Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 1, Colorado Rapids 0 - Sept. 20, 2013

The Timbers extended their home unbeaten streak at JELD-WEN Field to 12 games (9-0-3)

Will Johnson, Timbers vs. Rapids, 9.20.13

Photo Credit: 
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Portland Timbers Quotes

Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
On the importance of starting strong against Colorado:
"That's been something that we've wanted to do better. Obviously, this week it was something we really emphasized because we know how important it is. When you score that first goal and start games with an energy and the right mentality and are proactive, you give yourself a better chance. So, we've got to keep that trend going."

On the team's lineup changes:
"Especially in the back, we went with some of our old guards. We went with Futty [Danso] and Jack [Jewsbury]. These guys have been professionals for quite some time and they've got some maturity to them and they've got some experience to them and they're comfortable in the Timbers uniform. I thought those two guys, and [Michael] Harrington, [Pa Modou] Kah and [Donovan] Ricketts really showed very well tonight. They looked mature and put up a clean sheet. Listen, the game wasn't pretty the entire game, there were times when it was direct and the ball was in the air and there were second balls — that's MLS, a lot of times it's the way games go. We need to be able to win those games and grind out 1-0 results. I thought we were very professional in how we managed that second half. We had chances to get the second goal that didn't fall, but at the very least at halftime we talked about making sure that we put up a clean sheet and if we did that, we knew we would win the game. Even though they had some balls in the box at the end of the game, they didn't have very many clear looks. A big part of that was our ability, our backs — especially their box defending, their ability to win second balls, their ability to track guys, set pieces. These are all things that three or four games ago we couldn't make those plays; we were giving up goals. We were having teams tie us. So, I continue to see a very positive evolution. The biggest evolution I've seen recently is our mentality."

On the team's mentality change:
"We talked a lot about just being confident and having a bit more buzz. You've got to have a little bit of healthy tension in your system, adrenaline. What's happened is that we go from a team last year that doesn't have belief and is probably nervous and has a bit of fear to now, a team after we go on a run — 15 games unbeaten — we're probably overconfident. That's burned us a few times. It's now getting back to being right in that zone where we need to be which is confidence with a little bit of tension. I thought we had that tonight. We started very well, got the first goal and I thought that was a big reason why we won the game.”

On managing the game in the second half:
"I think we moved the ball a little quicker. Again, I thought we were mature. We wanted to push for the second goal because we knew that would put the game away, but we didn't open ourselves up either. There is a real balance there. We had three or four chances to get the second (goal), but in the end we stayed compact, stayed organized. We absorbed at times. We also put our foot on the ball at times and let it roll and managed the game with possession. Again, I think it was a very mature performance."

On the first Timbers start for Maximiliano Urruti:
"He's a player, even though he’s young, he has played at a very high level. He has played in front of much bigger crowds than tonight. I can't say he has played in a more important game; this was a real important game. We knew he would be up for it. It's the little things he does well, he fits into our team, our system. A big part of what we're looking for out of the individuals is what they do individually, but more importantly we want them to be able to execute the way we want to play and help make the players around them better. We don't score that first goal unless he presses the ball. The whole goal came from his pressure. He didn't put a foot on the ball to create the goal, but he put pressure on them and that created the goal."

On Diego Valeri's performance against Colorado:
"That was class. That's what he is. He's a class player. We've been managing his minutes because we've had to. We knew he was ready to start this game. We knew this was an important game. We got a good 75 minutes out of him, and he was tremendous tonight."

On Valeri's MLS MVP candidacy:
"I'm biased. I love him. I think he's one of the best players in the league, no question about it. But I don't decide those things. I think the better we do obviously means the better he's doing. Those decisions will be made at the end. I can tell you this, he cares more about winning than any individual accomplishment, and that's one of the reasons we love him. He's very humble, a team guy. He tells me almost every week, 'Coach, we're going to win championships here.' He's a great player and a great person."

Timbers midfielder Will Johnson
On the team’s play to get the win: 
“Diego [Valeri] put a lot in it so we got that lead off a great play … Some really great pressure and then a fantastic goal by Diego. Then we locked it down; you know, we had to grind and fight. It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but we got the job done. So, it’s a big result for us and really lays the foundation for the last stretch we got here.”

On getting off to a strong start in the match:
“Yeah, I think there are a lot of things. First and foremost, being back at home. This is where we get most of our good results, the fans here are fantastic and comfortable, so I think that’s the first thing and then secondly, it’s just getting everybody refocused, reset all on the same page. We had a good meeting in the middle of the week, where the guys spoke up and we all vented and aired out what we felt needed to change and what needed to be different and I think you saw that tonight. Everybody took responsibility, they did their jobs from minute one to minute 90; set pieces defensively, attacking guys got us the goal that we needed and the defenders and the goalkeeper got the shutout and the rest of the guys went about their business. It was just everyone taking responsibility and did their job, so that led to three big points for us.”

On Diego Valeri’s impact in recent games:
“Diego has been a revelation with this club. I love playing with the guy, and it must be a real treat for the city of Portland to watch this guy; he’s special. I could stand here all night and bore you to death with the kind of things to say about Valeri. He’s special, but he’s so humble it’s ridiculous for as good he is, so we’re fortunate to have him.”

Timbers defender Jack Jewsbury
Thoughts on the match:
“We kind of knew it was going to be a battle going into it. The reality is for guys that have been around this league, when you get down to the final five, six, seven games, games don’t always settle down as much. Teams are pressing to get points. They were pressing us on our defensive end so we went long and they went the same so it became a battle for second balls and trying to turn over the other team in bad areas. We didn’t want to be caught where they took it off us in bad situations, and I thought we did a fairly good job of that. And then there were times in the second half where I thought we settled down, possessed the ball like we like to do, but at the end of the day, a 1-0 result is always nice.”

On the team’s defensive performance: 
“It’s something we’ve been focusing on, tightening up things in the back. I thought tonight we did a fairly good job; they didn’t have too many clear cut chances. Everything were kind of off chances that they had. We knew it was going to be a battle, they dumped a lot of balls in and had some big boys and we were up for it tonight.”

Timbers defender Futty Danso
On coming back from a foot injury:
"I played in three reserve games before this game. Everything feels good. The coaching staff feels like I'm fit again to play and put me out there and everything feels good."

On defending Colorado’s set pieces and crosses:
"I think overall we did pretty good. We know that that's part of their game and any time you're going to play them it'll be more of a crossing game. We focused on having the back pick up more communication in defense with Diego [Chara] and Will [Johnson] and whoever is in the box to help us out."

Colorado Rapids Quotes

Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja
Thoughts on the match:
"I thought we dominated the rhythm. We tried to play with the ball when we could and we understood that this was a difficult surface, a difficult field, and sometimes is a challenge. But it was a team with initiative all the time and trying to get back in the score. I thought the boys played very well today."

On the team’s play in the final third:
"In the last third of the field, we needed to be clean. When we got in those spots we were forcing passing and shooting and I thought we could be a bit more patient and build something different. We had energy, we had chances, but we needed to be cleaner."

On the Timbers goal:
"It was obviously a mistake. It was unfortunate that we lost points; it was on us."

On having a week off to prepare for their next match:
"It's the same. The routines are going to stay the same. The work, the effort, all that we have done so far is not going to change."

Rapids defender Shane O'Neill
On the team's performance overall:
"I thought we played a good game in a tough atmosphere. Obviously, coming out here is a tough place to play especially with the turf and everything like that. I thought we played well. I thought parts of the first half we dominated and the second half was more 50-50, but we still had good chances to equalize. Overall, I think we gained some confidence from this result. We fought hard with this team who is also in the playoff race so we just need to get our results at home and we'll be alright."

On the team’s defensive play:
"I think it was just a little bit of confusion on the goal. I was talking to Oscar and the next thing you know … it was just confusion. Other than that, I thought we were solid. I thought Drew [Moor] and I kept it pretty compact and in the second half even stepped up the line a little bit. I thought overall we were solid, they didn't break us down too much. The only chances they had came off of our mistakes. Like I said, I think we go out with a little bit of confidence from this result."

On the team’s number of set pieces against Portland: 
"I think it's just on the day. Obviously, there are some times that the ball drops your way, bounces your way. I think we had a ton of set pieces and we felt like it was going to come at some stage and obviously never did. I don't think it's something to worry about, it just didn't happen on the night."

Rapids midfielder Martin Rivero
On the team’s performance: 
"We were just missing a little bit more of the game play, we just needed to be a little further up the field and get more opportunities. We were playing against a rival that has a good defense and I think we didn't allow them very many options on goal. Overall, we played a very good game."

On the team’s place in the Western Conference playoff race: 
"We just have to take these two weeks to work really hard. We can't think about this game that just went by, we just have to think about Seattle. They are three really important points that we have to keep in our house. We've got these two weeks to train as hard as we can and get the points out of our next game."

On making his first start since June:
"I felt pretty good, I felt good in my lungs, I think I'm still missing a little bit of rhythm. But it was good to be out there with my teammates again and now just getting back into the rhythm of the game but I'm satisfied with the game I was able to play and I think they had very few options (opportunities) other than the goal. We left everything on the field like always. And now we just have to look forward and think about the next game."

Notes:

  • With the win, the Timbers jumped over the Rapids and LA Galaxy in the Western Conference standings to move into third place, just three points back of first place and the lead for the Supporters’ Shield.
     
  • The Timbers extended their home unbeaten streak at JELD-WEN Field to 12 games (9-0-3), the third-longest active streak in MLS this season.
     
  • Portland is 9-1-4 at home overall in league play, and the club’s .786 winning percentage is second-best in MLS. The Timbers are unbeaten against Western Conference opponents (7-0-2) at JELD-WEN Field in 2013.
     
  • The Timbers went unbeaten (2-0-1) in the 2013 season series against the Rapids, and have earned results in four of the last five meetings with Colorado dating back to 2012.
     
  • The Timbers handed the Rapids just their second loss since June 29.
     
  • Portland scored six unanswered goals against Colorado in the 2013 season series.
     
  • When leading at halftime, the Timbers are 6-0-1 this season and own the league’s best winning percentage (.928).
     
  • The Timbers are unbeaten in 14 games this season (9-0-5) when scoring the first goal of the game.
     
  • With his goal in the 13th minute, midfielder Diego Valeri has factored in 12 of Portland’s last 17 goals (4 goals, 8 assists) since July 13.
     
  • Valeri, the club’s leading scorer this season, is now tied with Darlington Nagbe and Ryan Johnson as the Timbers’ leading goal-scorer with eight goals.
     
  • Forward Rodney Wallace recorded his fourth assist of the season against the Rapids on Valeri’s goal; he is the club’s all-time leader in assists against Colorado.
     
  • The Timbers held the Rapids to a single shot on goal, a season-low by an opponent.
     
  • Portland recorded its 11th shutout this season, holding Colorado scoreless for the first time since July 7. The Timbers lead MLS with eight shutouts at home this season.
     
  • Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts made one save to earn his 10th shutout of the season and is now tied with four others for the league lead in shutouts.
     
  • With his 12th clean sheet as a member of the Timbers, Ricketts is tied for the Timbers MLS career lead in shutouts.
     
  • Ricketts, one shy of the Timbers MLS career mark in wins (14), made his 130th MLS regular-season start, placing him eighth among the active, all-time MLS goalkeepers.
     
  • Forward Darlington Nagbe became the first Timbers MLS player to appear in 90 matches for the club, making his 42nd consecutive MLS start on Friday against Colorado.
     
  • Earlier in the day, Nagbe was listed at No. 1 on the MLSsoccer.com 24-Under-24 for 2013; the 24-Under-24 spotlights the league’s top young players under the age of 24.
     
  • Defender Jack Jewsbury made his 225th MLS regular-season start, which ranks 19th among active, all-time MLS leaders.
     
  • Forward Maximiliano Urruti made his first MLS start, and his first start for Portland, in the match against Colorado.
     
  • Defender Futty Danso made his first MLS start since aiding in a 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy on July 13; he missed nine league games after sustaining an injured foot July 24 in a friendly against Norwich City FC. The match against Colorado marked his 45th MLS appearance.
     
  • Through the in-game 50/50 raffle by the Timbers’ community platform Stand Together, fans raised more than $2,000 for the American Red Cross to help aid victims of the recent flooding in Colorado.
     
  • The Timbers saw their 48th consecutive sellout crowd at JELD-WEN Field since joining MLS in 2011.