Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 1, LA Galaxy 0 - Sept. 29, 2013
Portland Timbers Quotes
Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
Thoughts on the match:
“It’s a big step. Obviously, every step is important, but this was a big one. It puts us four points clear of LA and Colorado. Our goal is to not just limp into the playoffs, but to get in a good position, hopefully in the top three, and to avoid the play-in game. From that standpoint, it was a big step. It also was a big step for this club, just moving forward to continue to show that we can beat anybody. That team, they were full strength with their top guys in there. They clearly came to play. They knew what was at stake. They knew the importance of this game. That was reflected in their performance, LA played well. We knew it would be a tight game like most high-level soccer games. When you’ve got two good teams trying to do the same things, press and to some extent push the game, it becomes two alpha dogs butting heads. That’s what it looked like. It was choppy at times, but for me it was very mature out of our guys in the way we managed it. We found a goal. I said at halftime that it might just take one. Either way, fortunately we found the goal and defended well. Our back four was extremely tight in managing their very talented players, [Robbie] Keane and [Landon] Donovan. They had a few shots, but they didn’t have many great looks at all on the day. We didn’t have many as well. We need to do better finding the second goal. We had clear chances to find the second goal that would’ve given us more breathing room. In the end, though, if you can’t find the second goal – similar to Colorado – you’ve got to make sure you don’t give up the goal. We did that and got the win because of it.”
On containing Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane:
“I think we did it with collective defending. When guys were isolated individually, they did well also. Mostly, we were just very organized defensively. I thought we pressed enough in the front of our shape that we didn’t allow them to get a ton of the ball in terms of rhythm and quality actions. Also, in the back part of our team, we didn’t open up much space. Their players, with time and space, they can really hurt you. Our goal was to not give them many gaps and I thought [Diego] Chara and [Will] Johnson chipped in as well, being connected with the back four. Those back six guys really were tight and organized and disciplined and they [Donovan and Keane] didn’t get loose much.”
On the team’s big results late in the season:
“I told the guys, the first thing I said was we’ve still got work to do. I don’t want to take away their joy from this game – you’ve got to let them enjoy it – but we still have work to do. What I like about this group is that they believed they could beat this team and win this game and that’s why when I talked to them after the game, they’re not doing cartwheels. They believe, and maybe we’re the only ones, in that locker room, that really believed. If you look at our body of work over the course of the season, there is no reason why we shouldn’t win this game. That’s a good thing. You can pinch results in soccer, but if you do it against the run or if you do it when you’re not the better team – that ultimately leads to you falling short eventually. This team has a real belief that we can do something special this year.”
On Maximiliano Urruti’s performance:
“He’s a finisher. It’s not just the goal, but the amount of ground he covers in pressing their central defenders. He worked tirelessly the entire night to be a nuisance on their central defenders. That’s huge in this system, when you play a 4-3-3. If you’re going to be a pressing team, you need your No. 9 to put the work in and make it predictable and chop the field, and he did that.”
On how close the team is to being full strength moving forward:
“We’ve still got a few guys that are coming back. Obviously, [Diego] Valeri is still not there, but getting closer. He’s still a little sore, but he’s capable of starting and playing like he did – 75 or 80 minutes. Hopefully, we can get him to a point where he can play 90. We’re getting close and I think you’ve seen that in our recent performances. The reality is, the only reason we started dropping points is because we weren’t healthy. I never made that excuse, but that was a big factor. If you look at any team and you chop off their top four or five guys in MLS when you have to build your roster a certain way because of the cap, you’re not going to be the same team. We had different guys at different times that weren’t in there. You’re not going to be the same team. The nice thing is our guys did a good job and still managed to get some points during that lull. But here we are now near full strength and I think you’ve seen that in the last four games with three wins and a draw.”
On Jack Jewsbury’s impact recently and the back line’s collective play and experience:
“I thought he was great tonight. He was going against a world-class athlete in [Gyasi] Zardes and he didn’t lose much. It’s just because he’s smart. He’s an experienced player, he’s a salty dog and he knows how to get it done some way. Futty [Danso] as well. Futty had a few moments on the ball that scare you, but defensively he was solid. He and [Pa Modou] Kah. It was probably the best game Kah has played, also. Thought he was very good today. And Mikey [Harrington]. Mikey has probably played more minutes than anyone. There’s a lot of experience in that back line. We know we’ll find a goal somewhere, maybe we’ll find one but hopefully it’s more than that, but in the end if we don’t give up goals, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”
On the team’s recovery after turning the ball over:
“We worked a lot all week on our transition. I thought, especially in the back six guys, when the ball turned over – LA is used to opening you up in those four or five seconds after they win the ball. We worked on that all week making sure that when we did lose the ball that we got connected quick and made them play in front of us. We didn’t give them many gaps in between the center backs and outside backs which is typically the space that Keane and Donovan will pull into, and they’ll knife you. We wanted to be real tight in that back four. We needed Chara and Johnson to help at times to plug the hole because those guys look to check and get in those spaces in front of the central defenders as well. We also worked on that all week and I thought it paid off. More than the training, it was the guys getting it done on the day and making plays and executing.”
Timbers defender Jack Jewsbury
Overall thoughts on the result:
“These last two games we knew were very important. They were two teams a week ago that were ahead of us and we knew these were going to be crucial matches for us being in the playoffs and trying to position ourselves where we want to be. And to be able to come out of them with two wins, two 1-0 wins; we would have loved to come in here with a two or three-nothing win, but at the end of the day, once we got one, being able to lock it down and get the shutout was crucial for us. We feel good about it but there’s still some work to do.”
On limiting the Galaxy’s chances in the second half:
“Yeah, we wanted to be organized. I think Mike [Harrington] and I pressed a little bit more when it was 0-0 to get the goal and try to create some width for us and once we got the goal we got to sit back a little bit more. We still wanted to keep the ball, but make sure our shape was good, and I thought for the most part we didn’t give them too many clear-cut chances and it was nice to get out of here with the shutout, but more importantly with the win.”
On the team defending against Galaxy forwards Donovan and Keane:
“Two of the best players in the league. Their movement off each other is absolutely incredible. We did a lot of scouting throughout the week on them, as we do with every team. But at the end of the day, between the four of us and our two holding midfielders we had to be aware of them at all times and tonight we did a good job of that.”
Timbers forward Darlington Nagbe
On the goal by Urruti:
“I was behind the play, I was right at the top of the box actually, and Will [Johnson] crossed it in and he hit it in … first off, it was a great ball by Will and an even greater finish by Urruti.”
On the season series against LA:
“It feels good, especially when we went there we got a point. So overall, we have a good record [against the Galaxy] at the end of the season, so it feels good and it’s just another chance to move up in the standings.”
On the tight playoff race:
“It’s definitely tight and we know it’s tight, so every game you‘ve got to play like it’s the championship game, so we fight to win games and get good results.”
Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
Overall thoughts on the match:
“It was a good win. I think we did very good work; very good game. In the first half, we had the first 20 minutes that we started very, very good and we deserved the score. I think LA is a very good team. They had very good players and a very good attack and tried to find a goal, but I think we controlled the game.”
On approaching the last few matches of the season:
“I think we are in a very good position. We have four more matches. We have points to make the playoffs with four more games. We must think in the top three, and I think we can do it.
LA Galaxy Quotes
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena
Overall thoughts on the match:
“It was a good game. I think given the conditions, both teams played well.”
On the affect of the weather on the match:
“It's not easy. It's the same for both teams, so you can't complain about it.”
On the offside call in second-half stoppage time:
“If the referee is right, more credit to him. We've been in a lot of games this year where the plays aren't even close and they don't have them right. So, if they had it right, more credit to them."
On the Western Conference playoff race:
“It's close, obviously.”
Galaxy forward Landon Donovan
On the team’s performance:
"It's a tough game with the rain, with the turf, and we're playing against a good team in their stadium. We didn't create any great chances, but I thought overall we played well. We were a little at fault for not shooting and putting the ball on frame a little bit more, but we certainly had better chances in the game than they did. But we can be better and we know when we play at home we're better than that. Tonight, I thought we did enough to at least get a point, but unfortunately we let ourselves down."
On tightening up on set pieces:
"It's a mentality. Defending set pieces is so a mentality. It's who wants the ball. Too often, guys have let down in that area. So, either you change who's marking or people don't play if they can't do that. That's sort of the harsh reality, but that's how it has to be. We can't keep giving up goals like that."
On moving on from the loss:
"We'll rebound easily. Games like this happen. There's not many teams that come here and dominate possession, dominate chances, and dominate the game. That being said, we still lost. They had one half-chance all night and they scored a goal. We had a few OK chances and we didn't get the goal. That's how soccer is, that's how the game is. Overall, I think we played well and we're not overly worried about it."
On the last four games of the season:
"We have three games in a row now at home and realistically, to put ourselves in a really good position, we need to win all three. We feel like we can win all three, we should win all three, but we can't keep giving up goals like the one we did today. As the season gets towards the end and gets tighter, those are the plays that matter and we need to make sure that we're on the positive end of those, not the negative."
Galaxy forward Robbie Keane
On the overall feeling after the game:
"It's really difficult, it's frustrating especially because we seem to be talking about the same stuff all the time, so another set piece; that's a killer. If we stop a team from set pieces, we certainly won't win every game, but for some reason we keep conceding set pieces which, at the moment, is certainly our downfall."
On set piece marking:
"It's the desire to win the header – stay with your man and don't let your man beat you; have enough desire to get there and want to win the ball. At this moment of time, the other teams probably just have more desire than we have to win defensive pieces."
On looking ahead to the final matches of the regular season:
"There's 12 points, obviously, to still get some. We certainly need to start kicking right now because there's not much time left. So, if we keep conceding from set pieces, we can forget about getting to the playoffs. We need to stop fairly soon because there's not many games left. That's what we've been trying to work on for however long it's been since we've been conceding (set pieces) but it's just one of those things that we'll take on the chin and move on and look forward to next week's game."
Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez
On the overall feeling about the result:
"We wanted to come here and get some points and now we've leaving with zero, but on the night I thought we were aggressive, we played really well. But out of really two chances, they scored on a set piece. So, we got beat by a set piece again which isn't good."
On the team’s upcoming home stretch:
"We have three games at home and the last one is against Seattle. At home, we can't drop any points, we have to hopefully get nine points out of those three games. If we do that, we'll be sitting OK."
The Timbers, in third place in the Western Conference, moved four points ahead of the LA Galaxy and Colorado Rapids, tied for fourth place, in the standings with the victory.
Portland extended its home unbeaten streak to 13 games (10-0-3), tied for the second-longest, active home unbeaten streak in MLS this season.
The Timbers recorded their 12th win of the season, setting a new MLS club mark for wins in a single season, and eclipsing the previous record of 11 set back in 2011.
The 20,674 on hand Sunday was the Timbers’ 49th consecutive sellout at JELD-WEN Field since joining MLS in 2011.
Portland posted an unbeaten 3-0-1 record, conceding just one goal, in the 2013 season series against the Galaxy.
The Timbers finished the month of September unbeaten with a 3-0-1 record; it’s the fourth unbeaten month the club has recorded during the 2013 season.
The Timbers improved to 8-0-2 at home against Western Conference opponents in 2013; the club is 10-1-4 at JELD-WEN Field overall on the season.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, the goal scored by forward Maximiliano Urruti in the second half was the Timbers’ sixth set-piece goal in four home games in the all-time MLS series against the Galaxy.
The Timbers are unbeaten in 15 games this season (10-0-5) when scoring the first goal of the game.
The Timbers improved to 3-0-0 in day matches at JELD-WEN Field this season.
Urruti’s first MLS goal in the 52nd minute was Portland’s 31st goal scored in the second half this season, which ranks second-most in MLS.
The Timbers have scored 13 times in the opening 15 minutes of the second half, which leads MLS.
Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts matched his MLS career-high with his league-leading 11th shutout of the season. He also recorded 11 shutouts during the 2010 season with the Galaxy, the same season in which he won MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and was named to the MLS Best XI.
Portland has recorded three straight shutouts at home, and picked up its league-best ninth home shutout on Sunday against the Galaxy.
Ricketts, in just 37 matches with the club, tied the Timbers MLS career mark in wins with his 14th win. He also set a new Timbers MLS record with his 13th career shutout with the club.
Defender Jack Jewsbury played in his 280th career MLS regular-season match.
- Forward Darlington Nagbe made his 43rd consecutive MLS Start on Sunday against LA.