2013 MLS Cup Playoffs Quotes & Notes | Real Salt Lake 4, Portland Timbers 2 - Nov. 10, 2013

Porter on his team: "They’re mentally tough and they’ve got great character"

MLS Cup Playoffs | Quotes: Portland Timbers at Real Salt Lake 

Portland Timbers Quotes

Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
Overall thoughts:
“I thought we came out with the energy and spirit and mentality that we have shown over the last several months, really the last 10 games. We came out on the front foot, got the first goal, and then for whatever reason we just stopped playing. We dropped off far too much. We let them have the ball and come at us and you could start to feel it coming – the goal. I wasn’t surprised when they scored because when you sit back that much and you drop off as much as we did against a team like Salt Lake, who’s very good on the ball and has some good attacking players, then you’re bound to give up a goal eventually. In saying that, looking at their goals, they’re correctable but disappointing. I didn’t think we defended very well tonight. And, again, over the last 10 games the one thing we’ve done really well is we’ve been good defensively, and we’ve grinded out results. It’s not just the backs either, it’s the entire team, and I thought our pressure after the first goal wasn’t really what we’re capable of. So, we need to get back to that, get that right again because at this level, playing good teams, good players, you’ve got to defend well. And I just thought we were sloppy. And we made some critical mistakes. Obviously we gave up two set pieces which just comes down to marking your man. We had the marks right, it was all sorted. We lost a mark on the first goal. Schuler gets up, heads it. Obviously the second goal was an individual error, and Futty’s just as disappointed as all of us. He knows he’s got to kick that ball in the stands. So now you’re 2-1. In the second half, they score on a counter attack when we’re up the field. We haven’t been giving up those type of goals and we did tonight for some reason. And then the fourth one’s another set piece. Four goals are not indicative of the type of team that we are. But at the end of the day, we weren’t good enough defensively, and we’ve dug ourselves a hole. The last goal was huge for us because that basically makes it 2-0. We’ve come back from two goals quite a bit this year actually, so you look at it as a two-goal margin, and if we get that first goal, we are going to make this thing interesting. There’s no doubt about it, every guy in our locker room, coaching staff, we all believe that we can turn this around and win the series. Because we’re at home, in front of our fans, we are capable of scoring three goals or more in games, we’ve done that many times, we’ve come back in games several times as well. In some ways I’m looking forward to seeing how aggressive and proactive we are pushing this game, because typically when we’re pushing games, because we have to win, we’re extremely hard to deal with. And you saw that in the second half, I mean we had 60 percent possession in the second half and, you know, we were a much different team, you saw, when we were chasing it. You know, but again, we can’t make the critical mistakes defensively that we did if we want to win.”

On the team’s mentality and if he’ll have to bring that back up:
“No, they’ll be fine. And this team has been through adversity this year. Obviously we’ve lost some games, we lost a game here 4-2 that sent us on a 10-game unbeaten streak. So, this team, one thing I’ve learned about them is they’re mentally tough and they’ve got great character and that won’t change. That doesn’t change in one loss. We’re still the same team we are, but for whatever reason we just got away from some of the things that we’ve been doing that have made us successful, and I think a lot of it is just kind of the psychology. We scored a goal and then we just kind of stopped playing for whatever reason and we let them back into it. Maybe it was fatigue, or the altitude, I am not sure, but you did see in that second half, we were back to the type of team we want to be. We need to take that into the next game.”

On how to handle the two-week break:
“Well, it’s good because I think we need to get back to the training ground and improve in some areas. We need to get back to working on set pieces and box defending, getting tight again and organized in our back four. We’ve been a team that’s very good defensively, and that doesn’t change in one game. It definitely wasn’t a performance that was indicative of the type of team we are. I mean it was a bit of an anomaly and I’m disappointed in it, they are as well, but we’re going to get it right. We’re not going to dwell on the negatives. At the end of the day, we know what we’re capable of doing and, again, we’re at home.”

On how the team can get over the loss:
“They’re over it already. They can’t wait until the next game. I think that last goal was big, really big, because I think it gave us a little bit of life knowing that now we only need two goals and that’s, for our team, meant a lot. We know we are capable of that. And for their team, to some extent, probably that rattles them a little bit and gets them thinking. So I know it’s a hole that we’ve dug. We’re not happy about that, it’s not where we wanted to be. But at the same time, we‘re capable of turning it around, no question about it.”

Timbers midfielder Will Johnson
On how their second goal in the final minute affects the team:
“I’ll let you know in two weeks. It obviously gives us little boost. A two-goal deficit is easier than a three-goal deficit, so it gives us little bit of a boost to go home and work hard and do the things we need to do. If we’re better defensively and the same offensively, having scored two goals on the road and we know we can score two goals at home as well.”

Real Salt Lake Quotes

Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis
On his overall reaction to the game:
“Bookends, right? The beginning wasn’t good, the end wasn’t good, but the 75 minutes in-between were really good. I credit [Will Johnson] for that fantastic goal. We don’t get goals scored on us like that too often. Our response to that first goal was terrific. Our guys just got better and better as the game wore on and we got back to the things that we do well. I think that one thing is clear, and I think 100 percent certain, that we still have 90 minutes of work to do if we’re going to advance.”

On his team’s mindset following the second Portland goal:
“With the second goal that Portland scored, we can look at that in one of two ways. We can be really disappointed, because we could have gone up there with a three-goal lead and had an easier affair, or we could look at that and say ‘you know what, we just challenged ourselves a bit more, and we’re not going to be able to go up there and just sit back and have a laugh.’ As we’ve seen with what Portland has done at their place recently, they score a lot of goals. We’re not going to be able to go there and defend all night, for sure.”

On why his team is able to score so many goals against a typically-stingy Portland defense:
“I think we both play a similar style, and I think we both like to set the tempo in the match. I think we both want to press, we both want to be aggressive in our play, and that opens up space to counterattack. There’s going to be some nights when our guys are going to finish opportunities, and there’s going to be some nights when we don’t. We typically create a good number [of chances], and there’s going to be some nights when we score a bunch.”

On the long layoff between the two legs of the Western Conference Championship:
“I prefer not to wait two weeks to play the next match. I’d like to continue this week’s momentum because we’ve had similar starts-and-stops this year, and it’s been tough to deal with. It is what it is, and so we’ll just do our best. They’ve got a two-week break as well and so we’ll probably both be dealing with a little bit of rustiness in that match.”

Real Salt Lake forward Robbie Findley
On mentality going into Portland up 4-2:
“We’re up two goals, so we know they’re going to come out firing and pressing. So we gotta be ready for that. I think at some point in the game if we get past halftime 0-0 things will open up. We’ll get opportunities there. It’s a matter of putting them away again.”

Notes:

  • The Timbers made their first appearance in the Western Conference Championship of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
     
  • With a 4-2 win, Real Salt Lake leads the two-game, aggregate-goal Western Conference Championship series by two goals heading into Leg 2 in the Rose City on Nov. 24.
     
  • Portland finished the regular season tied for the best home record in MLS this season at 11-1-5 (.794 winning percentage), and is unbeaten at JELD-WEN Field in its last 16 games.
     
  • Six times this season – between the regular season and playoffs – Portland has scored three or more goals at JELD-WEN Field, posting a 4-0-2 record in those games. One of those three-goal performances came against RSL on Aug. 21.
     
  • Twice during the regular season, the Timbers overcame two-goal deficits to earn results – March 3 vs. New York Red Bulls (D, 3-3) and March 30 at Colorado Rapids (D, 2-2). New York and Colorado both qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs, and New York won the 2013 Supporters’ Shield with the best regular-season record.
     
  • The loss in Leg 1 is the first in 11 games for the Timbers between the regular season and playoffs. The club’s last loss was Aug. 30, also against Real Salt Lake.
     
  • The Timbers and Real Salt Lake met for the fifth time in 2013 across all competitions – regular season, MLS Cup Playoffs and U.S. Open Cup. In five games, the two clubs have combined for 21 goals.
     
  • With a free-kick goal in the 14th minute, midfielder Will Johnson gave the Timbers their first-ever lead on the road against Real Salt Lake. It was his second goal of the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs and he became the first Timbers player to score in consecutive MLS Cup Playoff games.
     
  • According to Opta, Johnson’s goal was the first scored off a direct free kick in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs.
     
  • On Johnson’s goal, the Timbers scored the opening tally for the eighth time in their last nine games between the regular season and playoffs.
     
  • Real Salt Lake’s go-ahead goal in the 41st minute by Robbie Findley marked the first time the Timbers had trailed in a match since Sept. 14 – a span of nine games.
     
  • The loss to Real Salt Lake was the first by the Timbers in 2013 when scoring the opening goal of the game; the club is 14-1-6 when scoring the first goal of a match (in regular season and playoffs).
     
  • The Timbers have scored seven goals in three 2013 MLS Cup Playoff matches, coming from six different players.
     
  • Forward Frederic Piquionne scored his first MLS Cup Playoffs goal four minutes into second-half stoppage time. His goal is the latest goal scored by the MLS Timbers on the road at 93:45, and is the second-latest goal scored by the club this season. Defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste’s game-winner against LA Galaxy on July 13 was scored at 93:47.
     
  • Defender Jack Jewsbury recorded his second assist of the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs on Piquionne’s goal. It was his third career MLS postseason assist. In total, defenders have accounted for one goal and two assists for the Timbers during the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs.