Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 2, Colorado Rapids 1 | July 18, 2014

Ridgewell: "It was a good three points. A big three points for us"

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
On how the win feels tonight:
“I care mostly how it feels to my guys. It feels good to them. Proud of their composure second half, obviously made it tougher than it should have been. This team’s been through a lot this year. One of the things I told them before the game was, ‘One of two things happen when you’ve been through a rough patch that inevitably teams go through.’ And you see it a lot. One of two things happens. On one hand you can be fractured, you could crumble and you can divide. And we haven’t done that. What we’ve done is what good teams do. They’ve grown stronger, they’ve gotten better and they’ve become unbreakable. And this team, because of what we’ve been through, we’re better, we’re stronger, we’re hungrier, and that’s how we were able to pull that out in the second half because of what we’ve been through. And I think it’s what is going to continue to propel us hopefully in these futures games. We’re probably the strongest and toughest team in the league because of that, and that’s why we were able to pull that victory out in the second half. And we need to continue to use that to our advantage when we’re in a situation like we were today.”

On how Liam Ridgewell looked and what he brought to the team in his first game:
“I thought he was outstanding, especially considering he has only trained five days, coming off an offseason, a five-week offseason, he hasn’t played a game since April. I think early on he was getting used to the turf a little bit. For me, the play that summed up his performance was when Dillon Powers was driving late in the game, top of the box and [Ridgewell] just held his position and cut the shot out. It’s those little plays that we need our defenders to make to win games. This game is a game of moments. It’s the little things that win you games. I thought he did a lot of little things today to help us. And so did some of the others. Obviously Gastón [Fernández] and Maxi [Urruti] going into the game we thought they could change the game and give us a boost and they did. [Diego] Valeri was special tonight. Overall, good three points, but it’s no more than three points. We have to move on. We are going to enjoy this for a couple days and get back to work. Focus on Montreal and we won’t deviate from the process we followed this week which is we are focused on the next game and that’s it. We are not going to get distracted by anything else.”

On playing Diego [Valeri] on the left more than normal:
“The key with that was [Christopher] Klute. Normally we shift [Valeri] to the right sometimes because he tends to like to float there. You see that through the run of play. Even when he’s playing the 10 he kind of fades there. That’s his natural playing style. But with Klute, he would’ve had to do too much defending. So Darlington [Nagbe] was a better matchup there because he’s a guy that will be able to track up and back a little bit more. So we felt to get Gastón and Maxi on the field that was the best spot. And what was interesting, I think it’s more his ability to feel a game and smell where the spaces are. He floated a lot to that left, and so we felt like that was the right move to shift him over there. In the end, it worked out he was able to come inside on that right foot and smack a ball, score the game winner.”

On flipping Michael Harrington and Jack Jewsbury at halftime:
“We were planning to start Jorge Villafaña but he was a late game scratch. He pulled up yesterday with a little bit of a niggle. We evaluated it more today and he wasn’t going to be able to go. So I didn’t want to disrupt the preparation in all the other spots. Jack has played left back. I thought that he would control the space a little bit more next to Ridgewell, knowing that he wasn’t completely 90 minutes fit and also with [Steve] Zakuani playing more as a true winger we felt we’d get the width there. But I didn’t like the way it was going so I felt with Mikey there on the left he’s going to get forward a little bit more, create 2-v-1s and Jack’s obviously right-footed. So in the end, I just didn’t like the way it went first half so I made that change.”

On his decision to sub in Maxi [Urruti] and Gastón [Fernández] at the same time:
“I think that sometimes you make subs and you chop it up too much and you never get in a rhythm. So my thought was let’s put them both on and let them get into a rhythm together versus layering it in. That was the thinking. Sometimes one boost is a little and two boosts is twice as much. So we felt we needed a major change in the game and a major boost. I didn’t want to chop the game up too much.”

On the overall performance of the defense tonight:
“I thought overall the back four especially was outstanding. I thought first half, at times, we were a little stretched. That’s one of the things we said at halftime. We kind of got a little rattled. I think because we’ve given up early goals. It rattled us and I didn’t think we kept our composure very well. We didn’t dig in and defend. You know part of chasing a game isn’t just attacking, it’s defending. You have to dig in and defend, otherwise you give up the next goal. If you don’t defend, you don’t get back on the ball. I thought we weren’t as hungry as we needed to be defensively. We adjusted a few things with the positioning of Will Johnson and Valeri so that we had more midfield, because that’s the other thing when you are chasing a game. Sometimes you think just push numbers forward, but then you lose the midfield and then you’re never able to get a hold of the game and control it. So I think that helped. Valeri was playing a little too high first half and so was Will, so at times [Diego] Chara was the only guy in midfield. I thought that move in the second half helped us get a hold of the midfield, get a grip on the game.”

On how he feels about the roster he picked for the MLS All-Star game:
“I wish I had more Timbers on it. I’d put a lot more Timbers on it if I could, but we might get a couple in there. There are more Timbers that are deserving. It’s a group of guys that have earned it. More than anything, winning the game, I felt it was important to reward guys that have earned it. There are a few guys that aren’t on there from around the league that probably earned it that aren’t going to get on. At the end of the day you have to draw the line and we’re going to name 23 guys tomorrow, but there are still a few guys that should be on there that deserve it. There are a lot of good players in this league, a lot of attacking players that have had good seasons. So I said the other day the irony of that is if I picked all the players that earned it I’d be playing a formation that wouldn’t work in the game with too many strikers. I still took more strikers than probably I should have because they deserved it. In the end, we are going to highlight the players and showcase their abilities. Try to make it a game, try to make it exciting at the very least, maybe it will be a 5-5 game.”

Portland Timbers defender Liam Ridgewell
On how it felt to play in front of the home crowd for the first time:
“Fantastic. I was a little bit late going out — I had to change my socks — so I could hear the crowd already when I was going out, so that was a little bit special. And especially at the end, obviously when we won, that was a little bit special, so it was good to hear them sing.”

On the importance of earning the three points from the game:
“It was a good three points. A big three points for us. It pushes us up the league. It was something we were very relaxed about. We knew we could pick the points up, and I think we showed how we are as a group with how well we played.”

On how it felt to play with the team for the first time in a game:
“It felt great. I’ve had a few training sessions and then suddenly a game, and that was obviously great to get the game in. Danny [O’Rourke] helped alongside me and kept pushing me on, so it was obviously fantastic to get the 90 minutes in under my belt. The only way to get to know everybody, and get used to the crowd and the game is to go out there and play. So it was very good to go out there and do that.”

On his reaction to the Rapids’ early goal in the game:
“As a defender, you don’t want to lose goals, and I wanted to try and keep a clean sheet tonight like the rest of the back four, back five, and it was disappointing to lose it off a set piece. It’s something we’ve got to work on during the week, and I was just glad to get the three points and two fantastic goals.”

On his reaction to the style and level of play in MLS:
“Very impressed with it. Obviously we get a little bit of it in England, and you get to watch it a little bit, but to watch it was very impressive, and to play in it was very good. It’s very quick, and very physical. It suits my style of play, and I really enjoyed it out there.”

On his impressions of midfielder Diego Valeri:
“I like what I see, I like what I see. If he keeps that up every week, and he can walk out there for 90 minutes and score a goal like that, it’s fine with me. That’s a fantastic goal, and it really got the crowd up, and it was a bit special.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On how he felt to get the three points in front of the home crowd:
“Happy. Happy with the three points because we deserved that, this team deserved that, the fans deserved that, happy because the performance was very good in the second half. We are close, and we know that, and we know that the results will come.”

On how he felt in the flow of the offense against the Rapids:
“I felt good. For me, it’s good. I’m glad because I scored. For me, I will say, the most important thing is the team. The goal is the playoffs, and we are there.”

On his game-winning goal in the 77th minute against the Rapids:
“At halftime, [the Timbers assistant coaches] said to me, ‘shoot, shoot, score.’ When I got the ball, I knew that I would probably shoot. Like I said, I’m happy for the team.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Will Johnson
On the club’s response to being down 1-0 in the game at halftime:
“Caleb [Porter] got after it in the locker room at halftime, sorted some things out tactically, and then made sure that we knew we had to do better. We had to work harder. We had to play tactically smarter, and we had to fight for our fans. We thought good things would happen for us.”

On midfielder Diego Valeri’s game-winning goal in the 77th minute:
“It’s a special goal. We put in a lot of good work defensively, team defense, to keep them off the board after that, but you need a special play to win the game, and there’s no more special play than that. There’s no more special player. He’s our man. We fed him a good ball, and it’s one of those where he’s about to wind up and you’re like, ‘no, no, pass, pass, pass,’ and it goes in the back of the net. You’re happy for him. He’s a big-time player. He’s the most humble guy I’ve ever met, so I’m thrilled for him and thrilled for the boys.”

On second-half substitutes Maximiliano Urruti and Gastón Fernandez’s impact on the game:
“Those two guys have been huge for us. No matter who comes off the bench we need them to make an impact, but those two guys especially, Maxi finding a way to get a goal, and Gastón, so good at finding those holes in between the back four and the midfield three. I think we had a little bit of a problem with that, especially in the first 45. We couldn’t find those holes, and when he comes on, him and Valeri, Nagbe and Urruti, those four guys, they were flying. They could have scored a couple more. It was fun to watch. It was beautiful stuff out there.”

Colorado Rapids Quotes

Colorado Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni
On the match:
“I thought it was a well fought game. I thought the guys went out and played really well, played hard, really controlled the tempo in the first half and parts of the second. I think when [Portland] got that first goal, everyone got into it. We were on our heels a bit. Having said that, we had chances early in the second half to really do a little more with our chances and we didn’t do enough. I think we lost to a world-class strike. Sometimes you just have to tip your hat. Onto the next one.”

On how injuries impacted the match:
“We came into this game limping. We had some suspensions. We were digging deep. More importantly, the guys that were on the field did a tremendous job of really getting after it and doing everything they could. When you’re forced to make quick changes, early changes in games, it obviously disrupts the flow. But having said that, we had chances to go up two, we had chances to go up 2-1, we had chances to tie it. So tonight just wasn’t the night, but again the effort was tremendous and just have to prepare for the next game.”

On the effect of Timbers’ subs Maximiliano Urruti and Gastón Fernández:
“Obviously it throws in two fresh players, very technical. They like to get the balls underneath. I thought they were dynamic when they came in the game and they found little pockets. They did a good job combining with the rest of the midfield and bringing them forward. I think they impacted the game.”

On if the result is hard to swallow:
“No. It’s not difficult at all. I think the guys went out and executed the game plan, got up ahead in a difficult place to play, controlled the flow for large portions of that game. We lost to a good side, to a world-class strike. Nothing to be disappointed about. Some things we have to improve, but I say improve. Every game you have to improve whether you win or lose, right? Just have to get the minds right, rest, recover, and onto the next game.”

Colorado Rapids defender Drew Moor
On the match:
“I’m disappointed that we come away with nothing. You can’t talk enough about the effort and the battle our boys put into it. We got beat at the end of the day by a world-class goal by Valeri. Probably could have closed the space down a little bit better. I just told the guys in there this game alone is a microcosm of what the rest of the season is going to be like. We’ve got some young guys in there. We’ve got some guys banged up in there, but if we put forth that effort and that attitude and just tighten things up a little bit more, we’re going to make the playoffs and we’re going to make a good run at it.”

On the playoff-like atmosphere:
“First of all, anytime you come in here, it’s like a playoff atmosphere, so there’s that. The game plan we went in with, we executed well. We didn’t want to mess around with it in our defending half. We wanted to get it down and play in our attacking half, which we did extremely well in the first half. Probably could have had a couple more [goals]. I think at the end of the day, we gave up maybe a little too much possession early in the second half and allow them back in it, but just the game plan we went in with, the attitude we went in with was tremendous. Again, we’re disappointed we lose the game. It’s a funny game sometimes.”

On the difference between the first and second half:
“Possession certainly. We weren’t able to get the ball down and play as much in our attacking half as I thought we did in the first half. Maybe conceded a little bit too much space, but when you have a 1-0 lead in a place like this, it’s difficult to continue that offensive pressure on them. Again at the end of the night, you’re disappointed in the first goal you give up, but the second goal is a world-class finish. I don’t want to sound too positive, but the effort those guys showed was tremendous and hats off to Portland. They walk out of here with the three points, but a lot of games to play and again this is a game we learn from and stay positive, walk out of here with our heads held high.”

Colorado Rapids midfielder Dillon Powers
On the match:
“I thought we had a pretty strong defensive performance. We came in here with that mentality that we were going to defend well and defend strong and we did that for most of the game. They beat us, like Pablo [Mastroeni] said, with a world-class goal. Have to tip the cap to them for that. I think we were proud of the defensive side, but I think we could have played a little more.

On the difference between the first half and the second half:
“I think some of the subs came on. I’m not sure exactly what the order was, but I thought they made a big difference, finding the gaps in between or right behind the center backs. Just a good job facing up and linking up with the rest of the team. I thought that was the difference for me. Like I said, finding those gaps between the center-mids and the backline. I think the first half we were able to shut that down. Second half they did a much better job of finding those balls.”

Notes:

  • Defender Liam Ridgewell made his Timbers and MLS debut on Friday against Colorado, starting and playing 90 minutes.
  • Friday’s crowd of 20,814 marked the 62nd consecutive sellout at Providence Park. The Timbers have sold out every regular-season match at Providence Park since their inaugural MLS season in 2011.
  • Portland has won four consecutive home matches against the Rapids at Providence Park, dating back to the 2012 season.
  • The Timbers improved their all-time record against Colorado to 4-5-1, including a mark of 4-1-0 at Providence Park.
  • Defender Jack Jewsbury made his 299th career MLS appearance on Friday, tallying an assist and playing 90 minutes. The game was Jewsbury’s 104th as a member of the Timbers since 2011.
  • Midfielder/forward Darlington Nagbe made his 115th career MLS appearance, tying former NASL Timbers forward Clyde Best for ninth place on the Timbers all-time career games-played list across all eras.
  • Portland’s 518 pass attempts on Friday night marked a season high, while the team’s 430 passes completed rank as the second-most in a single match by the Timbers in 2014.
  • With two second-half goals on Friday, the Timbers rank second in MLS with 21 goals scored in the second half of matches this season.
  • Portland’s 21 home goals are the most of any MLS team in 2014.
  • The Timbers are tied for second overall in the league with 32 total goals.
  • Midfielder Diego Valeri’s game-winning goal in the 77th minute was Portland’s 11th goal scored in the final 15 minutes of a match this season, which ranks tied for the most in the league.
  • Forward Maximiliano Urruti tallied his team-leading seventh goal of the season on Friday and his first since June 1.
  • Midfielder Diego Chara registered the fourth game-winning assist of his Timbers MLS career on Friday, bringing him within one game-winning assist of tying the Timbers MLS career record (5, Kalif Alhassan).
  • Valeri has registered at least one point in five of the team’s last eight regular-season games (2g, 5a).
  • The Timbers have battled back to earn at least a share of the points in 10 matches, earning a 3-5-7 record in 2014 when allowing the first goal.