Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 2, Chivas USA 0 | Aug. 9, 2014

Valeri's 17th career MLS goal ties him with Nagbe for Timbers MLS career record

Portland Timbers Quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
On the game overall:
“The goal was to get two goals or more, to get a clean sheet…we talked about that all week. The last 12 games, points are crucial. We’ve been scoring goals but we haven’t been defending well enough as a team. I thought the first half, especially, and even in second half, the way we kind of shut things down, it was our most complete defensive performance. I thought Liam Ridgewell was an absolute animal. A lot of little plays he made will get lost, but they don’t get lost on me because we won. I don’t know how many head balls and crosses he cut out on the day. For me, he showed his quality. I thought he was the Man of the Match.”

On coming out strong in the first half:
“It was maybe our best first half of the year; I thought we were completely dominant. I thought our pressure was suffocating. I can’t remember many clear chances they had, and I thought we were all over them. Not only did we press well, but we kept the ball. We created a lot of nice sequences. Second half, would have been nice to get the third goal. If there’s one take away for me, it’s probably the second half could do a bit better job keeping the ball. I thought we shut things down pretty good.”

On finding the right balance:
“If you look at performance wise our body of work, we’ve really played well almost every game all year. We fell short early in the year because we didn’t find goals. We fell short at times because we gave up goals. Right now, we are getting the balance right. I thought the entire back four, even though Liam for me stood out, was very good. They were tight. They looked like a unit. We have an attacking group that will score goals. We don’t need to overdo it. There have been some games where we’ve been up the field with our outside backs not connected quite as much as they need to and trying to help. That’s because early in the year when we were scoring goals then we started to overdo it by not having the right balance. I thought today we looked very balanced as a team. We felt if they stayed connected, we would get a clean sheet. Their goal is to get a clean sheet first and foremost, defend well, and that we would find goals.”

On the quality forward Fanendo Adi brings to the front line and the way the attacking group played together:
“He’s a different type of piece. A couple games ago we were talking about Maxi [Urruti] and I thought [Fanendo] Adi was a handful and did a lot of little things to free up space for Gastón [Fernández]. We didn’t really change our system, but we played Gastón a little bit higher, more like a striker. We wanted it to look a little but more like a two-front, and with Adi and Gastón, you’ve got ‘big man-little man.’ Gastón plays in around Adi. Adi occupies center backs and bangs them. You have to worry about him. I thought Gastón was really good, floating in around him and finding the ball; especially in the first half he created a lot of problems for Chivas. Even though he didn’t get a goal he was involved in countless sequences. I thought he was really a key guy in the first half making us go. Valeri’s really playing well on that right side. It’s hard to pick him up because he’s smart at pulling right at times and when he gets there faced up he can serve quality balls in or he can go at guys run at the left back. Then all of a sudden he’ll pop up in the center, and with Gastón at times pushing at the backline, there’s that hole open for him to do that. So I thought it was really working. The chemistry was right. Then you’ve got Rodney [Wallace] as well who scored his first goal. So it’s great to get him unlocked. So hopefully that’s the first of many for him down the stretch as well.”

On Norberto Paparatto being back in the lineup:
“It worked well today. Paparatto’s been injured, so that’s been a big part of it. He’s had to come out of multiple games. He struggled with an ankle injury for quite a while. Finally he’s fit and healthy. I think for him to have that time [was important] — we threw him into the fire a little bit in the beginning of the year and he’s adjusted to a lot of things, new teammates, new coaches, English, everything. I think it was a tough transition. I think you see that in this league everyone expects guys to step in and do a job immediately. I think just giving him that chance to sit back and get settled and comfortable [was important]. It felt like the right time, this game, to get him in there. I thought he did a really good job defensively and, like I said, the back four I thought was really tight and we got a clean sheet. So hopefully that’s the start of a streak. We want to be dominant at home. I’ve talked about the last seven and now we’ve put two home wins together. We have five left, so hopefully we can get three points in the last five and hopefully we can start putting up more clean sheets because this team is going to find goals. No doubt about it. We’ve been one of the best teams in the league on the attack this year. But we’re not going to do what we want to do this season unless we defend well that was a real point of emphasis this week. I thought it showed in the game.”

Portland Timbers defender Liam Ridgewell
Thoughts on the defensive performance:
“I think we just did the right things, really. Making the right decisions and just playing really well as a back five, back six. I think tonight we clicked and it showed all the work we’ve done over the last few weeks. I think we talked, before the game, that they want to get out wide and put an early ball in and float off second balls, and it was one of the things we tried to look out for and try to nullify. I think Danny [O’Rourke] and Mikey [Harrington] did a good job of that. Me and Papa [Norberto Paparatto] just tried to mop anything up that came in.”

On the chemistry of the backline since he has joined the team:
“We’ve been working really hard on it since I’ve been here and I think the boys have been doing it already this season. It’s just gelling together and, like I said, over the past month, month-and-a-half, it’s gotten stronger and hopefully we’ll go on to get more clean sheets.”

On how he felt playing alongside defender Norberto Paparatto:
“Felt very good. Felt very comfortable, as it has with Danny [O’Rourke] when I’ve played with him. I think we showed how comfortable it looked. We just tried to keep it solid and quite tight. We were looking to keep it a clean sheet as we did and we shut them out really well.”

On how he’s feeling physically:
“I’m feeling very good. This evening, I felt probably the best I’ve felt. A 2-0 win obviously helps that and the shutout. So it makes it a little better. I felt really well tonight. Hopefully I can keep bringing more to the team the fitter I get. It’s the fourth game I’ve played. In preseason, the Premier League is just starting back home, so I’m feeling very good and very fit and hopefully I can contribute more as the weeks come on.”

On the team’s performance:
“The gaffer talked to me before the game that they wanted to bring our best game and I think we showed that tonight. We got off a bare result last week and we bounced back very well.

On the key aspect to keeping a clean sheet tonight:
“Just defending well. I thought we set out our stall very well. We started on the front foot. We didn’t want to let them get down the line and get their crosses in as they like to do. We’d touched on it before the game. We set our stall out really well, very early. I think we’d done really well tonight in stopping that and Papa [Norberto Paparatto] just mopped up behind me.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On his current run of four-straight games with a goal:
“It’s just lucky. It was lucky. We are playing well. I think we need points and we know that. Everyone is working hard every game to get three points and try to go to the playoffs.”

On what he was thinking in the buildup to his goal:
“I was just driving through the backline and I waited for the guy that was close to me. I was thinking to shoot and I tried to get some space to shoot. I was lucky and it was a goal.”

On his confidence level:
“I’m confident because I know that my team trusts in me. The coach trusts in me and I’m trying to give the team all I can. I’m working and I was lucky about that [goal], but I’m happy too because we won at home and that’s important.”

On what this week has meant for him with the All-Star Game and the match tonight:
“It was a special week. Obviously, what was most important was this win because we needed that. The All-Star Game, at home, that was special for me and we won, too. It was a very good experience and I will rest tomorrow and maybe try to think about this week. Obviously, on Monday, I’ll work to play in the next game in Boston.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Rodney Wallace
On getting back on the scoreboard after missing the first part of the season to injury:
“It was something special tonight, for sure. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. Been putting in the work, day in, day out, so it’s a true testament to the hard work I’ve been putting in. But at the end of the day we got the three points and that’s what matters.”

On his positioning for his goal:
“I was talking to [Diego] Valeri before the game and he said, ‘Don’t hold back today. Make sure you’re in the box. Make sure you’re creating chances and make sure you’re anticipating balls.’ That’s exactly what I did. It was a great play by [Fanendo] Adi to hold off the defender and flick it to me and I was just in the right place for the finish.”

On the importance of the clean sheet along with the three points:
“It’s a huge step for us. It’s exactly what we wanted to do today. Get the three points, get the clean sheet and win by two goals or more. I think we did everything we were supposed to do.”

Chivas USA Quotes

Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera
On the match:
“It didn’t go well, the first half. Especially the first half, we didn’t play well. We were very tentative with the ball. We lost the ball in transition and they took advantage of that. When they got the ball, they put a little bit of pressure, we weren’t good with the ball and they went up 2-0. By the time we wanted to react, it was okay. In the second half, we were better. They were more comfortable and they waited for us. We didn’t put any kind of pressure with scoring goals, which is the most important. Yes, we put pressure, we took a little more possession. Spacing, we were in their half, but we weren’t clear to score and we couldn’t score. The whole time, in the second half, was good, but not enough.”

On forward Erick Torres being neutralized by Portland’s defense:
“We have to help Cubo [Erick Torres]. That’s what I always say. We have to help Cubo. We didn’t help because instead of looking to go forward, we were just passing the ball back. In the first half we weren’t clear. We didn’t move the ball quickly and we were losing the ball so easily. That’s something that has to be addressed. We will address that. The second half was a little better. The subs came in and it was much better, more life, creating options, trying to go forward. They [Portland] defended well and if they weren’t clearing the ball, the goalkeeper was in a good position. We couldn’t create possibilities to score for any of us.”

On Portland midfielder Diego Valeri’s performance:
“He’s a great player. Those type of players, when they have one chance, when you give them the chance, you saw what he did. We knew that. We knew that we shouldn’t be giving him that type of space. Or they stole the ball and were in a counter attack and he took advantage of that possibility. In the first half, we didn’t play well and they punished us. In the second half, when we balanced the game, which it was even, we didn’t have good options to score goals. The game was over at that moment.”

On addressing issues in the backline and the attack for Chivas USA:
“Right now, I think we have some issues. We lost the ball and the way we lost the ball, they punished us. It wasn’t like they were penetrating so easily through the middle, through the defense. No, it was more about us losing the ball in areas where we shouldn’t lose the ball. They found those possibilities. The fact that we didn’t keep the ball well, that we didn’t move the ball well in the first half, we were losing the ball, plus the fact that going forward we didn’t have that good mentality. That’s something that we need to address otherwise it’s going to be difficult for us. If you don’t have a good mentality going forward, if you don’t create problems for the other team, they’re going to be comfortable over the whole field and that was the first half. But in the second half at least, we showed character. The guys came in well, but it was a little bit too late for us.”

Chivas USA midfielder Mauro Rosales
On the match:
“I guess the first half we didn’t come out with the right mentality. After they scored the goal, we were a little bit unorganized and not in a good shape. We couldn’t come back from that goal. In the second half, it was something different. The team showed some good chances. We showed that we can play offensively. Just give options to the strikers. We did a very good job in the second half, but it wasn’t enough. Wasn’t enough to beat this team. It’s a good team. They have good players. If you give them space, they’re going to hurt you and that was the game. One half for them, one for us, yet they were more effective than us.”

On Valeri’s performance for the Timbers:
“Not just tonight. He’s the kind of player that the first day I saw him in Arizona, he had just come to preseason and I said to him, ‘Don’t worry. You’re going to be one of the best players in this league.’ I know him from Argentina. I know his quality, I know what he’s capable of. Having good players around, makes him much better than what he is in this moment and he’s having a very good time in this moment. I think it’s four or five straight games scoring and not just scoring, but making good chances for his teammates. For me, he’s the best player for them.”\

On Portland marking out Erick Torres:
“I guess he was too lonely in the attacking part of the field. Having four defenders against one [attacker] is not always a good thing to do. He needs help from us coming from outside. The guys just play in the middle, being organized. If you are in a good shape, organized, you can have more chances, have more second balls that are going to help you to move forward. It’s our job to give options to him. He didn’t have many because of what we did in the first half. After you are coming from being down 2-0, coming from behind, it’s not easy anymore. You have to work double. They were compact because they were winning 2-0. They don’t need to go forward anymore. They gave us a tough night, but I think we did well enough in the second half to keep it for the next game. We feel like we learn from every game.”

Chivas USA midfielder Nathan Sturgis
On the match:
“This close after a game, it’s hard to find too many positives, just with the result. The string of results that we’ve had. I think we’ll just take a little bit of time right now, then look at the game in a little bit more of an objective way and move on to next week.”

On the changes Chivas USA made to improve in the second half:
“It’s the score that changed the game. The first half we didn’t play well and were down 2-0 and at that point, it’s really difficult. They’re up 2-0, so they’re pretty comfortable. For us, it’s not too late. You’re still in the game, but when you put yourself in a hole by playing like that in the first half, it makes the second half difficult. We did play better, but it doesn’t do much if you don’t do that in the first half.”

On Portland’s play that limited Chivas USA’s offense:
“They were getting good pressure on us. We didn’t do a good job of moving the ball and being dynamic and making space for ourselves. That allowed them to really lock us in, in certain spots and win the ball. We turned the ball over in some bad areas, so that was giving us some trouble.”

Notes:

  • Midfielder Diego Valeri has tallied a goal in four consecutive matches, setting a Timbers MLS record streak. Additionally, the midfielder has scored in five of the last six games.
     
  • Valeri’s goal in the 10th minute was his 17th career MLS goal, tying him with midfielder/forward Darlington Nagbe for the Timbers MLS career record in goals scored.
     
  • During Valeri’s four-game goal-scoring streak, all four of his goals have come from outside the penalty box. Valeri’s four goals from outside the box ranks as the most of any individual player in MLS this season.
     
  • Valeri has registered at least one point in eight of the team’s last 11 regular-season matches.
     
  • Prior to kickoff, defender Jack Jewsbury was honored in a special ceremony at midfield in recognition of his milestone 300th career MLS appearance on July 27 against the Montreal Impact.
     
  • Defender Michael Harrington made his 200th career MLS appearance on Saturday.
     
  • Saturday’s crowd of 20,814 marked the 63rd consecutive sellout at Providence Park. The Timbers have sold out every regular-season match at Providence Park since their inaugural MLS season in 2011.
     
  • The Timbers have earned at least one point in 12 of the last 16 regular-season matches and pulled into a tie for fifth place in the Western Conference standings.
     
  • Following Saturday’s MLS play, the Timbers are tied with FC Dallas for the league lead with 38 goals scored in 23 matches.
     
  • Portland’s opening goal in the 10th minute marked the team’s eighth goal scored in the opening 15 minutes of a match this season, which ranks second in the league.
     
  • Defender Norberto Paparatto made his first league start since June 7 and his first start in all competitions since June 24 (U.S. Open Cup match at Sporting Kansas City).
     
  • Midfielder Rodney Wallace tallied his first regular-season goal since Oct. 26, 2013, in a 5-0 win over Chivas USA at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Wallace made only his third start of the season after recovering from offseason knee surgery.
     
  • Midfielder Diego Chara has tallied an assist in consecutive home matches (July 18 vs. Colorado; Aug. 9 vs. Chivas USA).
     
  • Portland is 3-0-1 when leading at the half in 2014.
     
  • Portland’s 23 home goals at Providence Park ranks second only to FC Dallas (24) for the MLS lead in home goal-scoring.
     
  • The Timbers extended their unbeaten streak against Chivas USA to six consecutive matches (4-0-2) on Saturday.
     
  • Portland held Chivas USA to just one shot on goal for the second time this season (May 28, Aug. 9) and conceded only one shot on goal for the third time since 2013.