Diego Valeri, Timbers @ Dynamo, 9.24.16
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Quotes & Notes | Houston Dynamo 3, Portland Timbers 1 | Sept. 24, 2016

Portland Timbers Quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
On what made it difficult to contain Manotas…
“Well, when you look at a soccer game you don’t just look at the end result. You look at how the game went, and in the first half we clearly didn’t perform, for whatever reason. Obviously there are conditions that play into it, but we’re at the stage of the season where none of those things matter. What matters is performance and results, bottom line. But, clearly we let our guard down in that first half. We were casual. We didn’t play with intensity. The first goal we’re on the ball, we play a square ball 20 yards and it’s picked off. They’re off on the counter attack, and we’re scrambling and there’s a PK. So, certainly, that put us on the back foot. We start the second half, and I thought we were far and away the better team. We came out with intensity. We came out the way that we should’ve came out to start the game, and you saw the team that we can be. In that first 20 minutes, we scored a goal – had all the momentum. They’re getting no chances at all, and the first shot they get is in the back of the net. That was the back breaker because from there that changes the momentum back. The third goal, that’s on me. We’re going to three at the back. There’s eight minutes left in the game. You’re gambling with numbers forward.  You know you’re going to give up chances. You put on a second striker. You’re going to a 3-3-4, and obviously we got caught with a high line and it was a good run."

On how this result affects the team’s playoff chances…
“We let our guard down. I don’t know how that happens. But, you see it in this league. You see results that are head scratchers. It’s because human nature means that sometimes you don’t push to the standard that you should. We knew Houston (Dynamo) was a much better team than where they sit. We knew what was at stake. For some reason, human nature meant that our guys didn’t play to the level that they’re capable of in the first half. In the second half, 20 minutes, you saw what happens when we start playing our way. Maybe it’s because we were several points clear. Maybe it’s because we’re playing a team that you see at the bottom of the table, and you think you can stroll out there. I don’t know. But, it's up to the guys which team we want to be. We have enough experience and talent, when these guys are hungry like they have been the last several games at home when our backs were against the wall. When we needed to win. The guys had urgency to them. They had intensity to them. Today, they looked like a team that felt they were already in the playoffs. I’m not so sure we’re going to be in the playoffs we need to get results here coming up.”

On not winning on the road…
“I think the biggest thing is that most of the time that we’ve lost guys to international duty, when we were on the road. Also, we’ve had a ton of injuries. So, if you look back at the lineups, we’ve rarely had our top lineup on the road. I think that’s a big factor. It’s a strange thing this year. We’ve won more games on the road than anybody in this league over the last three years. We haven’t changed our blueprint. We haven’t changed anything. In six draws, we were close. So it’s not like we haven’t been close. But, we’ve had some strange results that should’ve been wins, and like I said we haven’t had our top group and those injuries seem to fall while when we were on the road, which meant we’ve played more a reactionary game or been defending too deep. One of the biggest reasons we’ve won more games than anybody in the past several years is because we played aggressively, like we did at the start of the second half. That was the plan from the start but it didn't happen.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Jack Jewsbury
On his thoughts on the game…
"[We] prepared similarly to what we do normally. If I am honest, we knew how important this game was with only four game left on the season and we are fighting to get into the playoffs. We knew the importance of the match. Obviously, very disappointed on the first half, we wanted to start the game better than we did. Obviously, giving up the first goal wasn’t something that we had hoped to do. But the second half was much better, we were able to get the equalizer, and felt that the second one was coming for us. We were on the front foot. Unfortunately, they got the second one [and] the game kind of turned on that point. For us, we are disappointed, but we’ve got a couple of games on this road swing that we are on. The focus now shifts to [CONCACAF] Champions League, we’ve got a big game on Tuesday.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On the outcome of the game
“It was a tough first half. We were really good in the first 20 minutes of the second half. The second goal gave them a good push for the rest of the game. They finished it with a good counter, but it was a tough game. We don’t have too much time to think about it. We need to rest and keep working.”

On his goal…
“We were in a good moment to win the game. That’s after they scored one. They got that play where they scored the second goal on our throw in – it’s tough to scout that. We don’t have time to dwell, we have to keep fighting.”

Houston Dynamo quotes

Houston Dynamo head coach Wade Barrett

Thoughts on the match…
“First thought, I just want to congratulate Mauro (Manotas). I thought all three goals were excellently taken. We talked about penalties before the game, and knew that Mauro was going to step up and take a penalty if we got one tonight, and I tell you what he took it with confidence. The second goal was excellent, that’s a finisher’s goal, excellently moving his feet in the box, it was a very nice goal, and the third one took a lot of composure. So, first, I want to congratulate Mauro for the three goals. It’s an impressive performance, but again, not something I’m surprised in, because Mauro has shown over the last couple of games that he puts himself into dangerous positions all the time so, not surprised that the goals happened tonight. As far as the rest of the game, you know, it’s three points at home. We came back from this last road game with a lot of confidence. It was a tough game on the road and I thought the guys battled and fought really hard. Playing at home is a different thing, the pressure is on playing in front of the home fans. We expect to win every single time we step on the field out here. This was a good team that we were playing against. They’re fighting for a position in the West, so we knew they were going to put out the best team they had. It was a difficult task. I thought the response after we gave up the goal was excellent, I thought the players made a good adjustment on the field, and we were clinical in what we did going against them. I’m just happy for the team.”

On how proud he is of his team and Mauro
It’s been a full collective effort. It’s not just the players, it’s everybody on staff as well that’s putting in the work. We’re trying to make sure we get the most out of every single day. So that’s the thing that I’ve been the most impressed with. It’s the entire group. It’s the players, it’s the staff, and it’s everybody that’s trying to get the most out of each other every day. We’re tasked with coming back and playing against NYCFC Friday. They’re a good team at the top of the table, they just had a good result last night, it’ll be a tall challenge, but I tell you what this group is really confident right now, I think they are truly playing as a group, as a team, so we need to try to carry that momentum into next week.”

On Mauro finally making a big impact
 “I’ve known. I’ve known that Mauro was capable of this so, I won’t say the expectation is three goals every time he steps onto the field, but like I said I’m not surprised. I’m not surprised he had the chances and I’m not surprised he scored the goals. But again, it’s collective effort. The guys are putting him into good positions, we’re playing some good balls in behind for him to get on the end of, it was an excellent release for the third goal, that was really nice, and like I said it was good play down the left to put him into position for the second goal. It takes all those guys being on the same page to create those chances. I’m happy that it all worked out tonight.”

Houston Dynamo forward Mauro Manotas
On scoring a hat trick…
 “First, I’m happy that the team won. Second, this is a dream come true to score three goals and to have a performance like this is something I’ve worked very hard for. They were three great goals and overall I’m just very glad that we secured the three points.”

On if this game signals his arrival to the league…
 “I would say so. I’m grateful that coach [Wade Barrett] has given me this opportunity. He wants me to do my job and have fun doing it. It’s important to enjoy the game. We knew that this would be a tough game, it was against the reigning MLS Champion and not too long ago we let a victory slip away at their stadium at the last minute. So we came in here with the mindset that we had to win the game. I came with the mentality that I had to score and I’m very grateful that the end result was a victory and a hat trick.”

Houston Dynamo defender DaMarcus Beasley
On halftime adjustments…
 “We made adjustments at half. For me, formations are one thing. It’s always about attitude, how you go about the game. But we made a slight adjustment after they scored the first goal. It worked in our favor. Not going to say what that is, but we made a little adjustment after they scored. For the first 10 – 15 minutes it wasn’t right. We made an adjustment and you see what happened after that.”

On early-season second halves that ended negatively in comparison to now
“I think it’s been instilled through us every day, not just the day before games. Every day. But we had to concentrate for the whole 90 minutes or 94, whatever it is. That was our problem. For me it wasn’t fatigue. It wasn’t a team making a Barcelona type play, passing around us or something. We’re just making small errors, and mistakes here and there. That’s what was causing us goals. I think now that we’ve changed our mindset. We’ve changed our attitude and how we go about defending as a group, not just the back four.”

Notes:

  • Midfielder Diego Valeri recorded his 13th goal in MLS this season, which ranks tied for the sixth-most in the league in 2016.
     
  • With the goal, Valeri ranks tied for ninth place for the most goals scored in a single season across all eras in club history (since 1975).
     
  • Valeri’s finish places his season total to three goals scored against the Dynamo in 2016, which ranks as the most goals scored against Houston by a single player in MLS this season.
     
  • The Timbers are the only team in MLS with two or more players who have scored 13 or more goals in MLS this season, with forward Fanendo Adi ranked fourth for goals scored (15).
     
  • The loss against Houston marks the Timbers first loss against the Texas-based club since June 20, 2015, snapping Portland’s three-game unbeaten run against the Dynamo.
     
  • Recording two saves in the match, Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson ranks first in MLS for saves (109), despite playing six games fewer than Vancouver Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted, who ranks second for saves in MLS.
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