Quotes & Notes | Sporting Kansas City 1, Portland Timbers 1 | July 1, 2017

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
Thoughts on the match…
“Yeah, I thought it was a good performance. Obviously disappointed not to get the three points. If we scored the penalty kick or get the tap in on the cross we get out of here with three points. We wanted to come in this game and execute and I thought we did. With the exception of a few moments, I thought it was a very well-played match against a very good team in a difficult place to play. It's something we can build on and we still need to clean up a few things. But, overall, performance, mentality, even the unity and mental toughness that we showed was all there.”

On breaking through the Sporting KC defense…
“We wanted to play a combination of high pressure and low pressure, and I thought we gave them a lot of problems early in the game by pressing high and disrupting their build up. Once they broke it, we let them come forward and we were going to look to play on the counter and the goal that happened came on kind of a quick transition where we won the ball, broke the lines, and obviously (Diego) Valeri had a great strike on that goal and we should’ve scored a couple others. But, in any match like this where you have two evenly matched teams and two organized teams, it became a bit of a chess match and the chances were few and far between. They really only had three clear chances. The goal, Ike Opara header off the set piece and then you’d say (Roger) Espinoza’s shot from distance were the only three real clear chances they had on the day. So, we defended really well and I thought we picked our moments to keep the ball and press."

On the team’s performance on both sides of the ball…
“Yeah, well we wanted to come together in this game and we knew our backs were against the wall a bit and we knew we had some guys out coming into a difficult place against a team that’s at the top of the table and I thought our guys really responded and they showed that they have it in them to be a team that can grind, and in this league you have to grind. We came on the road and those guys gave everything on the pitch today. Like I said, cut out a few mistakes, obviously the goal was a mistake, and if we finish our chance on the PK or the cross we get three points. But, Valeri can’t think twice about that PK because we’re not even in the position we’re in unless he scores the first goal. It was unlucky. Obviously he’ll score that nine out of 10 times.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
Thoughts on the match…
“We’re satisfied about the performance but not about the result. We had the chances to get three points. It was important for us, but the point is okay. We have a game on Wednesday and if we win this point will be very good.”

On breaking down the Sporting KC defense…
“We’re always thinking about the next ball and the last whistle. It’s hard. I’m responsible for the decision with the penalty kick and the goalkeeper got my intention and that’s it. It’s a moment. We have to think about the next moment.”

On managing the game…
“I think we managed it really, really well. In the last few minutes, we had a chance to score another goal, so I’m happy about the performance because we played the way we wanted to.”

Portland Timbers defender Lawrence Olum
Thoughts on the game…
“It was a good game between both teams, it just came down to chances and it was 1-1 so not a bad game at all.”

On denying Sporting KC goalscoring chances…
“We had to absorb the pressure at times, we depended on everybody making good plays in some instances and the team defending together. I think we did that, it’s unlucky we gave up a chance and they scored. It happens.”

Sporting Kansas City quotes

Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes

Initial thoughts on game…
“They were the better team in the first half. I think we were just sluggish, I don’t know if it was (because of) Wednesday’s match or not. Obviously we spent energy there but we just weren’t sharp enough there in the first half. We had to change our mentality in the second half and I actually thought we were a better team there in the second half. We moved the ball a little bit, we had good movement off the ball, that’s where Daniel’s goal comes from. We had very good movement and we were just better in possession in the second half. If we were a little more patient, I think, we probably could have had a game winner. But unfortunately we stayed tied. 

On play of Daniel Salloi…
“He knows, and we’ve been talking about this, his progression has been very good. There’s always aspects that a player needs to continue to get better at, but if there’s one thing that I’ve said about him, and I’ll keep repeating it, is that anytime he’s in or around the box, he’s deadly. He has a good goalscorer’s mentality, he wants to score. But not at the detriment to the team. Not where he’s selfish at times but he picks and chooses the right moments. But the movement that he had off the ball for that goal was world class. It was an excellent finish.”

On how Gerso’s injury affected game…
“It changes your team, but obviously, and I say this all the time, the most important part of our job is coaching. It’s to make sure that all the players on the roster are prepared, and I know that Daniel was. We were talking about who we were going to put in and it became a very quick and easy choice. Just because he’s been training very well and working hard. There’s a reason that we’ve been sending him, when there’s a chance that doesn’t affect us, to Swope Park Rangers to make sure he keeps getting fit so he can play. That wasn’t even a question in regards to the game. It’s not like ‘is he going to be okay to play all these minutes,’ but he was great. He understands everything we’re trying to do, it’s just repetition for him.”

Sporting KC forward Daniel Salloi
On pressure to step up going forward…
“I don’t feel like it is a pressure, I feel like it is a great opportunity. Since so many players are gone, unfortunately Gerso got hurt, I feel bad for him, but it’s an opportunity for me to show myself and play well and score goals and be a part of the team. So I don’t feel pressure. I’m happy that I could score and that we got the point and we’ll keep working.”

On coming in early…
“I wanted to come in as quick as I could and warm up real quick, but mostly just to find my spot on the field, get the first touches right and get comfortable real quick. I was just trying to be patient and wait for halftime, but I knew I was going to be warm and ready for the second half. But it worked out.”

Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza
On Daniel Salloi’s goal…
“It was huge. It was good for him and his confidence. He is a guy that has been fighting and he’s been playing well in practice. It’s great for him that he is able to that for us.”

Thoughts on the match…
“First half I thought it was very tough for us. They play a little better than us. We couldn’t connect passes. Second half, we figured it out, started fighting and played with heart. We were very tired, but we played with heart and we were able to come back at the end.”

Notes:

·         Diego Valeri recorded his 10th goal of the season, becoming the seventh player in MLS to reach double-digit goals in 2017. Valeri’s 10 finishes rank tied as the fourth-most in MLS this season. 

·         Valeri has now tallied double-digit goals in four of his five seasons with Portland.

·         Additionally, Valeri is one of three players (David Villa, David Accam) in the league this season to have registered double-digit goals and at least five assists.

·         Valeri is one of two active players to have at least 10 goals in four of the last five seasons, along with San Jose's Chris Wondolowski. 

·         Darlington Nagbe finished the game with 100 percent passing on his 52 attempts. Nagbe is the sixth MLS player in the Opta era (2010-) to complete 100 percent of his passes while attempting at least 52 passes. 

·         Sebastián Blanco recorded his fourth assist of the season in the match.

·         Sporting Kansas City finished the match with one shot on goal. That is the fewest given up by the Timbers in a road match since the 2014 season and ties for the fewest shots-on-goal allowed by Portland in any MLS game.

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