Portland Timbers' Diego Valeri stays positive after draw with RSL, looks ahead to Sounders FC
PORTLAND, Ore. – Despite narrowly missing out on a home win over Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night, Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri believes there's still a bright side to focus on.
In what turned out to be a hectic 3-3 thriller, Caleb Porter’s team looked to be on their way to a 10th league win of the season, only for RSL substitute Cole Grossman to strike in added time and tie the contest.
It was a cruel blow for the Timbers, who saw Rodney Wallace, Valeri and Kalif Alhassan all score at JELD-WEN Field, but the point still leaves them in a terrific position to book a place in the postseason playoffs.
For playmaker Valeri, the talk inside the Timbers locker room should be about how they have moved a step closer to Western Conference leaders RSL with two games still in hand over them and confidence growing all of the time.
“Now we have to recover because we have to prepare for Seattle. It was a heavy game because we had the three points in our hands, but it slipped away. But I think we have to stay positive about where we are in the league,” said Valeri.
“We have two less games than Real Salt Lake and we are just three points behind them, so if we win in Seattle we will be in a very good position to get into the playoffs and that is the only thing that we must look at now.”
It shows how high expectations have raised within the Timbers camp that they are so disappointed when not coming out of any game with a win, but coach Porter insists that the team remains in “very good shape” when they look at their overall standing.
Very much part of the run to the playoffs, the Timbers have 10 games remaining in the regular season with a trip up the Pacific Northwest coast to take on the Seattle Sounders on Sunday evening in CenturyLink Field next on the agenda.
With Valeri stating that they need to keep their heads up and get back into their groove again, Wallace reckons the game against Seattle arrives at a good time as it allows them to refocus on their playoff push with a big Cascadia derby.
“We are at the stage where we have to bounce back and prepare for this game in Seattle, which is very important. We can’t really dwell on this [RSL game], we obviously wanted to get the three points and it didn’t go our way, but we just have to fix the things that we did wrong and move on,” said Wallace.
“For a team like us, it [the Seattle game] is an opportunity to get on top of the table, or at least near the top, and get more points going forward and closer to the playoffs.”