that pressure on us and find the second one, so credit to them to come back. We are very disappointed.”

On his goal:
“I remember seeing [Frederic Piquionne] make a really good run down the right. I saw him cut back a defender, and I just made a late run in and he found me and gave me a perfectly weighted ball so I could hit it first time.”

Timbers goalkeeper Milos Kocic
On Mike Magee’s goal:
“First of all, I think I should have been a little bit better getting the ball, but between two, three players I thought maybe one of them was going to touch me and my hands were ready for it. I tried to push it away but unfortunately it hit Magee in the leg. That’s Magee, you know, it always bounces his way. Unfortunately this time, he bounced the ball in and he scored a goal. And then we are under a lot of pressure. I tried to come off my line, and pick up the ball so it takes the pressure off the back guys. I think I did well at the situation at the end of the game. Overall, I think the first goal I can do better.”

Timbers forward Diego Valeri
On his goal:
“Kocic kicked a great goal kick, and Piquionne headed it to me, I made a run and just finished the play.”

Chicago Fire Quotes

Fire head coach Frank Klopas
Thoughts on the match:
“Lot of character from the group. We wanted to have a good start and we did it. We gave up some opportunities early from mistakes and that was a little disappointing but they’re a good team. They’re a team that possess the ball really well and I think the goal came out of nothing so it was a little disappointing. I felt that in the second half, we were a different team. With that mentality and that kind of attitude, we have to have that over 90 minutes. Because we have it in us and we have the quality, obviously, with the guys that we brought in, helped a lot and we pushed the game. Coming back against a good team and scoring goals. And obviously, we created a lot of opportunities to pull the game away. But I’m proud of the group, with our effort and the character and the attitude that they showed in the second half to comeback. And they left it all on the field.”

On the influence that Mike Magee has had on the team:
“It’s fantastic. I think the two moves that we made, you can see the big difference on the field already. We’re not that far off. I do feel we need to add a couple more pieces but Mike [Magee] and Baky [Soumare], you can see the impact they’ve had on the group and the difference they’ve made on the field but overall tonight, from a team standpoint, the most important thing to me is the team and it was fantastic the second 45 minutes. Now we’ve got to have that kind of urgency and mentality the whole game.”

About what was said at halftime:
”You’ve got to stay positive. The most important thing is motivation. We talked a little bit about, on the goal especially, Piquionne is a very tall guy and he’s a target guy, you can challenge, but the wide guys have to tuck in and be in a position to win second balls and more than anything, their rotation in the middle, not to get pulled out because they had a lot of movement and we didn’t want to get caught out of position because when one goes, the other guy was coming. Our ability with the centerbacks, at times, to get tight between our lines and make it difficult for them to play thorough us. We talked about staying positive, we made some adjustments as obviously we came out in the second half, and the game is not over until the 90th minute and I felt the team responded well and the subs that came in made a big difference. I also felt that Alex had a fantastic game. He was huge for us. And the most important thing is I think the guys left it all on the field and coming back from 2-0 is not easy.”

On the two comeback draws against Real Salt Lake and the Portland Timbers:
”We always talk about the character of the team. We showed that last year. The Salt Lake game was a little different. Because I think the second half of this game we dominated the game with possession, going in hard, our movement off the ball, it was a little bit of a  different game because in the run of play in this game we created a lot of chances. In Salt Lake, we got one off a set piece. I mean that’s still part of the game but in this one, in the run of play, we played some good soccer. Our movement off the ball was good and there was a huge belief in the team. You felt it, the momentum being at home with the crowd, our ability to create a lot of chances in the final third was very positive.”

On if this is the best the team has been all year:
“I just think the second half, it’s the way we came out we came out and it was just a different team. The things, they have it in them. We showed before that sometimes we give up a goal and we we respond but we talked about coming right from the start of the game and the second half, being a complete game over 90 minutes. Sometimes it doesn’t work out like that but the response was great and you can see with the group there’s a belief within the group that the team, the mentality is very good. The mentality is very good. There was a belief. They pushed the game and more than anything, we played good soccer.” 

Fire midfielder Patrick Nyarko
On the second half:
“In the second half we got better, and they started panicking when we put pressure on them. They started losing balls and we used that to our advantage.

“We stayed patient, we pressured them in their half – that was the key to the game. That’s what we did not do in the first half.”

On giving up the early goal and having to come back:
“It’s good that we’re able to come back, but we shouldn’t put ourselves in that position in the first place. Being two goals down and having to come back against a team like Portland takes a pretty huge effort. In the future we need to make sure we don’t do this again. We need to find a way, especially at home, not to go down and have to climb back. As the game wore on, tactically we got it right and better, but it needs to be from the start.  If we had played well from the start we win this game.”

On the importance of this result:
“It’s a huge confidence builder, especially the way we finished the game. It makes us believe we can play with any team. Portland is one of the best in the league and just looking at the second half the difference between putting pressure on and not putting pressure on them in the first half is all the difference.”

Fire forward Mike Magee
On being the emotional leader:
“Tonight I about lost my mind, I’ll admit it. I was looking for something, even for myself. I was having a hard time getting the ball. I apologized to the ref like four times, I didn’t mean to yell at him. I was just yelling, showing emotion and trying to light a fire under whoever was looking. Everyone was fighting and battling.  Something like this can turn your season around.”

On the draw:
“This was best feeling tie I’ve had in a long time, which is kind of crazy to say getting a tie at home, but for some reason it just feels good just the way we fought and responded being down 2-0.”

Fire midfielder Daniel Paladini
On his goal:
“I walked up to it, because that’s the spot where I practice the most, but I told him [Magee] that he could have the assist. When he backed up he told me to hit it. If you look at the film, I guarantee that he [the goalkeeper] looked down and to his left and I was already going and all I had to do is get it over his head.”

On his sub role:
“It’s one of those things where you have to be ready when your name’s called upon – you either shy away from it or you step-up to the plate. In my position I’ve done it a few times now, Alex and Jeff [Larentowicz] have played well together and we’ve won the last two games, so I just need to wait my turn.”

Notes:

  • With the draw against Chicago, the Timbers stretched their MLS-club record unbeaten streak to 12 matches, which is the longest unbeaten run in MLS this season. Portland also owns the longest unbeaten streak on the road this season at eight matches.
     
  • The Timbers’ current unbeaten streak matches Sporting Kansas City’s season-long, 12-game unbeaten streak in 2012. The MLS record for longest unbeaten streak is 19 games set by FC Dallas in 2010.
     
  • The Timbers’ record of 5-1-8 (23pts) is the club’s best start to an MLS season through 14 matches. Portland is the only team in MLS with one loss.
     
  • The Timbers are 2-0-6 away from home in 2013 and own MLS’s best road winning percentage at .625.
     
  • Portland’s overall unbeaten run on the road is nine games, dating back to Oct. 21, 2012, which is a club record.
     
  • The Timbers are unbeaten (3-0-1) in the all-time MLS series against the Chicago Fire, including a 1-0-1 mark at Toyota Park. Saturday’s match marked the Timbers’ first trip back to Toyota Park since July 16, 2011, when they earned their first road win as an MLS side.
     
  • With goals from Diego Valeri and Ben Zemanski against the Fire, the Timbers have scored an MLS-best 14 goals on the road this season.
     
  • Zemanski’s goal in the 58th minute was the Timbers’ 18th second-half goal this season, which leads MLS, and was the club’s league-high eighth goal scored in the opening 15 minutes of the second half.
     
  • Portland has scored two or more goals in four straight regular-season matches and in eight of its 14 matches in 2013.
     
  • The Timbers have scored 24 goals this season and share the league lead in goal scoring with Real Salt Lake.
     
  • The Timbers had four shots against the Fire hit the goal frame, including the one by Valeri on his goal in the 33rd minute. Portland has hit the woodwork 11 times in 2013.
     
  • The Timbers are unbeaten at 4-0-3 when scoring the first goal of a match this season.
     
  • The Timbers conceded two goals in the second half of a game for the first time this season. They entered the match tied for the fewest second-half goals allowed (5) in MLS.
     
  • Chicago, which attempted 11 of its 19 shots from inside the penalty area, scored in the 68th and 82nd minutes. Portland had allowed just two goals over the final 30 minutes of matches entering the night.
     
  • With nine corner kicks, the Fire matched a season-high for corner kicks by a Timbers opponent in 2013.
     
  • Forward Frederic Piquionne made his second consecutive start, and third overall, on Saturday. He became the sixth Timbers MLS player to record two assists in a single match and the third to achieve the feat this season; Diego Valeri has recorded two assists in a game twice in 2013.
     
  • Piquionne now has three assists on the season, recording all three over the last two league games. In his last three games overall, including the U.S. Open Cup match against Wilmington, Piquionne has recorded four goals and three assists.
     
  • Midfielder Ben Zemanski returned to the Starting XI for the first time since March 30 at the Colorado Rapids; all three of his starts for the Timbers have come on the road.
     
  • Zemanski tallied his first goal as a member of the Timbers in the second half; he becomes the seventh different Timbers player to score a goal this season. It was his third career goal and his first since July 6, 2011 (a span of 41 appearances) when he was a member of Chivas USA.
     
  • Goalkeeper Milos Kocic made his first MLS start as a member of the Timbers in the match against the Fire; it was his 39th career MLS start.
     
  • Kocic initiated the play that led to Valeri’s goal in the 33rd minute, recording his first career MLS assist and becoming the first Timbers MLS goalkeeper to register an assist.
     
  • Kocic is the first Timbers goalkeeper to earn an assist since Josh Wicks achieved the feat for the second-division Timbers in a 4-1 win over the California Victory on July 15, 2007, at then-called PGE Park. Wicks recorded two assists during the 2007 USL First Division season.
     
  • Midfielder Diego Valeri recorded his fourth goal of the season; it was his second goal in his last three games. With four goals and four assists on the campaign, Valeri is tied with forward Ryan Johnson and midfielder Will Johnson as the club’s leading scorer with 12 points.
     
  • Forward Darlington Nagbe and defender Jack Jewsbury both started against Chicago, making their 75th MLS appearance for Timbers. The pair are the club’s MLS career leaders in games played.
     
  • Combined, the Timbers and Fire were without six players due to international duty – Portland: Futty Danso (The Gambia), Ryan Johnson (Jamaica), Donovan Ricketts (Jamaica), Rodney Wallace (Costa Rica); Chicago: Joel Lindpere (Estonia), Victor Pineda (U.S. U-20 National Team).
     
  • Portland was without two of their top goal-scorers in Ryan Johnson and Wallace – each with four goals.
     
  • Entering the match as a second-half sub, midfielder Sal Zizzo made his first league appearance since the season opener March 3. Zizzo sustained a knee injury March 4 which required surgery.