Quotes & Notes | Real Salt Lake 1, Portland Timbers 3 | June 7, 2014

Johnson: "We beat Salt Lake and got a PK, the world might end tonight, I’m not sure."

Will Johnson #2, Timbers @ RSL, 6.7.14

Photo Credit: 
(USA Today Sports Images)

MLS POST-GAME QUOTES
Portland Timbers at Real Salt Lake
June 7, 2014 – Rio Tinto Stadium (Sandy, Utah)
Final: Timbers 3, Real Salt Lake 1

Portland Timbers Quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
On the match:
“The credit goes to all the players. I thought that we had really good preparation the last three days, but when the whistle blows in a soccer game, it’s down to the players, and I thought they looked very mature today. I thought that coming into the game, they looked mature. Obviously, we gave up the goal on a set piece – that was disappointing – but the response to pull two goals back, be up 2-1 at half, we haven’t been up in the second half at this place, I knew that was going to put us in a good position because we usually play good second halves in games. I thought overall we looked mature, and it was a comprehensive performance.”

On putting together the attacking corp for the match:
“I think that it’s like pieces to a puzzle. We have a lot of puzzle pieces to tinker with. We’ve got it wrong some games in terms of how you put it together, and we’ve been handicapped a few times early in the year especially with some injuries. I think that line of three, having that fluid line, playing with more inverted wingers underneath, a true target-type nine really seemed to work today. I thought it allowed us to control the midfield on Salt Lake, which is the key to beating them, you’ve got to flood the midfield. I thought basically our group of five guys with the two holding mids, [Diego] Chara and [Will] Johnson, and obviously [Darlington] Nagbe, Gastón [Fernández], and [Diego] Valeri, those five guys really did a nice job on both sides of the ball with controlling the midfield and I thought that was the key to the match.”

On the decision to bring midfielder Steve Zakuani into the match:
“They [Real Salt Lake] are looking to chase the game and get numbers forward. We thought there are one of two ways to manage the end of a game. You either concede and put defenders on and drop in which allows them to come or sometimes you can actually get that next goal which ices the game. I thought his insertion certainly helped us ice the game.”

On winning for the first time in Salt Lake:
“I’m just happy that we got three points. We haven’t gotten results at home like we needed to, but we’ve now gotten three victories in a row on the road. That says a lot about this group. It shows, even though we are dropping a few points at home, we can make up for it. We have a lot of games left, home and away, and we need to do better at home starting with Dallas on Wednesday.”

Portland Timbers forward Fanendo Adi
On his overall thoughts on the match:
“It’s a great win. It’s very important for the team that we came out victorious, so it’s amazing.”

On getting Portland’s first-ever win in Salt Lake:
“That’s the essence of the game. Before we came here, I was told that we’ve never won here and that it’s pretty tough playing against this team, but I just made it a fun joke: “yeah, there’s always a first time and we’re going to do it this time around.” It was great that we did it this time around. The whole team played a wonderful game.”

On his two goals:
“The first goal was quite more physical because he was just pulling me back and I didn’t even know where the ball was going. I knew that I touched it and I was lucky enough that it went in. For the second goal, I saw that Darlington [Nagbe] was going to shoot the ball and even if the goalie is going to get it, the ball’s going to come into the penalty box, and I was just standing in the right position and the ball just came right to me.”

On how he’s been able to score so efficiently in MLS play:
“It hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been easy at all. It’s a battle. It’s not just me scoring the goals, but it’s the whole team. Without the guys playing fantastic, I wouldn’t be able to get a goal as a striker, so it’s not just about me, it’s about the whole team. We played a nice game.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Will Johnson
On getting his first win in Salt Lake since being traded:
“It feels good. Not as much because coming back here and beating these guys in this stadium where we’ve had such trouble, but we’re desperate. We needed to win tonight, and so fortunate that it was here and that we’ve turned things around a little bit in this stadium, that feels good. But more than anything, we’re desperate, we needed those three points, and it doesn’t matter who we beat.”

On how the offense is clicking:
[Fanendo] Adi. He is on fire. The goal that he scores, and Diego [Valeri] as well. Those two guys are really producing. The goal where Adi just muscles a guy – you can’t teach that, it’s just instinctive. A big physical guy and the way that he scored that first goal, it just kind of opened them up a little bit, and really it was tough for them to bounce back from that. Those two guys are playing great and I think that everyone else is pitching in, too.”

On finally being on the receiving end of a penalty kick call:
“I am hesitant to do anything crazy here. We beat Salt Lake and got a PK, the world might end tonight, I’m not sure. That’s how I feel.”

Real Salt Lake Quotes

Real Salt Lake head coach Jeff Cassar
On why Real Salt Lake seemed so susceptible to the counterattack:
“Yeah, you’re going to get caught forward when you’re in an attacking style of play, but it’s about the choices you make; the kind of ball you can’t play and you’re realizing that, if you do turn the ball over, it’s going the other way.  That’s why you don’t jam the ball down the middle.  You have to go wide, because [if you don’t] you’re just sending them off to the races.  They capitalized on two errors that we made.”

On the mentality of the club after getting one point from the last three matches:
“I think we haven’t gotten the points that we want.  I think some of the performances are there.  You look back at all the games we could’ve won – and should’ve won – so we think there could be a ton more positives from the season so far, and there are.  We are second in the league in points.  You can’t get too down on this, but you can realize that we do have to work on things and get better at things.  If you said, almost at the halfway point of the season, that we’d be in second place overall in the league, would we be happy?  Of course, especially with some of the results that we could have had.  On top of that, we’ve had a crazy amount of injuries this year, players in and out, national team callus, and we’re still where we’re at. I’m really proud of the guys for that.”

On if early-season results caused players to be overaggressive in going for the knockout punch:
“I don’t think it was that.  I think that anytime you have an attacking set play, you want to capitalize on those opportunities.  You don’t want to just rest, sit back and say ‘1-0 is enough,’ because it hasn’t been enough for us.  We want to be aggressive, especially at home.  Those two goals should not happen.  They should not happen.  We probably could’ve made a foul that the referee would’ve not called.  We need to make better choices.”

On Tony Beltran’s two yellow cards:
“Honestly, I’ve got to look at it again.  Anytime you leave your feet, you’re leaving it at the ref’s discretion to make a harsh decision.  I thought it was harsh, but maybe I’m wrong.  I need to see the replay.  I thought Tony [Beltran] got the ball – I know if wasn’t malicious by him, by any means.  It was kind of a weird night for us with some calls.”

Real Salt Lake defender Chris Wingert
On Portland’s two first half goals:
“Sometimes I think this happens to us, we’re in pretty good spots to start and it’s not the first play, it’s the play after. Sometimes we win the ball and naturally we want to get into offensive positions and if we don’t make the right play from there or get a chance on goal and turn it over then they’re off. I think that’s happened a couple of times really on both those plays and they’re looking to get out and run at us and counter and did a pretty good job on the second one.”

On Real Salt Lake’s performance:
“We were a bit unlucky. I thought we played a pretty good first half. Those are two crucial mistakes but I thought we were playing really well and creating good chances and still found ourselves down at half.”

Real Salt Lake midfielder Ned Grabavoy

Overall thoughts on the match:
“Up until their goal, they scored in the 30th minute maybe off of a corner kick. From that moment on, everything that could have went wrong kind of went wrong, you know.  It’s about the easiest way to explain it. Just look at all of the close plays the rest of the way and give up a set piece goal off of a corner when they hadn’t done anything up to that point to even up the match. Obviously, I make a really bad mistake up at the top of the box not serving the ball back in, or losing a little bit, and they start running down the counter attack and get another one right before half. Thing kind of went on a downward spiral from there with a lot of different things, so it was a difficult game, difficult week. You look at some of the games in the very beginning of the season and up to that point, we’re getting a lot of PK’s, a lot of red cards against the other teams, so we have had some fortunate balances go our way, and this week we certainly didn’t.  Even at that, when we go down a guy and to watch the one run and to keep the effort going, that’s the stuff that I look at a little bit. Nobody quit out there, so I think it’s important a little bit to think about that as well.”

Notes:

  •  With the win, the Timbers earned their third consecutive road win, an MLS club record. Portland is unbeaten in four straight road games (3-0-1).
  • Portland earned its first-ever win at Rio Tinto Stadium as an MLS club on Saturday and registered its first win against Real Salt Lake in all competitions since the 2011 season.
  • Midfielder Diego Valeri leads MLS with eight assists and has tallied at least one point in six of the team’s last seven matches. Valeri, Portland’s MLS career leader in assists (21), has recorded five assists in the last three games.
  • Valeri has registered an assist in three straight matches, one shy of tying a Timbers MLS club-record for most consecutive games with an assist (set by Valeri from July 27-Aug. 21, 2013).
  • Forward Fanendo Adi became the first Timbers MLS player to record two braces in a single season with two goals on Saturday at Real Salt Lake, after previously recording a brace against Chivas USA on May 28 in a 2-0 win. Adi has registered at least one point in three consecutive matches and has tallied four goals in the last three games.
  • Portland’s 26 goals are tied for second-most in the league, while the side’s 20 assists are tied for fifth.
  • Midfielder/forward Darlington Nagbe recorded his 100th career MLS start on Saturday. Nagbe has appeared in 82 of the team’s 83 regular-season matches since the start of the 2012 MLS season.
  • Midfielder Diego Chara earned his 100th career MLS appearance on Saturday and also registered his 99th career start, all with the Timbers.
  • Defender Jack Jewsbury registered his 100th career regular-season start for the Timbers. Jewsbury has appeared in 296 career MLS matches.
  • The Timbers were awarded their first penalty kick of the season in the 73rd minute as a Real Salt Lake defender handled the ball in the penalty box while sliding to block a shot. Midfielder Will Johnson converted the effort for his fourth goal of the season.
  • Saturday’s win at Rio Tinto Stadium marked the third time this season the Timbers earned a result away from home after conceding the opening goal (2-1 win at New York; 1-1 draw at Houston).
  • The loss for Real Salt Lake was their first at home this season and marked the first time the team has conceded three goals at Rio Tinto Stadium in an MLS regular-season match since June 20, 2012 (3-2 loss against the LA Galaxy).