Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 1, Philadelphia Union 1 - Mar. 8, 2014

Ricketts on the crowd: "They braved the rain...that goal at the end was just reward for them"

Quotes: Portland Timbers vs. Philadelphia Union

Portland Timbers Quotes

Timbers Head Coach Caleb Porter
On scoring on the final play of the game: 
“We scored one last year against LA Galaxy to win the game at the final whistle. It’s the last kick of the game. I give our guys a lot of credit for pulling out a point. You can look at it one of two ways: we lost two points or we pulled out a point. We’re going to build on the positive, to pull out a point because, under the circumstances, I think almost everybody thought that the game was over. That’s what this team is capable of. They did that last year. They showed that mettle and that grit and that fight, that refuse to lose attitude. I’d like to see it a bit more in key moments in the boxes. We’ve got to have more hunger, at times. I thought there were plenty of goals in there if we were a little bit hungrier in and around goal and making the run, being a bit brave to get on the end of a cross or looking for that half chance. I think the floodgates are opening soon. I’m hoping that goal we pulled out at the end opens things up.”

Overall thoughts on the result:
“Well, I’m never going to be happy if I don’t win. And sometimes when I win, I’m not going to be happy because I’m looking down the road and I’m looking at the next game. I’m looking at what this team can be; their potential. You’re obviously going to be happy when you win, but the coach in me is always looking for things that can be better. That’s the way I am today, but I am pleased we pulled out a point.”

On the club’s performance against Philadelphia:
“I think [Philadelphia] is a good team; they made some moves in the offseason. I think it’s helped them and they’re an organized team. We still had 59 percent of the possession, so we still had a lot of the ball. Still had 15 shots to 10. We were still the better team between the boxes, but we didn’t make a play on a corner – middle of our six, you have to attack the ball. With as much possession as we had and shots, we only had two shots on frame. So we have to get those on frame, we have to do better in those moments.”

On improving defense on set-pieces:
“You work on it, obviously. But it comes down to, for me, desire and hunger and mentality. Same thing at the other end; it’s that simple. It’s the middle of our six. You have to attack the ball, plain and simple. So we’ll look at it, we’ll talk about it. We’ll go to the training ground and work on it, like we always do. But I think the interesting thing is, people are going to talk about us giving up set-pieces, but we still have to look at the fact that we didn’t give up a goal from the run of play. I think it’s at least nice to know where the goals are coming, so we can correct it.”

On Gastón Fernández scoring his first goal:
“It’s big. I think part of scoring goals is confidence. For him, to get that first one, hopefully that gets him rolling. We need to get [Diego] Valeri his first one and [Darlington] Nagbe his first one as well. Like I said, once we do, this team is capable of scoring goals, there’s no doubt about it. We’re playing well between the boxes. In every game we’ve played, we’ve been the better team in terms of controlling the game. We haven’t been producing goals as well as we need to, but it’s not because of a lack of chances or a lack of control of the game. We’ve obviously given up a few set-pieces, but we’ll correct that the best we can. In the end, if we give up a few set-pieces, but we don’t give up many goals total, I’ll take that. If we give up a ton of goals and none of them are set-pieces, that is not any better. Ultimately, I don’t think we are going to give up many goals this year, that’s more of our focus.”

Overall impressions of the Timbers attacking group: 
“I think they’re getting close. Again, in a game where we’re a touch off and we’re right there. When I watch the film after every game, I’m looking at the moments where we’re pulling off some plays and we’re inches from slipping the ball the right weight or the run could have been a bit better. That’ll come. Again, I think that’s going to be an ongoing thing. That probably is for every team in the league. You always want more goals. Then you score goals and the next game you don’t and now you’re worried again. Ultimately, I think there’s more in this team, for sure in the front guys. It will come.”

Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts
On finding the equalizer against Philadelphia:
“It was a big relief because you’re playing at home and you want points on the board. You want three points, but if you can’t get three points you hope not to lose. Getting that goal, like that, was very good for us.”

On the team’s focus, response after going down a goal: 
“You don’t want to disappoint your fans, especially when you play at home. They braved the rain and they cheered us on and that goal at the end was just reward for them. We did it last season where we fell behind and found a way to get the goal. We don’t want to do it this season, but we’re showing we still have it.”

On improving defense of set-pieces: 
“Win the first ball. Definitely, it’s an ongoing process. It’s something we have to work harder at and we know that. We should do better and we’re going to do better.”

Timbers midfielder Will Johnson
Thoughts on the result:
“Very frustrating. We get ourselves in good spots and, for whatever reason – in the preseason and it’s come into the season a little bit – in and around goal, it’s just not good enough. So that’s frustrating for sure. We need guys who want to score goals, who need to score goals for us to win. That’s why they’re out there. The attacking guys have to look in the mirror and find a way. Watch the video and look at some of those plays and think ‘Could I have done a little more there? Could I have thrown my body at something, made a play, do whatever it takes to get those three points for this club?’ I think, every single guy, if they watch that game back, the answer to that question would be yes, they could have done more. That’s what we have to face.”

On the early stages of the season: 
“It takes time. It’s not going to be perfect on Day One. But when things aren’t good with the ball, you still have to fight. You still have to work really hard when things aren’t going your way and it’s not going to be the perfect possession. Getting stuck in is not pushing a guy when he’s out of bounds or kicking someone when he’s facing the wrong direction. Being tough and getting stuck in is going for 50/50 balls that are there. I don’t think we were quite there.”

Philadelphia Union Quotes

Union Head Coach John Hackworth
On his reaction to tonight's draw and the overall performance of the team:
"It was a tough way to lose a couple points, but Portland is a really good team, so you have to think that there's a lot to build on in that game."

"It was a good performance, but at the end of the day you're a little disappointed. You can hear our locker room, we're standing right outside of it, it feels more like a loss than it does a win. I guess that's a good thing because the players know that we gave away two points there, but we did enough to get three. We have to clean up some game management issues and handle that, learn how to close out a little bit, but good overall performance."

On Cristian Maidana's impact tonight with his creativity:
"I would say that you see a lot of the creativity that he brings to the team and the quality touches and the service is important to us, but then I also think there are guys like Vincent Nogueira had a really good game in the same regard and [Maurice] Edu and Brian Carroll did a tremendous job blocking holes and playing out of tough spaces in the middle. So, good overall performance."

On if their reaction to leaving Portland with a draw is positive:
"If you had asked me before the game, I would have said yeah, I'll take a draw coming into Portland because, look, I have a lot of respect for Caleb Porter and their team is obviously one of the best teams in the league. Coming here into their stadium with the crowd and the atmosphere, it's just pretty incredible, but at the same time, I thought our team played well enough to get three points on the night and we had it. So, it's disappointing that we let it slip out of our grasp."

Union forward Jack McInerney
On his goal tonight:
"Yeah, a corner kick, I think [Cristian Maidana] played in a good ball, [Maurice Edu] got a flick on it and my job is just to stand in front of the goal and kind of cause havoc and I got a little flick on it."

On the performance of Maidana and Edu as new members of the team and the overall changes within the team:
"Yeah, we came in playing a different formation and obviously a bunch of new players and I think, obviously, we held our own. We played well, I think, and as the season goes along I think we're only going to get better."

On the thoughts on tonight's draw:
"It's disappointing, but if you were to have come in and told us we would have drawn 1-1, I think we would have taken it. So, I think we just have to put this behind us and we did a lot of that last year where we gave up late goals and it cost us points and it's something that's going to have to change if we want to make it to the playoffs.”

Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath
On his overall thoughts on tonight's performance:
"I thought the team played very well, really collective group effort from everyone. Very unfortunate to give up a goal like that in the end. I don't think the team deserved it, but no one is at fault but ourselves."

On the result of the draw and reaction:
"We're happy with the way we played for 93 and a half minutes and then giving up the goal in the end is unacceptable. We know that going forward and that's something we have to cut out of our game."

On the new members and formation of the team and how it came together tonight:
"I think the guys on the team know that we're that good and I think Portland was a little surprised about how well our team played tonight. I think it's a good showing for our team and something we can look forward to going until next weekend."

Quotes from Timbers Ring of Honor inductee Mick Hoban
On how it felt to be on the field for his induction:
“It was wet. It was like the opening game in 1975. It’s the highlight of my professional career, that’s for sure. I was never that accomplished a player. I think most of my work is off the field, both with this team and other teams. It’s great to join such great players, better players than I was, and to be thought of in the same sentence as Clive [Charles] and Jimmy [Conway] and Timber Jim means a lot to me.”

On how being inducted into the Ring of Honor ranks in his professional accomplishments:
“It has to be my greatest. I did play for my country when I was a kid that was a big deal, signing my first professional contract, playing against Pelé, playing for the Timbers. There have been many sort of individual highlights, but this one really says you’ve done something for a period of time. Sustained excellence over a period of time and, for me, quite frankly, it’s a lot to do with what I did off the field. I never was the best player, on that team or any team I played for professionally. I was a good professional, but I also felt that we had to go out to promote this sport and that’s what we did and we did very well.”

Notes:

  • Former NASL-era Timbers great Mick Hoban was inducted into the Portland Timbers Ring of Honor during a special halftime ceremony at Providence Park.
     
  • A memorial containing the initials “TL” was on display on the fascia of the Providence Sports Care Center in remembrance of Tom Lasley, a Providence Health & Services executive who recently passed away.
     
  • Saturday’s crowd of 20,674 marked the 52nd consecutive sellout for a regular-season game at Providence Park. The team has sold out every home match since its MLS debut in 2011.
     
  • Midfielder Kalif Alhassan became the first Timbers player to appear in each of the team’s four season-opening matches since entering MLS in 2011.
     
  • Gastón Fernández, Norberto Paparatto and Steve Zakuani all made their Timbers MLS debuts on Saturday against the Union.
     
  • Philadelphia’s goal against Portland on Saturday was just the team’s second goal all-time against the Timbers in five matches.
     
  • Teams representing the Western Conference earned a 3-0-1 record against the Eastern Conference on Saturday, as Seattle defeated Sporting Kansas City, Vancouver beat New York, FC Dallas defeated Montreal and Portland tied Philadelphia.
     
  • The Timbers improved their all-time record against Philadelphia to 2-0-3 with the draw.
     
  • Portland is 2-0-2 in its last four regular-season home games against teams from the Eastern Conference.
     
  • The Timbers wore their new, retro-inspired third kits for the first time on Saturday against Philadelphia.