Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 2, C.D. Dragón 1 | Aug. 3, 2016

Portland Timbers Quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter

On winning the match...
“We knew this was important to win. When you start to look at this tournament and really break it down, Saprissa is the strongest team, for sure. That’s the reality, but we knew [C.D. Dragon] would not be a slouch team. We watched them a bit. They’re a different type of Salvadoran team. They defend deep, they counter, they hit you on set pieces and they have some big athletic boys that can give you problems. They could give Saprissa some problems as well because the way they play makes it difficult. With that back five, and they basically defend with 10 guys, 30 yards from goal and like I said, every dead ball is lumped in the box, and in saying that I thought we completely dominated the game. I thought we got the lineup right, good thing we went strong. I thought we got our system right, I thought we got our subs right. We thought about managing a few guys and getting them out at 1-0 but decided to leave Valeri in and Adi in because there was a sense something might turn and sure enough it did. In the end it’s most important to get three points because that puts us in a position where, we’re still in it. If we drew or lost, we would most likely have had to win all three of the next games and get nine points. That would have been a tall order.”

On how he kept his team from becoming frustrated when searching for goals...
“You’re getting a lot of chances so you have to think we’re going to score. I also think when you looked at the lineup at the end you have to have faith that you’re going to score. But I’ve also been a part of soccer games where you don’t score the goal. I’ve seen it. I’ve been part of it. I told them before the game about some of the international tournaments that I’ve been in, in CONCACAF with the U-18 national team and the U-23 national team, and I said the first thing you need to be aware of is to expect the unexpected. The second thing I told them to be aware of is every game matters in tournament football, every point matters and every goal matters. Those were the two things we talked about before the game but you saw I put out a group that was strong and I put out a group that was experienced. Jack Jewsbury and Ned [Grabavoy] have played in these types of games, Jack [McInerney] had played in these games, Jermaine Taylor and Alvas [Powell] internationally have played in CONCACAF games, [Diego] Valeri obviously, [Diego] Chara, [they’ve] all played in tournament games and they’re not easy. I got knocked out of the Olympics to El Salvador on a last-second goal, in the 96th minute, to draw 3-3. We didn’t underestimate this team. You saw that in our performance. We played really well, we just did not finish. Could have been 3 or 4 to zero at halftime. Probably could have been 8-1 by the end of the game if we had finished better.”

On if it’s a concern that they didn’t finish as well as he’d hoped...
“I mean we’re playing well, we’re getting chances, so I always have faith that when you get chances, eventually you’ll score. I think every year we have this period, every team does, where the well dries up a little bit. I told the guys after the game, if you keep playing the way you’re playing and keep getting as many chances as you’re getting, there’s going to be a game where we open up the floodgates, get three or four goals. I didn’t like the fact that we didn’t finish today because we made it a lot harder than it should have been but it would have been a lot worse if we had the game we had today and didn’t get any chances. For me as a coach, you just have to continue to keep the team playing the way we're playing and hope the ball falls and you finish better eventually. But 2 was enough to win today."

On the physicality of the match…
“I think we dominated possession. I think we had nearly 70 percent of the possession, so obviously we were in positions where they could foul us a lot, and they did. It’s probably normal for them when a team has 70 percent possession that they’re going to foul as much as they can.”

On how to get contributions from attackers outside of Diego Valeri...
“I think you’re always going to get the majority of your chance creation out of your 10. That’s just the way it is. You’d say the same thing out of other teams and their top guys. Montreal [Ignacio] Piatti, [Sebastian] Giovinco, it’s going to be the same with Kaka, Robbie Keane, it’s going to be very similar. You’re always going to get one or two guys that you get the majority of your chance creation out of. That’s why we have him and that’s why we play him in the way that we play him. I thought today was interesting because we floated him wide and had him coming inverted and it was a good look for us. The thought behind playing Jack McInerney and two up top was to get an extra goal-scorer on the field and that paid off because Jack scores the first goal. For me, that’s one way of trying to unlock a few more goals is to put an extra goal-scorer on the field. I thought in terms of floating the wingers in and getting more width now because we have Vytas we’re getting consistent crosses for the first time this year from that left back position, which allows us to now do different things [like] play two strikers at times, bring the wingers in. I thought it really looked good today, other than the finish but I thought other guys had chances. I thought [Fanendo] Adi had a nice ball on the first goal where he laid off, so he was involved in that one. [Darlington] Nagbe was involved a lot towards the end of the game. He works well on that left side and he’s going to work even better with an attacking left back because now all of a sudden there’s 2v1s that are created. I think we’re starting to put it together in a way where we’ll get some more production but certainly, Adi has to chip in, certainly Darlington has to chip in if we’re going to be successful here at the end of the year and I'm confident they will."

On managing minutes for players at the end, particularly defender Vytas, who he said might play only 60-70 minutes...
“The good thing is we bossed the game today. So we were on the ball and the team that’s on the ball usually conserves energy because obviously when you’re on the ball you keep your shape. But we also had to push quite a bit in that last kind of 15. We had hoped to get a few guys off, but at 1-0 I just didn’t feel comfortable enough to do that so I opted to keep Adi on, keep Valeri on because to me the most important thing was to make sure that we won this game. I knew we had three days [until the next game], I knew we were on the ball a lot, so I don’t think the guys are too chewed up. It helps that the game went kind of how it went. Vytas as well, we planned to get him off, but he felt good. He looked good. It was a good first game for him. Now we need to turn him around, but he’s a very fit guy. You can see he’s mobile. He’s got a good engine. So he’s got a body type that I think will turn around pretty quick."

Timbers forward Jack McInerney
General thoughts on the match…
“It was good. It was important really, to get that first goal and force them to open up. That way we could create more chances. Had a ton of shots during the game. We were unfortunate not to have a couple more [goals] in the first half.”

On whether the game played out how he expected…
“You never know what you’re going to get with these teams and they made it tough for us. Came back, pulled a goal back and they put some pressure on us. We had to find a winner. This is how these games go and you just have to fight through it.”

On if momentum from this game will boost the team ahead of Sporting Kansas City in MLS…
“For sure. The team is playing well and a huge game this weekend. We need three points. We have to go out there, play like we did today and I think we’ll be alright.”

On how playing with Fanendo Adi affects his style of play…
“I think it makes it easy. It kind of shows in the first goal we scored today. We played it into Adi, he’s holding up a player with Valeri running off and serving an easy tap in back post. It just makes it easy for myself when you have players like that on the field because drawing players as well. I had a good chance last weekend where Valeri played me in and I think we’re starting to click. One of these games we’re going to get three or four goals and they’re going to start piling up soon.”

On the importance of getting three points to start the tournament…
“The first goal is to get three points and knowing we have Saprissa in the group. They’re probably going to get six points total against [C.D. Dragon] as well, so it’s going to come down to goal differential. At the end of the day, we know what Saprissa is going to bring.”

Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On if the match was as physical as it appeared…
“It was. A lot of people behind the ball and stopping the ball. It’s very normal. For me, it was a very South American game, South American referee too. We did great. The only thing, we couldn’t score enough goals because we created a lot. It was tough. They scored the goal. They got two chances in the second half: one post, one goal. It was tough. But we got the points.”

On staying focused despite so many chances narrowly missing…
“It’s hard because it was a lot. I always talk with the guys and when you’re there in the 90-95 minutes, the only thing that matters is the next one. The next ball is what matters and it was. The last one was in.”

On how scoring that late winner felt…
“It was very good for the points. The performance was good. I think we played really really well as we wanted. We needed the points and we deserved it. We got it and we move forward.”

On the momentum ahead of a game against Sporting Kansas City in MLS…
“We will rest tomorrow and enjoy this win. We know that we need to win at home against Sporting Kansas City because the Western Conference is very tight, very competitive. We need the points. We need to get up on the table. Now we will enjoy this, rest well, rest the mind and then think about Sporting Kansas City.”

C.D. Dragon Quotes

C.D. Dragon head coach Omar Sevilla

On his team’s performance…
“Overall we had an intelligent game. We were organized. We studied the rival. We knew how we had to play. Unfortunately we had a mistake at the end of the game, which nobody wants to commit, and it cost us a goal. Overall I think my team had a good game and we need to work on a few things but in future games I think you’ll see a better performance.”

On the Portland supporters and stadium
“We’re very happy. When you walk into a stadium that has this ambiance, you get chills in your skin. It’s very impactful but it was a motivation for us it wasn’t something that impressed us in a bad way. We were really happy with everything. I hope we can treat Portland the same way when they come to El Salvador. Always being respectful but overall I’m very happy and I hope to take something positive out of this to take it to the future.”

On if his game plan was to have a physical game…
“Soccer is a sport of contact. Both teams had various fouls. I played for 15 years and in those 15 years [I] always thought that soccer was a physical sport. [I] want to apologize if the perception was for my players to go out and hit the rivals but that wasn’t the intention. It was just how the game was played.

Notes:

  • Portland's all-time record in CCL play is 4-1-0, including a 3-0-0 home record.
     
  • With 17 goals in five CCL matches, the Timbers average 3.4 goals-per-game in CCL play, marking the highest goals-per-game average for any MLS team in CCL play. The Montreal Impact rank second with a goals-per-game average of 2.2 in CCL play.
     
  • Forward Jack McInerney scored his fourth career CONCACAF Champions League goal. 
     
  • McInerney is the third Timbers player to score in MLS, the U.S. Open Cup and the CONCACAF Champions League all in the same season.
     
  • With the finish, McInerney has scored four goals in CCL play, along with four goals in both the U.S. Open Cup and the Amway Canadian Championship.
     
  • Midfielder Diego Valeri recorded his first goal in CCL play during the win against C.D. Dragon, marking his 10th goal in all competitions this season.
     
  • With the Timbers win, MLS teams are 14-0-1 against Salvadoran competition in all-time home matches. 
     
  • Vytas, Amobi Okugo and Lucas Melano made their career debut in CCL play.
     
  • Fanendo Adi is the only player to have appeared in all five CCL matches for the Timbers. 
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