Quotes & Notes | Vancouver Whitecaps 2, Portland Timbers 2 - Oct. 6, 2013

Will Johnson on Ricketts: "He is top level this year; this is the best I’ve ever seen him play"

Donovan Ricketts, Timbers @ Whitecaps, 10.6.13

Photo Credit: 
(USA Today Sports Images)

Quotes: Portland Timbers at Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Portland Timbers Quotes

Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
Thoughts on the game:
“First of all, it is a point. It’s a big point overall. It’s not what we came here for, but it doesn’t allow them to make up any ground, so that’s huge. Obviously, we want to keep moving up, contend for top-three, contend for Supporters’ Shield – we’re still realistically capable of doing that, even though we got a point. More important than that, we don’t allow [Vancouver] to get closer. For us to do that on the road, I think, is a positive. We’ll leave here feeling good about a point. In terms of the game, this is the way games go late. They’re fighting for their lives, they need a win, things get reckless, and honestly you have to tip your hat to Camilo for scoring two, honestly, world-class goals. First goal was not a foul, absolutely not a foul, so I do want to say that. But credit to him for hitting an unbelievable strike. Second goal, there’s nothing you can do about that. It’s a ball in the box and it’s a bicycle kick, so there are times when you just have to say, ‘Hat’s off to them for scoring a couple of world-class goals.’ What I loved about our group was that when they scored the first goal and go 1-1, a lot of times, that team has the momentum, especially at home, and they win that game. Our team turned around and came right back to make it 2-1, and when they scored another goal out of nothing, to go 2-2, most teams will lose the game 3-2. So again, we look to be a very mature team in how were managing the ebb and flow of games and this game was no different. Honestly, they scored a couple of goals that were rabbits out of a hat, but in the end we kept our composure very well through some of those peaks and valleys in this match. It was an exciting game, Vancouver’s a good team, a very talented team, and you can see why earlier in the year, they were one of the best teams in the league. Now recently, they haven’t been as good, but they’re still a very good team, especially in this type of game where they know they have to go and attack. They have got a lot of pace, a lot of talent, but I thought overall we managed it very well and a point is a very good result in this situation.”

On Donovan Ricketts’ performance and excitement of the match: 
“You talk about world-class he made a couple of world-class saves himself. It was an exciting game, it was a rivalry game, it didn’t disappoint with the Cascadia Cup on the line and a lot at stake for both teams. So I think it was an exciting game, I think it was a great game for the league, and the four goals scored. Like I said, I don’t think the two goals scored is indicative of us not managing the game, or us not defending well. You have a guy who now has 18 goals in the league, the guy is one of the best players in the league; so you tip your hat to him when that happens, and there’s nothing we could have done on either goal.”

On Darlington Nagbe, and calls in the game:
“He’s fine, he’ll be fine; he took a knock. There were a couple calls today that I don’t understand. And listen, I am not making any excuses, I think a draw is fair today, with the two goals they scored, and I don’t want to take anything away from the excitement of this game, I don’t want to take anything away from Vancouver and the way they played. But the foul on Nagbe by Camilo, that’s a second yellow. The foul on Will Johnson that’s a straight red, and the foul they called on Camilo’s dead-ball goal was not a foul. So those are plays that I’m scratching my head, and they do not impact the game, but again if I’m calling a spade a spade, and I’m being honest, there were a couple calls today that I just do not understand. They didn’t impact the result, I don’t want to take away from the game and the excitement and how Vancouver played, and I’m not making any excuses, but I do want to point out that there are a couple things that happened in the game that I think are a bit surprising from my standpoint; in terms of the officiating.”

On facing Vancouver’s attack:
“Well, I thought we battered them in possession. In the first half, they could not get onto the ball and they played a 4-4-2 diamond. They haven’t really played that all year, and I thought in all honesty that it was tough for them, because we created basically six versus their four, with our outside back curling around, and we overloaded the middle. So I think they had a real hard time dealing with that and the possession and the control that we had in that first half on the road against a team that wanted to push the tempo. I thought that was a real positive. We scored a great goal, Darlington, it was 1-0, and the game started to open up on that second goal where they leveled it. It’s to be expected obviously in the second-half, even if they didn’t we knew it was going to be kind of a track meet because they were trying to chase the game, they’re going to gamble, they’re going to gamble more than any other game all year because they have to win, and we saw that at the end, they threw caution to the wind and they’re throwing six guys up top, you do not see that in any other games except at the end when teams are fighting for their lives to save their season. Listen, for us to get out of here with a point, when they are doing that and they have a bit of momentum twice, I think is really a credit to our guys on the day.”

Timbers midfielder Will Johnson
Thoughts on the game:
“It was a good game, good goals. You can’t leave too upset when a guy scores two crackers like that. You take your hat off to them, and you take your point, and we’ll go with the glass half-full approach and head back home with a point. We’re playing a desperate team, they had to win and they did try, so it’s a credit to us.”

Thoughts on coming back and scoring after Vancouver first leveled:
“We know we’re going to get hit sometimes and when a guy scores a goal like that you just kind of say, ‘Ok no problem, we’ll move on and try and get another one.’ That’s what we do, we’re not worried, and I think that’s just credit to our guys, the character of our team. We have faced a lot of diversity already throughout the year, so we lean back on that experience from time-to-time and I think tonight was a good example of that.”

On the performance by the defense, Donovan Ricketts:
“Defense and Ricketts solid again, really solid. It takes two world-class strikes to beat us, so that’s it. He is top level this year; this is the best I’ve ever seen him play. He has been in the league a long time, on good teams, and a couple of times a game he makes a big save, and tonight the double save that he made – I think it was Mattocks and Camilo – was just what he brings to this team. He is just a different class when he’s on his game and his level hasn’t dropped from game one to 31. He’s been so consistent for us and all the good teams in this league have good goalkeepers. Every single team that is in the playoff race has a respectable goalkeeper.”

On team’s approach down the stretch:
“It’s just that we’re all on the same page, with one game at a time, and it’s important that we don’t look around and get caught watching what other team’s are doing. We’re focused on us, and we want to succeed by our results, we don’t want to succeed because other people drop points. We are not looking around the league at other teams. We’re focused on ourselves and that’s been the message from Caleb and if I feel that it needs to be reinforced to certain guys I can do that, but I don’t need to do that. The guys are awesome, everybody has bought in.”

Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts:
Thoughts on the game:
“It was a good game. We controlled most of the game, but they’re playing for their season, so they mounted a spirited comeback and I think we handled it well on the road and we came out with the point.”

On Portland’s defensive performance:
“We were solid, we didn’t give them a lot of good looks. In a game like this when they’re pushing people forward they are going to get chances, but I think we did well, and it took two outstanding goals to beat us tonight.”

Timbers defender Jack Jewsbury:
On the team coming back to score after Vancouver first leveled: 
“It shows a lot about our character, and obviously we were disappointed to give up a goal and wanted to get back on the front-foot, and Darlington makes a good run and makes a great play in the box and Will with the unbelievable finish. It shows a lot about our character not to hang our heads for long, and just pick right back up from where we left off.”

On the three goals in three minutes:
“It was a little wild. I haven’t been a part of a game like that in a while, there was some good plays, some unbelievable strikes, and we’re disappointed to not get out of here with three points. But, at the end of the day, you have to congratulate Camilo on two unbelievable, world-class goals; nothing we could really do to defend those.”

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Quotes

Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie
Thoughts on the match:
“I’m the coach of the Whitecaps, but first and foremost, before I was ever that I was a soccer fan and I still am and tonight we just saw an unbelievable game. I’ve watched soccer and have been involved with it for a long, long time and it’s no wonder we pack BC Place out every time we have a game because there’s games like that consistently, and tonight probably topped all, but we are disappointed we didn’t get the win. The saves that Ricketts made on Camilo and [Kekuta] Manneh were really top class saves. I was really proud of our players tonight. I thought we started the game really well and really brightly. I thought we had a 15-minute spell at the end of the first half which we weren’t as good as we would have liked to be, but I thought the second half was really exciting stuff. When you see young players like [Darren] Mattocks, [Russell] Teibert and Manneh making a big impact on the game, it’s exciting and you can see why the Whitecaps fans make such a difference to our game.”

On Camilo’s second goal:
It was just an incredible passage of play. He scored an unbelievable free kick and then right away, we lost a goal which is very disappointing, but another minute we had scored again. I think moments like that, you’re a fan of soccer. You can’t help but be excited by it and you can’t help but be thankful we have a team that is very close to being a very good team. It’s not quite there yet, but it’s not far away. Moments like that make you happy to be involved with soccer. That’s why we come out to games, goals like that and excitement like that.”

On the defensive breakdowns:
Anytime you lose a goal, you’re disappointed. I think on the first goal, we had enough players to really come out and block that shot more. We had central players in central positions, so I thought that we should have done better than that, but it was a great strike. [Darlington] Nagbe is a fantastic player. He scored a fantastic goal and he set up the second goal beautifully. He made a significant impact on both goals. The second goal was one of those moments where you work so hard to get a goal where you may lose concentration a little bit, which was disappointing. The reaction from the players was absolutely top class and I’m really proud of them today.”

Whitecaps FC defender Jay DeMerit
Thoughts on the match:
Credit to their ‘keeper for making two world-class saves; credit to our guys for coming back and showing character. Even from going down today, we were able to do it again. Camilo again shows his class, and why he was on the All-Star team. Overall, it was a very exciting game for everyone involved, but we only got one point which means the next three games are critical, they’re all must-wins.”

On the goals scored against them:
Great goals by everyone involved. Their first goal, you try to close them down, but it was from 30 yards away and the way it curled, it’s tough for David [Ousted] to make a save like that. The second goal took a deflection off of Carlyle’s ankle; again, it was tough for David. I think he could have had a chance if that didn’t happen. You look at the game of inches, and they’ve been on both ends tonight. Overall, we’re happy with the point and to come away with a bit of character and we’re able to keep our heads held high … but that makes Wednesday’s game a must-win game. Sometimes ‘keepers keep us in the game, and that was another case of that tonight.”

Whitecaps FC forward Camilo Sanvezzo
On Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts:
“I think he’s an amazing goalkeeper, but I still have to make sure that I’m able to score and stay in front of him. On my free kick I tried to just hit the target, I didn’t mean for it bounce and go in. It wasn’t a close free kick; I was just trying to hit the target.”

On character of the team:
“I thought we played very well, and if we continue to play the same way the next three games we’ll have a very good chance. It’s disappointing [when being down 2-1] but the game was not over so we tried to attack and we were able to score.”

Notes:

  • Portland remains in third place in the Western Conference with the draw. On 50 points, the Timbers are two points shy of first-place Real Salt Lake and one point adrift of Seattle in second place. Portland plays host to Seattle (Oct. 13) and Real Salt Lake (Oct. 19) in the final two regular-season home games.
     
  • Midfielder/forward Darlington Nagbe registered his ninth goal of the season, setting the club’s MLS mark for most goals scored in a single season. Kenny Cooper first set the mark (8) in 2011. The tally was Nagbe’s 17th goal as a member of the Timbers – the club’s MLS career record.
     
  • Six of Nagbe’s nine goals this season have come on the road.
     
  • Nagbe, making his 45th consecutive MLS start for the club, recorded his fourth assist on the season, setting a new career high.
     
  • Midfielder Will Johnson, who played in his 145th career MLS regular-season match, registered two goals and two assists in three matches against Vancouver this season.
     
  • Johnson’s goal on Sunday makes him the fourth Timbers player to notch eight or more goals this season. Portland is the only team in MLS with four or more players who have recorded eight or more goals.
     
  • The Timbers are unbeaten in 16 games this season (10-0-6) when scoring the first goal, and are 6-0-2 when leading at the half.
     
  • Johnson’s goal in the 77th minute was Portland’s 32nd goal scored in the second half this season, which ranks second-most in MLS. The team’s 16 goals conceded in the second half rank as the second-fewest goals allowed in the final 45 minutes.
     
  • Portland’s 19 goals scored on the road rank fifth-most in MLS.
     
  • Midfielder Kalif Alhassan made his 75th career MLS appearance and his 50th career MLS start for the Timbers on Sunday.