Will Johnson, Timbers vs. Houston, 6.20.15
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 2, Houston Dynamo 0 | June 20, 2015

Portland Timbers Quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter


“It’s a win. It’s another three points. It’s no bigger than that, but it’s certainly indicative of our form over our last four league games to have four wins and 12 points. We can’t do any better results-wise but we can still play better. We need to make sure we continue doing what we’ve been doing. We have a tough game on Wednesday against LA. We will enjoy this tonight, file it away and get back to work on Monday. We need to continue to perform like we have been each game. It doesn’t get any easier. The next game’s not easier because we’ve won four games in row. It doesn’t get any harder either but it’s definitely not any easier. LA just won 5-1 against Philly and they are right around the table with us. So it’s important that we put this behind us quickly and get ready for LA.”

On what it feels like to see the team’s first four-game winning streak in MLS team history…
“I like the consistency. It’s what you strive for as a coach in your team. You want consistency in performances, individually and collectively, on both sides of the ball, and that’s what we are getting. We are defending well. I think we have three cleans sheets in the last four games. We are finding goals from different guys in different ways. We’ve looked very mature, not only mentally but tactically in how we've managed games. We found the first goal in the last four league games and if you include the Open Cup five games, which shows we are starting the game strong, starting the games aggressive. Like I said we haven’t given up many goals either which means we are managing games well in the second half and for me that’s very pleasing. Overall, what you want as a coach and in a club, and certainly winning clubs have it, is consistency. And we’ve shown a lot of consistency in our performances both sides of the ball, home and away, in the last four games, five games if you count the Open Cup.”

On the spark that Maximiliano Urruti and Gastón Fernández provide and not resting on their laurels…
“They are not going to because we’ve got competition and that’s what we’ve created. I challenged the guys after Toronto game. We talked about it, it wasn’t me pointing the finger at them, it was all of us looking at ourselves and each other. We needed to be better. They stepped up. The reason they’ve stepped up is because they know now I can call any guy’s name at any given time. What that’s created is a trust in the team. Trust works both ways. For a coach to trust his players they have to play well. When they start playing well then a coach trusts his players, but also when they start playing well they trust you because they know you are going to call on them. And that’s what we have going right now. We have 17 or 18 guys that have been in the rotation over the last five games and they’ve all gotten the job done. You talk about buy-in, you talk about these buzzwords, team chemistry, spirit – they are buzzwords, but they are important ingredients in winning clubs. We have a group right now that is very hungry and bought in. They know that I trust them. Tonight I went with Gastón again and Maxi again and they came through. Midweek I went with [Fanendo] Adi and he came through in terms of how he played. He came through certainly off the bench to score two goals against New England. So right now that’s exactly what you want. You want guys performing. You want guys who want to be in the lineup. You want guys who trust you are going to put them in the lineup. I trust now that I will get a good performance no matter who I pick.”

On if this was the team he envisioned at the beginning of the season barring all the injuries…
“In terms of results, yes. We had some very good performances if you look back and rewind through the games, but we were falling short and there was something missing. I don’t know what that was, whether it’s was the finishing touch, little bit of extra hunger, certainly we had some guys out during that time as well, but there was something missing. But the performances weren’t far off at all. If you know the game, and certainly I know my team, and I’m very in tune with the flow of each game. If you go back through every game, there are more good performances than bad performances, but we were falling short and now we are finally getting the job the done. Maybe its confidence, maybe it’s a little more hunger, the competition we’ve created, that might have helped, but whatever it is, it’s working now. But I don’t think our performances are a lot better than they were to start the year. I still think Vancouver on the road is maybe one of the best performances we’ve had, we lost the game. Salt Lake, LA Galaxy, the first two games of the year, two of our better performances of the year. But we were just missing that little bit ‘extra’. We’ve got that little bit extra happening now.”

On Jorge Villafaña’s performance and his improvement throughout the season…
“It’s confidence, but it’s not just him, it’s everybody. I could go through every guy, 16, 17 guys and say right now over the course of the last four or five games they’ve all performed, all of them. If you look at a guy like [Norberto] Paparatto he’s hardly played to start the year and he’s now played in three games and got three wins. Will Johnson’s back in force, played three games and got three wins. The list goes on and on. I think in my opinion Rodney [Wallace] is playing the best he’s played this year. We’ve got the forwards scoring, we’ve talked about them. There were some guys who didn’t play tonight who have gotten the job done, Jack Jewsbury, Nat Borchers and George Fochive. So everybody right now is playing really well. Jorge has certainly gotten us a couple goals off of service and set piece wise. He looks really confident right now. When he gets forward he seems like the games flowing for him. Again I think a lot of that is psychological." 

On managing the game when teams throw numbers forward…
“They had a couple of looks more than I would have liked, but Houston is a good team. They are a good team. They have good players especially when they get the ball in the box they are a handful. [DaMarcus] Beasley was giving us some problems. It’s a tough matchup for Darlington [Nagbe] late in the game to have to defend. Obviously when the game is level or one up, they’ve got to be a little bit careful of Darlington, but late in the game they can just bomb on and take risks. Beasley is a very good player, so now we’ve got an attacking player trying to track him. A lot of their stuff came through the left side, which is why we inserted [Taylor] Peay to help manage that a little. I will have to look at the tape. Was it a late-game push like you are going to always see? The other side is we didn’t give up a goal. I think there are a lot of little plays we made to preserve the win. Guys winning head balls, clearances and blocked shots. I think there were times where we didn’t make good decisions when we got on the ball, trying to force the pass. Now you lose it and now they are back at you. I thought the last 10 minutes they maybe were able to get in the front half more than I would like. Every game I’m going to look at it and see if there are ways we can be better. Why did they get a few of those chances late? I think a big part of it was they were 2-0 down, nothing to lose there, bomb numbers up the field and get balls in the box.”

On whether he needs to move pieces around even though the team is on a winning streak…
“I don’t know, what is our starting lineup? Do you know? Based on the last five games, I’ve rotated almost every game. That's what I’ve done for the last five games so I will continue to. We also have to. We have another four games in 13 days. It’s great to know that we can rotate and get the same result. That’s a good feeling. If you don’t have depth and you don’t have guys playing well maybe you have to go with the same lineup, but right now what’s working for us is rotating our lineup. We are picking the lineup that fits the game. I felt last game Adi was good. He was put in for that game against their center backs and because he fit the type of game we thought it was going to be. In this game we felt it was ideal for Maxi and Gastón, but also [Diego] Valeri knowing he had played 60 minutes on Tuesday on turf after being out four weeks and six months prior to that we didn’t think it was smart move knowing we’ve got another four games here coming. There will be some surprises and wrinkles in what we do in the next four games but we are not going to get carried away and just change to change, that’s for sure. There will be enough continuity in our lineups where we keep that consistency. We have pretty much rotated five or six guys and kept five or six which is a good way to go about, but having some methodical rotation in the next four games will be crucial because what we want to do is get through this window with points, but we don’t want to lose guys to injury because the final stretch, the push of the year is the most important.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Will Johnson
On the team’s mentality…
“Confidence is high, guys are playing well. The defense is getting shutouts and the attackers are finding enough goals for us to win games. It’s good. When you have that feeling, that confidence, it’s a nice thing but we’ve all got to understand it takes grinding and hard work. We are not just going to walk on the field because we have won a few games in a row and get a result. For me the biggest part mentally is we’ve stayed focused and we’ve taken it one game at a time to just get those three points.”

On having different guys play and still get the result…
“It’s great. I’ve never been in a locker room which so much continuity. A lot of it’s because everyone is playing games. Everyone is helping us win. You can only squad rotate if it’s getting you results. You can’t just squad rotate at this level to do it. So there is no extra pressure on Caleb [Porter] to run guys into the ground because the guys you bring off the bench are getting the job done. So it’s great because that in turn really helps our locker room. It keeps everybody fresh, everybody sharp and keeps everybody bought into what we are trying to do this year.”

On the spark Maxi Urruti and Gastón Fernández have provided…
“Their relationship has been huge. It’s gotten us quite a few points especially the last four or five games. They just know where each other is at. They play off each other really well and they get the job done. So hats off to both those guys getting goals tonight. It’s a big step forward for them, obviously they are both very confident and their play together and their link-up play is special.”

Portland Timbers defender Norberto Paparatto (Translated from Spanish) 
On how it feels to get a win and a clean sheet…
“We’re all very happy. Not just the ones who played but the whole team. We’ve been making a really big effort and getting the results is a joy for the whole locker room.”

On watching Maxi Urruti and Gastón Fernández get on a hot streak and score goals…
“I’m really happy for them. We are all Argentines, so we’ve crossed paths in Argentina quite a bit and at the beginning of the year, like me, we had a rough patch and now it’s great to see things going well for everybody.”

On how he feels about his role and if it’s gotten better throughout the season…
“Soccer players want to play. The fact is that we are all here to do a job as a team and out of all the teams that I’ve seen in my opinion we have one of the deepest teams in MLS. So it’s great to see guys who normally don’t get to start contributing to the victories and having the confidence of the coach to do it. It really raises our morale.”

Houston Dynamo Quotes

Houston Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle
On the overall match…
“We scored a perfectly good goal to put us 1-0 in front. It was ruled out. For me, I’ve watched it back so certainly mysterious circumstances that’s for sure and then a very soft penalty and that’s to say again, the Portland Timbers are a very good side. They have a terrific coach in Caleb [Porter] and are coming in a good run of form. Obviously we were the last team to beat them at BBVA [Compass Stadium] 3-1. So we knew that we would certainly have to be at our best and when it’s all said and done I think things conspired against us because as much as Portland had some pressure at times I don’t think my goalkeeper had a save in the game.”

On if having his absent players would have changed the game…
“Well you always want your best players available and we have a very good team even without four starters, four quality players, but at the end of the day you can never foretell what would happen if they were on the team or not. Ultimately when it’s all said on done the decisions are still going to be the same, regardless of who you have, it’s always difficult. We accept that there’s always little petty fouls in the game, halfway and such forth, they can go either way. We accept that. The one thing we all want, consistently, every coach in the league, is the big decisions right, the game-changing goals, the scores that change games. So those game-changing moments we think people have to get them right. In my opinion I don’t think the calls went our way tonight and that’s a very polite way of saying it.”

Houston Dynamo forward Will Bruin
On the overall match… 
“Obviously not good. We didn’t do ourselves any favors. I mean, just have to be better from us, plain and simple.”

On how Timbers penalty kick goal affected the game…
“I can’t give you an explanation. I have no idea what happened and I have no idea how a [penalty kick] was called so it’s just two things I have to go watch. Like you said, the referee is affecting the game but you have to roll with it. You have to overcome it but I don’t think we ever picked ourselves back up after we gave up the first goal and had the first goal disallowed.”

Houston Dynamo defender DaMarcus Beasley
On the overall match…
“Very disappointing. I felt that we didn’t play well the whole game, not just the two mistakes we made. From back to front we were soft. We gave the ball away in bad areas. Just all-in-all a bad game. I’m not pointing fingers at anybody. Collectively, as a whole team, we weren’t good enough tonight. They punished us and they got the win.”

Notes:

  • Saturday’s crowd of 21,144 was the team’s 76th consecutive home sellout at Providence Park since 2011. Portland has sold out all of its regular-season home games since joining MLS.
     
  • With Saturday’s win, the Timbers have won four consecutive matches for the first time in MLS-club history and for the first time across all eras since August 2009.
     
  • Portland’s four-game winning streak is tied for the longest in MLS this season.
     
  • The Timbers have won five consecutive games in all competitions, including a 3-1 win after extra time against Seattle in the fourth round of the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on June 16.
     
  • Defender Liam Ridgewell made his 31st consecutive start for the Timbers on Saturday. The streak is currently the longest on the team.
     
  • Defender Taylor Peay made his Timbers MLS debut on Saturday, entering the match as a substitute in the 86th minute for midfielder Darlington Nagbe.
     
  • Playing 90 minutes, midfielder Will Johnson is just 83 minutes shy of reaching the 15,000 minutes played milestone for his MLS career.
     
  • The Timbers conceded just one shot on goal against Houston on Saturday, which is the fewest shots on goal conceded in a match this season.  
     
  • Goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey registered his seventh career shutout and moves into eighth place all-time for career shutouts for the Timbers across all eras. His seven shutouts also bring him into a tie for eighth place for most clean sheets in a single season for the Timbers in all eras.
     
  • Portland extended its streak without conceding a goal at Providence Park to 365 minutes with a fourth straight home shutout on Saturday. Portland hasn’t conceded a goal at Providence Park since an 85th-minute penalty kick against Orlando City on April 12.
     
  • Portland is 6-1-5 over its last 12 regular-season home matches since 2014.
     
  • Through 16 matches, the Timbers have conceded the third-fewest goals (14) in the league.
     
  • Portland’s seven wins are the most for the team through 16 games since joining MLS in 2011.
     
  • For the second consecutive match, defender Jorge Villafaña earned an assist. Villafaña is the first Timbers defender with assists in consecutive matches in MLS play.
     
  • Forward Maximiliano Urruti scored his third league goal of the season and the 14th of his MLS career on Saturday. It was Urruti's first goal on a header for the Timbers. 
     
  • Forward Fanendo Adi made his 40th career regular-season appearance for the Timbers on Saturday, entering the match as a substitute in the 76th minute.
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