Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 4, Toronto FC 0 - Sept. 7, 2013

Wallace: "A lot of our goals came from creating our own chances and making the moment count"

Portland Timbers Quotes

Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
On the result and the club’s confidence: 
“I think it’s big. These last several games have been tough. We’ve dealt with a lot. We’ve had a ton of guys out with injuries – we still have guys out. Obviously this game, we had a few guys out with injuries and some guys out on international duty, so I said to the guys that in a lot of ways it’s probably a good thing, because if we had had a ton of success in the last nine games, I’d be worried about complacency at this point. We’ve been humbled a little bit. We’ve had to fight through some things. It’s built our character, it’s increased our depth, and I think it’s made us hungrier for this final push. We’re in the last quarter of the season now with seven games left, and we’re going to keep being very business-like, very professional in our approach and we’ll keep on this process that we’ve followed all season long. We’re not getting ahead of ourselves. We’ll focus on the next game, that’s Chivas USA. We’re not worried about the other games. We’ll go into that game trying to get three points like we’ve done all season long.”

On the club’s possession and set-piece defense against Toronto FC: 
“I think all year we’ve been a possession team. Recently, we’ve maybe not had as much of the ball, but we still had a lot of the ball. We’re still up there; I believe we’re one of the top teams in the league in terms of possession. In this game, a little bit of the lopsided margin in possession had to do with their approach. They were going to sit deep, low pressure, let us have the ball, hope that we couldn’t break them down and then hit us on counters and play direct, play on the break, play for set pieces. I was really proud of our guys how we managed the second half, especially on the corner kicks and set pieces. That’s been an issue for us recently when we’ve given up points. They had some corner kicks and we’re at 1-0 and we’re one play away from losing the game and our guys looked very big and up for it in those moments. That’s key. We can build on that. There have been other games where we’ve shrunk in those moments and not made plays and in this game we did make plays. I think that’s a real positive that we’ve progressed in that regard. We’ve been working on it, talking about it, basically just changing our mentality in those moments, those key critical moments when you have to make plays to win the game. If you don’t, you tie the game. For us to make those plays when we had to, I think gives us a lot of confidence moving forward in those moments.”

On the result and playoff positioning:
“I think position is always important, but we can’t control the other teams. We’re in position. I don’t call it a good position or a bad position; we’re in position, which is in the playoff picture. We’re going to focus on what we can control, and that’s three points hopefully every game. That’s going to be our focus. We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves, we’re not going to speculate, we’re not going to worry too much about what other teams are doing. We’re going to try and control what we can control. It’s that simple.”

Timbers midfielder Will Johnson
On returning from injury: 
“Being injured is a frustrating thing, but there’s nothing you can do about it. Mentally, it’s just a grind and when you have a broken bone … but you can’t focus your negative energy on rehab. It was a tough month for me, and I tried to play with a lot of emotion tonight and it was just good to finally get back out there. It felt like a lot more than four games, I can tell you that.”

On the last 10 minutes of the game:
“We had to learn how to hold our lead, 1-0 is good training for a while, but you just have to take what the other team gives you. They were just sitting back, so there was no sense for us trying to push the game and get aggressive. We just held our composure, and then in the 80th minute they had to stretch their game and press and that’s when we put the nail in the coffin.”

On playing with Diego Chara again:
“It’s good to get back there with the guys. [Diego] and I work well together and read each other well and it’s fun to play together.”

Timbers goalkeeper Milos Kocic
On the shut-out performance:
“It feels good; it feels weird playing against my old team, but it’s very important coming up with a win, and playing at home is always a benefit. I think time of possession was unbelievable, we held the ball very well and we came out with three points.” 

On the win: 
“It’s always a turnaround after two losses to win and it feels great; it’s something to build on. We’re going to Chivas USA now and I think it’s going to be a very interesting game because they are not the same team we played against at the beginning of the year. I think they’re much stronger now and it’s going to be a tough test for us.”

Timbers forward Rodney Wallace
Overall thoughts on the match:
“It was a good game for us and something we’ve been searching for all year, a game where we open up the score sheet and knock in four goals, so it was a special game for the whole team and the Portland Timbers as a whole. We’re happy with the result and now we have to focus our attention on Chivas USA.”

On the team’s attack late in the game: 
“I think that we’ve been practicing our attack and a lot of our goals came from creating our own chances and making the moment count. We also have to give credit to the pressure we’re putting on teams. For example, the pressure that Diego Valeri put on the central defender to free me up and get the goal. Pressure, movement, and at the same time keeping the defenders back.”

Toronto FC Quotes

Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen
Thoughts on the match: 
“Well, I think the game got away from us. The first goal was a foul on Jeremy Hall, he was trying to clear it, off a set piece. They've got some dangerous players on the break, some pace. What's frustrating for me is that it ridiculously wasn't a 4-nil result. I could see us, at 1-nil in the 60th minute, I could see only one team going on to score the goal and unfortunately our mistake from a young center back, who was brilliant on the night, I thought he was fantastic, he was having such a great game, but he'll learn from that and definitely never do that again. Before games, I always say to the guys, "Don't be headline news," but it shows how quickly games change. They got the crowd up and got their confidence and the game was over.”

On missing regulars from national team duty and various injuries:
“We're down to our bare bones, but it's no excuse because the guys, I thought, I thought they did really well. Up until that second goal, everything was going to plan. It's just, really our own mistakes that were causing the kind of problems that we were giving away in our half. The set piece was a shame. And that's the frustrating thing about it because I thought they did well.”

Toronto FC defender Steven Caldwell
On the result: 
“We were bitterly disappointed in the result in the end because we did so well in the latter part of the second half. We executed the game plan, though we would’ve liked for it to have been level. At 0-0 we were in the game and then started to assert ourselves a little bit and had a few half chances and had a bit of momentum. And then, of course, we gave away the second goal, which was a poor goal from us. So then we got a wee bit loose and a wee bit open and unfortunately we go down pretty heavy in the end.”

Notes:

  • The Timbers keep pace in a tightly contested Western Conference and remain tied for fourth place with the Colorado Rapids. Portland sits six points back of idle Real Salt Lake with a game in hand.
     
  • The Timbers extend their home unbeaten streak at JELD-WEN Field to 11 matches, which is the second-longest in MLS this season.
     
  • The Timbers captured their first win over Toronto FC in the all-time MLS series between the clubs; it was just the fourth meeting in the all-time series. Portland is 1-1-2 against Toronto FC since joining MLS in 2011.
     
  • Toronto FC was the Timbers’ final Eastern Conference opponent during the regular season; Portland posted a 4-2-4 record against Eastern Conference clubs in 2013.
     
  • The 4-0 win over Toronto FC marked the Timbers largest margin of victory as an MLS side.
     
  • The four goals scored against Toronto marks the second time in the Timbers’ MLS history in which they scored four goals in a single match; the other was in the club’s first MLS home match at JELD-WEN Field on April 14, 2011, in a 4-2 win over the Chicago Fire.
     
  • The Timbers’ three second-half goals tied an MLS-club record for most goals in a half.
     
  • Portland ranks second in MLS in second half goal-scoring with 29 goals, and leads the league with 14 goals scored in the final 15 minutes of matches this season.
     
  • Forward Rodney Wallace's goal in the 83rd minute and Midfielder Diego Valeri's goal in the 87th minute is the quickest two-goal span (four minutes) for the Timbers in 2013.
     
  • Portland’s three goals in a 10-minute span (83rd minute to third minute of second-half stoppage time) is the fastest three-goal span in Timbers MLS-club history.
     
  • The Timbers are averaging three goals per game over their last three home games.
     
  • With the four goals scored against Toronto FC, the Timbers have set a new MLS club mark for goals scored in a single season (43) with seven matches remaining in the regular season.
     
  • Portland held 70.9 percent of the possession in the first half against Toronto FC, and the club’s 21 shots was one shy of matching a 2013 season high.
     
  • Valeri, who recorded one goal and one assist against Toronto FC, is tied for the league lead with 12 assists. The Timbers, as a club, rank second in MLS with 45 assists.
     
  • Forward Kalif Alhassan has scored in back-to-back home matches, also scoring in a 3-3 draw against Real Salt Lake on Aug. 21. Alhassan has set a new career high this season in goals (2) and points (7).
     
  • Forward Jose Valencia made his first MLS start against Toronto FC and registered his first MLS assist on Johnson’s goal in the 87th minute.
     
  • Midfielder Darlington Nagbe made his 41st consecutive start for the Timbers.
     
  • Midfielder Diego Chara played in his 80th MLS match as a member of the Timbers, becoming just the third Timbers MLS player to reach the milestone. The others are Jack Jewsbury and Nagbe.
     
  • Goalkeeper Milos Kocic made his second regular-season start for the Timbers this season, playing against his former club, Toronto FC. It was his sixth start overall across all competitions in 2013. His clean sheet against Toronto FC is the Timbers’ 10 shutout of the season.
     
  • Midfielder Will Johnson returned to the Starting XI against Toronto FC, playing in his first match since sustaining an injury in the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal Aug. 7 against Real Salt Lake.
     
  • Against Toronto FC, Sal Zizzo made his first MLS start of 2013. It was his first league start since Oct. 27, 2012, against San Jose.
     
  • Midfielder/defender Brad Ring, who was acquired earlier in the week, made his Timbers debut as a substitute in the second half.
     
  • Both the Timbers and Toronto FC were missing multiple players due to international call-ups – Portland: Ryan Johnson, Alvas Powell and Donovan Ricketts (Jamaica); Toronto FC: Kyle Bekker, Doneil Henry, Ashtone Morgan and Jonathan Osorio (Canada).