Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 0, Sporting Kansas City 0 | June 9, 2018

Portland Timbers quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese

On how he feels about the result…
“I think the most important part is that there is a little bit of disappointment from the players, from the coaching staff, not to be able to get the three points, and that’s something very positive because we played against a very good team. A team that is top in the league and for us to have this feeling that we probably could have gotten a little bit more, it’s a good thing. It means that the team is ambitious and aren’t satisfied with one point.”

On what the team could have done better to find a goal…
“We have to also give credit to Kansas City. I thought they defended well. They saved a couple of balls that we felt were going in. But also the created chances, so it was a pretty even game. A very tactical match and I thought a fair a result, even though the feeling was we felt that we would love to have the three points because we put the effort in.”

On the moments when Fanendo Adi was hit in the face and Diego Valeri went down in the box…
“I don’t like to talk about referees because they are human. They can make mistakes. They sometimes have great games. I just felt today maybe things were not looked at with the same eyes, some of the plays. I cannot comment on the PK, if there was any on Valeri, because I couldn’t see well. So I don’t know, I can’t talk about that. There are minimal fouls sometimes in the game that are very important and if you don’t keep the balance equally in those judgement then it can become a difficult game. I thought today that’s what happened.”

On the history of tight games against Kansas City and what it is they do that leads to games like this…
“It’s two great clubs with a true culture and identity. Two winning clubs and that’s what you are going to find on the field because both teams want to win. It doesn’t matter who plays home, who plays away, this is a very important game.”

On the decision to bring Modou Jadama on…
“[Marco] Farfan was cramping, so he couldn’t go anymore. We had to substitute him and I felt the best option was Mo in regards to the fact he played during the week that position and he looked comfortable in the match. So I felt it could be a good opportunity for him to be able to step into the game and just pick it up from where he left off on Wednesday.”

On what were his goals leading into the game and how did the team accomplish them today…
“Not fully. Sometimes we could have found more combinations and more space in between lines and especially in behind. We did sometimes find that space, but I think we could have moved the ball a little bit quicker in those areas going forward. But I thought also we created chances. The energy and the momentum was there, and maybe towards the end, two teams that battled the entire match both ended up a little bit tired, more concerned about conceding than anything else.”

On keeping Kansas City out of the middle half of their attacking area in the first half and the change in the second half…
“We went for the game and pushed a little bit higher. We wanted to try and find the goal and we created those chances to be able to get three points. When you try to go forward a little bit more you open up and that also now becomes a little more even game of back and forth. And I think the game, in the second half, became that, but nevertheless I felt we had good momentum in the second half.”

On the decision to sub off Diego Valeri…
“(Diego) Valeri is a fantastic player. I felt maybe at that point, he came out last match with a little bit of a knock, I felt maybe to rest him would be good. To come out and put somebody in that gave us something a little bit different. Valeri is always a very important person for us to have on the field.”

On continuing the momentum through the league-wide break…
“I’m not one that thinks about how many games we haven’t lost or the consecutive matches. I think about one match, and the next match we are going to start thinking about is next Friday, the U.S. Open Cup game against the Galaxy, and we have to be strong and give our best and try to win. Then when we look back we can count the matches, but I don’t look at how many games we are going to be unbeaten. It’s just getting back in and trying to win every game that we can.”

Portland Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella
On earning a shutout but not coming away with three points…

“We’re happy defensively, they’re a really dangerous team and we did a good job of keeping them off the board. At the end of the day we want three points, but we’ll take the point. We know that we need to get three points at home, so I think that it’s a mixed-emotion type of result.”

On his personal performance…
“It was fine. Defensively, I thought we did a pretty good job of limiting [Sporting KC’s] chances. They didn’t really get in behind; they had a couple of crosses but that was about it. For me, I felt pretty solid; I felt good and comfortable.”

On the upcoming U.S. Open Cup fixture this week…
“I know a lot of people have opinions about the Open Cup but I love it. It’s five games to win a trophy, [we have] one down and the next one is here so it’s a good chance for us to advance to the next round and I think everybody should be focused on that.”

Portland Timbers defender Lawrence Olum
On wanting to win at home…

“Credit to [Sporting KC]. We knew what to expect from them. We were just unlucky to find the back of the net, but overall it’s a performance that nobody can put their heads down on. We have to move onto the next one.”

On staying disciplined on defense against Sporting KC…
“We were prepared. We know their style of play. We kept them moving a lot and kind of slowed them down and their rhythm, so we were happy with that part.”

On playing a team toward the top of the standings…
“[Sporting KC has] always been a good team. If we can keep up with them, it shows something positive in the season. To get a tie like this shows that we are right there. Maybe there are a couple of things that we can change or be clinical in front, it’s a positive.”

Portland Timbers defender Larrys Mabiala
On keeping Sporting KC off the scoresheet...

“We have really increased the way we’ve been defending. The team is really playing as one and we can push the opposing team to where we want them to go. I think that’s the biggest thing that we can accomplish in a game because it makes it easier for the whole team to defend.”

On consistently playing with different combinations in defense…
“It’s not very difficult because no matter who’s playing, they have quality. Of course they have different quality, but they have quality. The only thing is the communication. We talk a lot to each other, trying to make ourselves better and to understand our games better. The key is just communication and it helps a lot to play the way we are playing. Everybody just sticks to the plan. No matter who’s playing, they [stick] to the plan. That’s why it’s easy for me or anyone who’s playing because we don’t see many differences. Today, Modou [Jadama] came into the game and I didn’t see him lost.”

Sporting Kansas City quotes

Sporting Kanas City head coach Peter Vermes

General thoughts on the match…

“I think it was probably a fair result for both teams. I think it was end-to-end action the whole game. I do think it says a lot about our group. We have a lot of guys that are banged up at the moment. We have a lot of changes to our team coming into this game. So to be able to go into an environment like we did with so many young players on the field and so many new guys, because this is a great environment. I have a lot of respect for it. So our guys, to be able to come out and compete the way that they did was exceptional. At the same time, I thought we played at times really well being the fact that we were in their place and taking the game to them a little bit. But they’re also a very explosive team. The other place I thought we were fantastic was, I thought our balance and discipline when we went forward, not to expose ourselves and be able to deal with [Fanendo] Adi, [Sebastián] Blanco, and [Diego] Valeri, and the way that they kind of start to find those cheating little spaces around the area. Then all of a sudden they get it and they’re off and running. We did a really good job of that throughout the whole entire game.”

On defending against Portland’s attack and the message at halftime…
“We just wanted to shore up a couple things. One is to make sure in transition, [Portland’s] guys that were kind of cheating in those little spaces that we took care of that and we were maintaining our balance. The other is that we needed to get on the front foot a little more. There was probably some balls that they were winning. Some of the 50-50 balls if you will. We just needed to get on the front foot a little bit and I think in the second half we were really good at that.”

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi
General thoughts on the match…

“I thought we played a solid game. We were very, very sound defensively. We were trying to be opportunistic going forward. Got a few chances. I think we were a little unlucky not to grab a goal. For the most part I think it’s a pretty fair result. I thought the guys came in and put a fantastic 90-minute performance in. To be completely honest, I think we controlled the tempo of the game and had the better of the play.”

On organizing themselves against Portland’s fluid attack…
“[Fanendo] Adi’s the guy that can really tie the game together. He gets the ball played into him and he’s fantastic at holding the ball up and playing in the guys coming to support him. We had to be a little careful with their top four guys. They tend to, for lack of a better word, cheat a little bit and really take off as soon as they win the ball. I thought we dealt with it well and was able to come away with the shutout.”

On pressing Portland in the last 10-15 minutes of the match…
“I think just the way the game went, since we were able to have a lot of the possession, we were able to have some energy there at the end. I think we felt that Portland was a little heavy legged maybe towards the end and I think you saw a group in us really trying to push to get the three points. We didn’t come in to tie the game. We came in to try and win it. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, but it’s a good point on the road.”

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia
On organizing his defense during the match…

“I think for us, the biggest thing was just being organized here. This is a team that has had a really good run of success right now. They’re on fire. They’re winning games and scoring goals and they’re getting shutouts. I thought we did a really good job of being balanced and organized and making sure we were aware of [Fanendo] Adi when the ball is getting hit in long. But then you always have [Sebastián] Blanco and [Diego] Valeri coming underneath and they’re so capable of picking guys apart. Our defensive midfielders did a really good job stepping into the spaces and as well as our center backs to close down those threats.”

On changes made at halftime and the plan going into the second half…
“Just be aggressive stepping forward. Winning second balls because there was a period of the game where Portland was sending balls into Adi and they were picking up the second balls. We had to make sure we were being aggressive and either winning the first ball or stepping into that midfield space, not allowing Valeri to pick the ball up and distribute.”

Notes:

  • Saturday’s game marked the 131st consecutive sellout for the Timbers at Providence Park.
     
  • The match was the first time this season that two MLS teams on unbeaten streaks of five or more games have played each other. 
     
  • Portland is unbeaten in 12 consecutive home regular-season matches, with its last home loss taking place July 19, 2017. 
     
  • Portland is unbeaten in nine consecutive matches across all competitions (7-0-2). The nine-game streak is the club's longest competitive unbeaten run in a single season since Oct. 14-Dec. 6, 2015. 
     
  • Portland's eight-game unbeaten streak in MLS play is tied for the second-longest in MLS this season, while also ranking as the club's longest unbeaten run since May 22-July 17, 2016.
     
  • Goalkeeper Jeff Attinella secured his fourth shutout of the season, tying his career high for shutouts in an MLS season, previously reaching that mark in 2017. 
  • Attinella is the only MLS goalkeeper to have shutouts in more than half of his starts this season.
     
  • Modou Jadama made his MLS debut in the match. Jadama is the third Timbers player across all eras to be born in The Gambia.
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