MLS POST-GAME QUOTES
Portland Timbers vs. Orlando City U23s (Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup)
June 17, 2014 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Final: Timbers 3, Orlando City U23s 0
Portland Timbers Quotes
Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
On the overall performance of the team:
“I thought the second half was better than the first half. I thought the first for me wasn’t convincing enough. Scored a couple goals, but I’m measuring my guys in relation to what they’re capable of, not in relation to the opponent. That’s my job to make sure these guys understand when it’s good and when it can be better. I thought first half, a little sloppy gave some balls away we shouldn’t. I thought they didn’t create a ton, but we were a little loose in the back. It was not a convincing 2-0 [lead] at halftime. We tightened the screws a bit, told them to raise their level. I thought the second half was dominant. Obviously, when we scored one more goal, we should have had two, but more than that it was defensively, they didn’t really get a sniff on our goal. I thought we were very good defensively from back to front. I thought we played good football, controlled the game. We shifted Kalif [Alhassan] in the middle, Mikey [Michael Nanchoff] to the right. I thought that helped free up Mikey, but also Kalif would help us hold the ball a little bit more. I thought we were better in the second half. Overall, a lot of positives – the debut of three of our young guys, for me, that’s an important part of any pro club when you have young guys that you’re trying to bring along. We’ve had them out on loan, they’ve been getting good minutes, and they’ve approached it the right way. I think you saw when they went in the game they did all right. Taylor [Peay] really raised his stock. I thought George [Fochive] looked comfortable in the center of the park. Schillo [Tshuma], tough with 10 minutes but didn’t look out of place. For me that’s a real positive on the day that we are able to debut three young guys and you could see they are moving along and that’s good because that’s important to us.”
On Rodney Wallace’s return:
“Felt great, good player. Obviously, last year he was a really key guy for us. He scored goals, he plays with swagger, and is a good defender as well in terms of how he presses. It was great to see him back. Now that we have him as an option, we’ll certainly use that option.”
On Wallace’s performance:
“I’ve seen him in training for about three weeks now. In terms of the quality and the level that he brings, he’s been back. The only question was fitness, sharpness, when you’re not in games, you’re not in rhythm. There are little things, timing, confidence, touch, awareness, and things like that it takes time to get into a game. I thought it worked well to get him out for a couple games [on loan], build up his minutes, build up his confidence. He honestly looked exactly like last year, like he’s completely back 100 percent in every regard physically, tactically, technically, mentally and I thought actually that was a good goal he created with a little wall pass and a cross. That’s what he brings. He’s direct and obviously having a left-sided winger that can clip balls in, he brings a lot to the table.”
On using a strong lineup against Orlando City U23s:
“I know a few MLS teams were down tonight and a few others lost this weekend. We don’t want that to happen to us. We’re in a tournament and it’s attached to a trophy. There are obviously priorities with the league. We’re not going to ever jeopardize our position there. But the way I look at it, why not win both? I think with the depth that we have we can roll out a lineup in these Open Cup games where we have a good chance to win the game and the league play doesn’t have to be sacrificed or suffer and we’re going to need that same thing next week with the schedule. I think it’s the main reason why some teams get frustrated with the Open Cup because of the schedule. We’re either going to Minnesota or Kansas City. Then we’ve got to come back here and play a very important game on Friday. This is where depth becomes very important. We’ve been using our depth this year. We rolled out a team today and the majority of the guys have started games. It certainly wasn’t a second team. But some of the guys who played today haven’t played as much recently. That’s a good thing moving forward. Next week we’re going to need that same thing because we can’t be playing the same guys Tuesday and Friday, traveling across the country. If we do that, we’re going to potentially risk league play on Friday and we can’t at this stage. At the same time I’m not willing to sacrifice potentially winning a trophy here with the Open Cup. Four more games and you can raise a trophy. We’ve never raised a trophy here in the MLS era other than the Cascadia Cup. It’s an opportunity to do that and get yourself in Champions League that way. Obviously, we’re in it now but if we want to continue to be in it, we have to get in it again. So for me we’re going to continue to approach it one at a time and we’re going to take it very seriously. We’re not going to sacrifice the league, but at the same time we’re going to try to win each game.”
On Maximiliano Urruti’s performance and two assists:
“I thought he did a nice job of playing in between the layers. We knew we’d have a lot of triangulation with Mikey, Kalif coming in and Gastón [Fernández] there. So we want Maxi to kind of play on the backline and look to run behind. Second half we asked him to come and check and link a little bit more because of the way we shaped up in the middle with Mikey on the right and Kalif underneath. We knew Kalif would play a little bit deeper. It’s kind of the way it played out in the second half. I think also when the game kind of starts to unwind, they open the lines up a little more so I think the space was there a little bit more for him to do that in the second half. But I think he’s getting stronger and more comfortable playing with his back to goal. He’s a technical player, so he’s capable of doing that, but I think it’s more the strength and the confidence of holding guys off. He had a great assist on that third goal.”
On the importance of the U.S. Open Cup:
“I think it is important. You look at every league in the world. The domestic cups are a part of the season. We’re never going to take it lightly. The Timbers, for example, haven’t always been in MLS. They’ve always been a team that’s been in the lower leagues. One of the things I told the guys is, ‘You’re a professional soccer player. So any time you suit up to play a game, you play to win, you play to do your job.’ I don’t buy into this we’re playing a U23 team, we’re in the Open Cup so you take it lightly. We’re going to play to win every single game we play. In saying that, we have to look at the next game around the corner, the priorities, all that stuff. But that’s why you build a team with depth so that you can roll out lineups in every game and you don’t risk fatigue. We had a long meeting today for about two hours as a staff to talk about not looking ahead but to talk about next week and how we are going to handle it, who we’re going to travel, how we are going to approach the week. We will have a good plan. It’s going to be tough, we have to travel to Minnesota or Kansas City. Both teams are good and we have to turn around and play on Friday as well. But we want to win both games if we can. We’re not just going to toss the game and give away a chance to win a trophy. That’s the reason you have a club. To win. To win hardware. This is one of the three ways you can do it.”
Portland Timbers midfielder Gastón Fernández (Translated from Spanish)
On the match:
“The most important thing is that we advanced to the next round. With respect to the goals, every time I score, I’m happy.”
On the importance of the team’s depth and remaining fit:
“It’s very important for us to be in shape for when Caleb [Porter] wants us to play. Then we can go in and play at our highest level.”
On if it’s hard to be motivated against lower-division teams:
“No, no. Caleb gave us a pregame talk. The most important thing for us is to enjoy the game, so it doesn’t matter if it’s a U-23 team. We’re always going to go out there and play with passion.”
On his chipped penalty kick down the middle of the goal:
“Intuition. I just thought that the goalie was not going to stay still, so I just kicked it and it was a little risky, but it went in.”
Portland Timbers midfielder/forward Rodney Wallace
On his return to the field:
“First of all, I’d like to thank the fans and the supporters for such a warm welcome. That means a lot to me. I’m grateful for that. Second of all, I was very pleased with the performance today. I thought things went well for the team. We got the result that takes us to the next round, which is the most important thing. Personally, I felt good. I would like to get more match fitness, but overall the soccer part was good. I’m excited to keep improving.”
On getting the win on his birthday:
“It was a great way [to celebrate his birthday]. Coming in here, getting the result, first game back in front of our fans, it was good.”
On the reception he got from the fans has he ran onto the field:
“It gave me chills for sure. It was something special. I’ve never experienced something like that in my career. Again, I’m very thankful and I appreciate all the love and support and I’m just happy to be back and putting on the Timbers jersey.”
On the effort it took to get back:
“I put in a lot of hard work during my rehab. I’m not done. I’m not satisfied with where I am right now. I still have a long way to go. My goal is to just keep getting better and help the team out.”
Portland Timbers defender Taylor Peay
On the match:
“It was fun to make my debut and it’s good for us to get a win and look forward to the next game.”
On savoring the experience of his first goal:
“It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. It’s good. It’s a nice experience.”
On raising his first log slab in front of the fans:
“It’s a good feeling. You see all the other guys do it, so once you get your chance to do it and it’s your turn, it’s great.”
On the importance of advancing in the tournament:
“It’s super important. Caleb [Porter] stressed the importance of this game and every game from now on. Our goal is to raise a trophy at the end and that’s what we’re hoping to do.”
On his performance and pushing for playing time:
“I just come in day-in, day-out and you work and you hope you get your chance. I’ll keep doing that and hopefully it’ll come. That’s what I’ll do.”
Orlando City U23s Quotes
Orlando City U23s head coach Paul Shaw
On the match:
“It was tough for us. We knew it would be tough from the start, but to be honest, I’m proud of our guys. We’ve got academy players playing out there today. We’ve got a couple players that are still 17 years old. It’s a big experience for them. That was the biggest thing for us as we come here. It’s a great experience for the guys and they’ve put on a good show. I can’t fault them for effort.”
On how playing Portland compared to their two previous Open Cup matches:
“It’s completely different. The standard of players is so much different. They move the ball quicker, they’re sharper with the ball, their decisions are better. Obviously, it’s a world of difference. I think our guys acquitted themselves well. They stuck to their task, they worked hard, they tried to pass it when they could. Obviously, the level is completely different for us. Our guys put on a good show and they worked hard.”
On how Orlando City U23s adapted to the atmosphere in Portland:
“It’s a great experience for them. Yes, they’re either college players or they’re still academy players so playing in front of this sort of environment and this atmosphere, they wouldn’t have felt this before. Hopefully they’ve taken it well. They’ve learned from the experience and the whole atmosphere and they can go away proud of themselves.”
- Midfielder/forward Rodney Wallace played his first competitive minutes for the Timbers in 2014, starting and playing 80 minutes Tuesday. Wallace missed the first 16 games of the regular season while recovering from offseason knee surgery.
- Rookies Taylor Peay, George Fochive and Schillo Tshuma all made their Timbers debuts on Tuesday night as second-half substitutes.
- Peay tallied his first professional goal, converting off an assist from forward Maximiliano Urruti in the 68th minute.
- The Timbers drew and converted a penalty kick in a third straight game in all competitions on Tuesday.
- Midfielder Gastón Fernández tallied a brace on Tuesday, becoming the fourth Timbers player to register a brace this season in all competitions.
- Forward Maximiliano Urruti recorded two assists in a match for the first time in his Timbers MLS career on Tuesday. Urruti has played a part in each of Portland’s last four goals in all competitions.
- Portland is 4-1 in its last five matches in the U.S. Open Cup, dating back to the 2013 edition.
- The Timbers earned 14 corner kicks against Orlando City U23s on Tuesday, a season-high in all competitions this year.
- With the win, Portland moves to 3-0 all-time in U.S. Open Cup history against opponents from the PDL.
- The Timbers have earned a result in nine of their last 10 matches in all competitions.