Quotes: Portland Timbers at Philadelphia Union
Portland Timbers Quotes
Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
On the result against the Union:
“Listen, Philly’s a good team and there’s a reason why they have 30 points, and now 31. They’re a team that scores a lot of goals, and they do it by getting balls in the box. I’m happy that our guys were up for the challenge. It’s not an easy game, especially for our backs to deal with as many balls in the air as they did. It’s through the run of play, it’s on set pieces, it’s long throw-ins. They hope that you have a lapse, and we didn’t. Even at the end when a lot of teams would have crumbled on those couple set pieces, because basically you’re one play away from losing the game, our guys were up for the challenge. In the end, it’s a point on the road. So, there’s nothing negative about it. We didn’t come here for a point, we came here for three points. But we knew we’d have a battle. Credit to Philly, I thought they fought us tooth-and-nail, and they were certainly up for it as well. In the end it was probably fair.”
On the team’s performance:
“I thought our best period of play was after halftime. Those first 10 to 15 minutes we were flying and just disappointed not to get the goal because I thought we had a couple chances and [Zac] MacMath stood on his head a couple times. I thought he had a tremendous game. And they had a few chances as well. There weren’t a ton of chances on the day, but I thought the goalkeepers made the saves they needed to, and in the end, their defenders did a nice job of stopping those final crosses, and we did as well on the other end. In the end it was probably a game that was played more in the midfield. Battling for loose balls and in the boxes, I thought both back lines and goalkeepers did a tremendous job, which is why there was a clean sheet on both sides.”
On the team’s start to the second half following the weather delay:
“There we some periods of play tonight that were as good as we’ve played all year. Once we got the ball down and got our combination play going, like I said, that first 15 minutes of the second half is as good as we’ve played all year. We’ve got to find the goal, I think that’s the only thing. It says a lot about our guys that we leave a game with a point on the road, and in some ways we’re not happy.”
On the team’s defense:
“We’re proven to be a stingy team defensively. That makes me happy because there are going to be games where you just can’t find the goal, but at the very least you shouldn’t lose. And if you get a clean sheet, you’re not losing. At least you get a point, and on the road, it’s not all bad to get a point.”
Midfielder Will Johnson
On how good the Timbers can be:
“It’s still early in the process of putting the team together, but we could be a lot better. Being hard to beat and not being outworked, those are two very good blocks to build the team on, so I’m proud that we’ve got those things down. We just need to work on the attacking phase and quality of the attacking third.”
On the weather:
“It’s different with the humidity; it’s tough and it does take away from you quite a bit. We gave away a lot of throw-ins and set pieces, so it made it difficult. We had to defend a lot of those and had to bring a lot of guys back and then we weren’t able to get up as quick. They’re a difficult team to play and the weather didn’t help.”
Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts
On the game:
“Philly is a good team. We wanted to control the game and we knew they were going to have moments, so we were prepared for what they were going to throw at us. The Union are a good team and they have 31 points in this league. When you have that many it means you’re doing something right.’
On bouncing back from Columbus:
“We responded well. It was a bad game against Columbus on our part. We went home and we set things right against LA. Now we are on the road and got a point, so it’s always good to keep your scoreboard ticking.”
Philadelphia Union Quotes
Union coach Rob Vartughian
On preparing for Portland:
“They’re a good team and we prepared for them well. I think the only look we were thrown for was [Frederic] Piquionne and Ryan Johnson starting [together]. We expected them to press us. I think the heat was difficult for both teams. They’re a very mobile group, interchanging parts and they’re difficult to play against. With that being said, I thought we did a good job tonight. I thought defensively, we were good throughout the whole night. The first half, we chased the game a little more than we would have liked to and didn’t get a hold of the ball, we didn’t make passes to keep it. The guys were tired, but I think the guys came out of the locker room after difficult circumstances with the weather and the delay and we had a good second half. We were happy with that.”
On the difficulty of the delay:
“It’s tough. Guys are getting leg work done. You’re not really sure – is it going to be five minutes? 25 minutes? 30 minutes? But it’s something both teams had to do. I think we were just happy with how we came out of it and had the second half that we had.”
On the play of Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts:
“The save he made on Conor [Casey] is world class. We felt, to get to that point in the game, when we were on their end and we were pressing, it was a disappointment to not find a way to get a goal. You have to tip your hat to the guy, he makes an unbelievable save.”
On the result building confidence:
“I think we have a really good locker room. We have a group of guys that believe in what we’re doing. I think it’s hard to point at games and say we weren’t in it. I think this group feels really good about how we’re coming out and how we’re preparing for games. Would we have liked to come away with 3 points? Sure. But at the end of the day, a guy makes a world-class save on Conor’s ball, that’s just how it goes. In terms of where we are from a confidence standpoint, I think everybody feels pretty good about what we’re doing.”
Goalkeeper Zac MacMath
On the result against Portland:
“It was a good tie for us against a good team. Obviously, Portland's been playing really well this year and they're a tough team to beat. They proved that tonight. Unfortunately, the bounces didn't go our way and we couldn't get one there at the end.”
On if Portland's attacking formation surprised them:
“We knew that they might try to do that, especially on the road. That poses a pretty big threat to us, and I think they did pretty well in the first half with Ryan Johnson out wide serving balls in. Thankfully, we kind of reorganized for the second half, and kind of took them out of the game in the second half.”
On if this was his best game of the season:
“Yeah. I think this is one of my best games of the season; up there with Chicago. It's something to build on and hopefully I, and the team, can continue to have strong performances like this.”
Midfielder Danny Cruz
On the Union’s attack and the play of Ricketts:
“[Ricketts] was very good again tonight. He made some big saves as he always does; credit to him. They're a good team, though. I felt that we had the majority of the good chances. They had one real good one there in the second half, but overall, I think we're happy with our performance. We obviously wanted three points, but we just played a team that only has two losses and we came out feeling like we were a pretty good team against them.”
Forward Jack McInerney
On how tonight's match progressed:
“In the first half, I think we didn't have much of the ball. It's hard to get involved without the ball and chasing the game, kind of. At the start of the second half, we put some pressure on them, and got on top of them a little bit. I think we did a decent job, but not enough in the end.”
The Timbers have earned results in 10 of their 11 matches away from home this season, and the club’s one road loss is the fewest in MLS.
The match against the Union was the Timbers’ final road match against an Eastern Conference opponent during the regular season. Portland has one remaining match against an Eastern Conference club this season, playing host to Toronto FC on Sept. 7 at JELD-WEN Field.
The Timbers are 3-1-3 in their last seven matches against Eastern Conference clubs.
Portland and Philadelphia met for just the fourth time in the all-time MLS series between the two clubs. The Timbers are 2-0-2 against the Union, and have shut out the Union in each of their two meetings at PPL Park. The Union has scored just one goal in their four matches against the Timbers.
The Timbers defense recorded its ninth shutout of the season in the draw against the Union, and has allowed the fewest goals (18) in MLS.
Portland has held its opponents scoreless in three of its last five road matches, and has outscored opponents 4-3 in that span.
Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts has been in goal for all nine of Portland’s clean sheets and is tied for the league lead in shutouts. His nine shutouts match a Timbers MLS record for shutouts in a single season set in 2011.
Ricketts is two clean sheets shy of his MLS-career-best 11 achieved during the 2010 campaign with the LA Galaxy.
The Union entered the match among league leaders with 32 goals scored this season, including an MLS-best 15 goals in the first half. Philadelphia was held scoreless at home for the first time since Oct. 27, 2012, in a 3-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls.
Midfielder/forward Darlington Nagbe made his 34th consecutive league start, dating back to the 2012 season. He has played in 53 of the club’s 54 regular-season matches since the start of the 2012 MLS season.
Defender Jack Jewsbury played in his 275th-career MLS regular-season match.
Against the Union, Jewsbury become the first Timbers MLS player to surpass 7,000 minutes played for the club.
Midfielder and captain Will Johnson returned from national team duty with Canada for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup and was in the Starting XI for the Timbers against the Union.
Defender Pa Modou Kah made his seventh start since signing with the Timbers on May 3. Portland has recorded clean sheets in five of the seven league matches in which he has played.
- There was a 30-plus minute delay prior to the start of the second half due to lighting and inclement weather passing through the Chester, Pa., area.