Quotes & Notes | Seattle Sounders 2, Portland Timbers 0 | July 13, 2014

Zakuani: "Now it’s on to the next game, it’s back at home, try to pick up three points"

Steve Zakuani, Timbers @ Sounders, 7.13.14

Photo Credit: 
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Portland Timbers Quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
On the match:
“I think a lot of it had to do with fatigue, especially in the second half. In the first half, it was very even and they had very few chances. We made it a tight game, which is what you need to do when you’re playing on the road against a team like the Seattle Sounders. There’s a reason why they’re 38 points at the top of the table – they’re a very good team. I thought we made it a game until they found the first goal, kept things very tight. But especially in the second half, I thought fatigue kicked in. Their attackers were fresh versus our defenders, who played 120 minutes on Wednesday. Now they’re defenders played 120 minutes, too, but I thought some of our attacking guys just lacked some of that pop, especially when we needed to find a goal. The first goal changed the game, and obviously the second goal is attributed to us trying to push when we went to three in the back – we had to gamble to try to level the game. So really that goal and a lot of the other chances late in the game had to do with us pushing our lines and going a little bit more aggressive to chase the game. You could see that [Obafemi] Martins, [Clint] Dempsey – these guys were fresh. When Martins came on and paired with Dempsey, they gave us a lot of problems. I think our back line just looked like they were tired and you can’t be tired running against Dempsey and Martins. And Dempsey proved why he’s one of the best players in our country and why he scored a couple of goals in the World Cup. At the end of the day, you have to credit Seattle. Again, that’s why they’re at the top of the table. But I thought we made it a game. We did a lot of things well, especially in the first half, but ultimately we wore down in the second half. Those 120 minutes on our guys’ legs on Wednesday really caught up with us, and with the injuries we had on the back line, we couldn’t rotate, and you could see that a little bit. So we have to move on. This is a game where if we would’ve gotten three points, it would’ve helped, but there are important games ahead – the swing playoff teams. We’ve got to move on. Right now recovery is key. We had a very long week and gave a lot physically and emotionally, but we have to recover and get back to work and get ready for Colorado. That game is going to be very critical.”

On how to keep the team moving forward:
"I think it’s easy. We need to stay focused on what we need to do. These guys won’t get frustrated. They file it away and move on. We know what we need to do – we had a meeting before this game and we know where we’re at. We need to keep our eye on the table, because that’s most important, but we also need to be aware of points that we need to get and certain games as well. At this stage, you move on and focus on the next game. There’s a lot still to look forward to. We’re still in the running here. In certain games, especially with those teams that are around us, we can’t afford to give up points. We need to start gaining ground.”

On the large number of traveling supporters:
“I’d like to give a shout out to the traveling supporters and I’m sorry that they go home back to Portland without any joy and no points. I’m really, really pleased that they came and I thought the Timbers Army, they were tremendous tonight. Hopefully we can bring them joy again on Friday versus Colorado.”

On keeping the excitement rolling after the World Cup:
“Our supporters are always up for it, they always have their ‘A’ game, so it’s our job to make sure we do our part on the field. We have seven home games left and we are going to need everyone’s support. We have a target that we’re trying to get to. We know what we need to do and we’ve got plenty of games to do it. We’ve seen the table and it’s a bit like “Pulp Fiction” – everybody is killing everybody – so I’m not sure what the line is going to be with regards to the points that get you in. You can’t worry about that – you just have to focus on every game trying to get three points, and if you don’t, try and get the next one. We can still get to a very high target with the amount of games we have left, if you do the math. Win eight or nine games, we’re right there, close to 50 points, and I think that perhaps you maybe won’t need 50, but we’ll see. We’re going to focus on trying to win every game – that’s all we can do. But the seven home games, in particular, are crucial. The non-conference games, you can gamble a little bit. But the pivotal games are the games against the Colorado’s, the Vancouver’s, the Dallas’, the San Jose’s, the Chivas’ – those are the games where you don’t want to give up points, because we need to make up ground on those teams especially.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Will Johnson
On what happened in the second half:
“We had heavy legs from Wednesday obviously. They brought in Obafemi Martins—good player, I thought he changed the game. It really gave us a lot of problems when him and [Clint] Dempsey went up top. It was a tough matchup, so we did our best to contain them, but eventually they broke us down.”

On what Martins did that gave them so much trouble:
“It was just his movement. When it was just Dempsey coming back in the midfield, we could track him. Jack [Jewsbury] and I did a really good job of that for 60-70 minutes, but once they brought in Martins and there were two of them floating back in there, we were outnumbered and they were able to get some combinations off and get more looks than they were throughout the first 60 minutes. But that’s what you would expect from guys of that quality coming in the game.”

On whether the game on Wednesday played in role in their performance in the second half:
“I think we were covered well enough, but they put us under a lot of pressure. And obviously going forward, we’re a better attacking team than we showed tonight. We were quite poor going forward. We didn’t create a whole lot, and that’s also credit to them. They’re a very, very good team, and they’re first place for a reason. It’s a combination of factors. There’s no one thing that you can blame tonight on. We’ve just got to move on quickly.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Steve Zakuani
On how the team stands after this match:
“It’s a lot. I mean, we knew how important these last 16 games were. We didn’t expect to win 16 games. We knew maybe there’d be a couple of losses in there, this could be one of them, and you know, there’s no secret – we have to win some games. Now it’s on to the next game, it’s back at home, try to pick up three points, but we’ll take the positives from tonight. The first half, especially the first 25-30 minutes, I thought we were the better team. Maybe if we’d scored in that period, we’d win the game. Let’s not take away from them, they’re a good team. There’s a reason they’re at the top and once they got that first goal, I think it pushed them on. It’s not a game that I think we were outclassed or out-played. We could have won the game tonight, so we’ll take those positives and in these next 15 games now, we keep pushing and trying to turn as many of them into wins as possible. The goal is to make the playoffs. We’re not out of the playoffs, but we have with some urgency now I guess.”

Seattle Sounders FC Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid
On the match:
"I thought it was a pretty even game in the first half. I thought in the second half we stepped up the tempo a little bit. We really talked about trying to get our left back (Jalil) Anibaba forward, as well as DeAndre (Yedlin), which we did. We had an early chance off the header with (Gonzalo) Pineda off his cross. Seeing Oba (Martins) and his quickness really helped us as well, it put more pressure on the back. We talked about playing a little more direct at times, which we did, just making sure we don't get caught on the counter. I thought the second half for us was pretty much our game. There were a couple times in the second half where they were close, but I thought Stefan (Frei) was solid when those things got presented and (Donovan) Ricketts was probably the Man of the Match today because he had some big saves where he got his body in front of him….I was very happy with the way our team played. I was a little surprised at how many minutes we got out of Clint (Dempsey) as we did, that was over and beyond the call of duty. It was great to have those guys back."

On bringing Obafemi Martins into the second half:
"One of the thought processes for me was wanting to get Oba onto the field earlier than I normally sub because when Oba is on the field he and Clint have such a good understanding together. When they are on the field I figured they could get some minutes—at least 15 or 20 minutes together—and they kept going. It worked out alright."

On halftime adjustments:
"At halftime we talked about times where we could get more direct and play more forward. I think we felt we could play behind (Michael) Harrington and (Jorge) Villafana a little bit, and get into those channels. We also wanted to get our backs up a little bit more to tie up their wingers, having to defend. As you saw they took (Diego) Valeri out, maybe because they had to play a little more defense than they expected, especially with Jalil (Anibaba) pushing forward."

Seattle Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey
On playing at home against Portland:
“It’s fun to be playing in front of a crowd like that, I think like 64,000 but it’s more fun when you win in front of a crowd like that. I thought the boys played well today, I thought the defense looked sharp. It was great that we were able to keep a clean sheet. I thought the midfield did a good job on connecting passes and helping with linkup play with the forward in terms of getting the ball into the box and getting good looks and I thought we played a complete game today.”

On second half play:
“Well I think the game has to eventually open up. I think the first half was tight. Personally I found it difficult to get involved in the game because every time I looked around there was a defender. So it is about us staying confident, moving the ball, making them work and open them up.  Eventually I think they did get tired and the game did open up for both teams a little bit, but I thought we were better in possession. And in terms of creating chances I thought we had better looks in front of goal and I thought that we deserved to win.”

·         Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts set a Timbers MLS single-game record with eight saves on Sunday night, surpassing the previous record of seven.

·         Midfielder Diego Chara missed Sunday’s match against Seattle due to caution accumulation.

·         Portland made three changes from Wednesday’s starting lineup in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match against Seattle, inserting Will Johnson, Steve Zakuani and Darlington Nagbe into the starting lineup on Sunday.

·         Four players who logged 120 minutes on Wednesday against Seattle in the U.S. Open Cup also played the full 90 on Sunday (Ricketts, Danny O’Rourke, Rauwshan McKenzie and Fanendo Adi).

·         Defender Liam Ridgewell was included in the 18-player, game-day roster for the first time as a member of the Timbers on Sunday.

·         Midfielder Kalif Alhassan made his 90th career MLS appearance on Sunday.

·         Midfielder Diego Valeri logged his 50th career MLS appearance for the Timbers on Sunday.

·         Defender Jorge Villafaña notched the 95th start of his MLS career. The defender has made nine appearances (8 starts) for Portland this season.

·         Portland saw its five-game, road-unbeaten streak snapped on Sunday against Seattle.

·         Midfielder Gastón Fernández struck the right post with a shot from distance in the 86th minute, marking an MLS-high 13 times Portland has hit the frame this season.

·         The Timbers paired their Rose City Red jerseys with black shorts for the first time Sunday night.