Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 2, Houston Dynamo 1 | July 28, 2018

Portland Timbers quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese

On Fanendo Adi…
“Before we start with the questions I wanted to thank Adi for everything he has done for this club. He has been a tremendous and important component of the growth of the Portland Timbers. In the past five years, you’ve done so much in this club and we wanted to wish you well, the best from me, I was proud to be able to coach you and you always gave me everything. We wish you the best. I think the locker room definitely will miss you. We know that everywhere you’re going to be you are going to do great. So again thank you so much Adi. You’ve been amazing for this organization.”

He was always a pro. Every practice, every game. Always ready and wanting to play. Always prepared. And a great competitor. We will miss you, we wish you the best and it was an honor.”

On seeing Adi come in and score the game-winning goal…
“Perfect day. Perfect day for someone who gave so much to this organization. It’s been five years for him. He’s given everything. He’s a very important piece of the success of this club. He’s scored so many goals for this club. And I think it was a perfect night for the fans, for him, scoring the goal and getting three points. Everyone around him felt like he was going to score when he came in, and it was perfect.”

On evaluating the match…
“Houston is a tough team and also we have to give them credit. They have players that are very fast on top. They make it always difficult. But I thought in the second half we pushed forward. We had more numbers in good areas to make sure that we pushed them back. We covered well every time they tried to go forward and nevertheless they still created some problems in some moments in the second half. Very proud of our guys. Very proud of the way they played today and they continue to figure out a way always find what we need to make sure that we continue to advance. Anybody that steps on the field gets the job done and as a coach I’m very proud of every single player that we have.”

On the feeling he had that Adi was going to score…
“I told my wife before the game. I said ‘Adi is going to come in and he’s going to score. It’s going to be the perfect day for him and the team.’ You can sense it. You can feel it. He was ready. He wanted to come into the game and in the right moment he came in and gave us the victory.”

On the performance of Alvas Powell…
“He had a great game today, especially playing wide and playing with a line of five or three and being part of the midfield line going forward. Defensively he helped us as well. He had a very good match. Not only him, but I think everyone played today, who participated, even the guys that were on the bench, we were ready to step on the field to play. I couldn’t be more proud of the way the guys played today.”

On the physical play and how the team responded…
“I thought that we responded well. I think Houston competes always and is a team that fights because they want to get into the game. They are difficult because they have some very good players and they made it tough for us. We knew it was going to be this type of match, but we found a way to get the three points.”

On keeping Houston under pressure in the second half…
“I think just a few adjustments and great attitude. I think that attitude was very important because we were able to go forward and attack the spaces and be able to do things in a better way than we did in the first half. Then, those adjustments I think the guys were able to execute in in a very good way.”

Portland Timbers forward Fanendo Adi
Opening remarks from Fanendo Adi…

“It’s been an amazing five years. It’s also a privilege to work with [head coach Giovanni Savarese]. You’ve taught me great things. There is always a lesson to learn in these situations. I must say I’m very, very grateful and thankful. I must say I am also very thankful to Merritt [Paulson] to Gavin [Wilkinson] to the past players, the coaches and everyone. To the Timbers Army to Jamie [Goldberg] that I see every day. I must say I’m so grateful for the club for giving me the opportunity and my family. I came as a young boy, but now I’m a young man. On the pitch I’ve learned a lot and out of the pitch, I’ve grown into a man. It comes a time in life when sometimes you move on, but Portland Timbers is always going to be a family to me and I’m just grateful for everything I’ve gotten from the organization.”

On the emotions coming onto the field and scoring that goal…
“I think he knows me as a strong character. I try not to cry, but today the tears were almost falling down. It was just amazing. He [Savarese] told me I was going to score. All the players told me I was going to score. It was just a great feeling to be on the pitch and compete and give my last effort to the team today. I’m just very happy and very pleased with the three points for the team. I couldn’t be more grateful.”

On the moments when he looks back on his time in Portland and what stands out…
“Obviously winning the trophy is a big part of the Timbers history. I remember the first time I came here. The first few months were very tough for me. The coaches helped me a lot and pushed me. They tried to tell me to use my body, the same thing he tells me to do, and we do a lot of work together finishing. He tells me because he was also a forward before I learn a lot from him even though people from the outside might not see. It’s been great. That’s all I can tell you. It’s been just wonderful working with him and the new coaching staff. It’s been amazing. All I can say is it’s just been incredible.”

On transitioning to a different role with the team this season…
“It’s just transition and in football it happens. You just have to be grateful for every moment you have on the pitch. Obviously I came here as a young boy four years ago and I was different. But now as a man I think more different, I’m a family guy. I think more like if I’m not playing I need to embrace the team, which is what I try to do when I’m not playing. I support the guys. Before the game I told [Dairon] Asprilla he has to go into the game and give 100 percent and concentrate. That’s my personality. That’s who I am. That cannot be changed. It’s been an amazing four years. Of course I can say what has happened this year, it’s football. Things change. You have to give [Savarese] credit. You have to give me my credit. Everyone deserves credit. To the guys who are going to be here, he’s a great man. A great coach. And what he teaches us off the pitch is even more important than what we learn on the pitch. All I can say today’s been my last day of playing with the team, but Portland Timbers is always going to be a family to me.”

Portland Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella
On keeping his backline together in the second half…
“In a game like that, we want our defenders to keep pushing and we want them to go forward. We really want to push them back in. I think it’s important for me to organize and just always trying to keep one up in the back as much as we can because as defenders I’m sure it’s really tough when you see the game in front of you and you want to help them out offensively and push, push, push; but I just try to do the best to tell them to pump the brakes a little bit, making sure we’re one up in the back and ready for that counter ball.”

On watching Fanendo Adi score the game-winning goal…
“I’m happy Adi got it. It’s not always easy to tell down on my side, but I saw it bouncing around and I saw it go in. I wasn’t sure and then I checked the board, seeing it was Adi. It was an awesome moment. It’s a legendary send off for a club legend. It’s something that he definitely deserves and it was a cool moment.”

On the important of tonight’s win…
“We needed it. One hundred percent. We needed three points. At the end of the day, it was a fight to the end. We got three points and that’s all that matters. Three points in the standings and obviously we need another three points next week. It was a big win for us.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On the team finding the goal late…
“It’s good for the team. I’m happy about the result and I’m happy that Adi scored to help us. It was a team effort. We pushed really hard in the second half. I think we played really well, as the match deserved, and it was a great three points.”

On the key to stopping the Houston attack…
“I think our backline stepped higher and we used better numbers in the middle. We found better balls in the middle and from the attacking flanks with Alvas [Powell] and Seba [Sebastián Blanco] on the left.”

On Alvas Powell’s getting involved in the attack…
“With the system we use with five, with him the idea is to use him as a winger. We have to use the speed he has. We have to use it because he can cover space really fast. Actually, it’s really hard to follow him when he’s running. We have to use our strengths, so he’s part of the strength of this team.”  

Houston Dynamo quotes

Houston Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera

General thoughts on the match…

“We played very well in the first half despite the mistake on the first goal. We didn’t mark the guy who was coming late in the box. But then we had good possession, we moved the ball and we had an opportunity to pressure and attack a couple of times, creating some chances. We scored, we tied the game, but in the second half I think, I noticed, some players got tired. It is normal after five games in 20-something games. It’s been tough. We tried to hold, but we didn’t keep the ball. When you don’t keep the ball against those types of players, they have very talented players and they punished us one time. It’s not like they had great opportunities. They had one scrappy chance, but they put it in and that’s it. We have to go home. We have to rest. Try to rest and recover and try to think for the next game against Sporting Kansas City.”

On not having a midweek game coming up…
“We have most of the guys resting, hopefully recovering. The only one is Alberth [Elis] that has to go to play in the MLS All-Star Game, which he’s not going to be able to rest. It’s been tough. It’s been tough because we’ve been playing a lot of game. We suffered last game with things that hurt us a lot with referees and the guy with the VAR. Suspension of two players with the circumstances of playing with 10 men the last 30 minutes of that game. It’s been difficult for us. It’s been complicated but we have to get out of this. Today we were against a very tough team. We were solid for most of the game, but we lost the possibilities to play possession and keep the ball and they got tired. Now we have to go back home, try to rest and try to work this week thinking of trying to recover guys that have been injured or tired. Thinking about the next game which is a very tough game against Sporting Kansas City.”

On any encouragement he got from his team equalizing so quickly after conceding the opening goal…
“Yes. The first half was a very good half for us. Very good. We made some adjustments in the second half defensively. From then it was very complicated to create options. They only needed one and the one we lost the situation and weren’t sharp. [Portland] found the goal and the fact is, for us, in the second half, we weren’t sharp with the ball. We didn’t play, we didn’t make passes, consecutive passes to try and look for a goal or at least play some possession. That cost us a lot.”

On the performance of goalkeeper Joe Willis…
“We knew [Portland] were going to try and make passes through, but with the adjustments we made defensively they didn’t, to be honest with you, in the first half they had two and in the second half the goal, but it was enough for them. We needed to do better and hopefully we can prepare now for what is coming on Saturday.”

Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis
On how encouraging it was for the team to equalize soon after Portland opened the scoring…
“I thought in the first half we played really well. We were keeping the ball and we were attacking and obviously the early goal hurts, but unfortunately it’s something we’ve had to deal with in the past and we know how to react. We know how to turn things around from there. The reactions in the first half were very good despite the early goal.”

On the commitment of the Houston defense tonight…
“In the second half especially we defended way too much. It’s a testament to the guys who were in the back line that we were able to keep it to one goal in the second half because [Portland] were coming wave after wave after wave. I think on the second goal, it’s one of those situations where it’s a mad scramble and guys are just kind of throwing their bodies doing whatever they can to keep the ball out of the back of the net. This time, unfortunately it didn’t work out for us.”

Houston Dynamo defender Jared Watts
On how encouraging it was for the team to equalize soon after Portland opened the scoring…

“I think it was definitely a good reaction. You don’t ever want to give up an early goal, especially to a side like Portland in Portland. But I thought we responded well. Got the goal back and we kind of dictated the game it felt like a little bit in that first half, especially after we scored. Felt like we had more possession there and had some other chances. Going into halftime 1-1, we knew it was going to be a tough second half. We talked about that we let them bring the game to us a little bit too much in the second half, which we weren’t good enough with the ball. Defensively we were okay, we just had to defend a lot. They put numbers forward and they were attacking with numbers. They’re dynamic, those guys interchanging up top. You give them enough time and enough of the ball and chance they’re going to capitalize and they were able to do that.”


On the commitment of the Houston defense tonight…
“You definitely could see that. You could feel that. We just came up a little short, but I don’t think it was for the effort. You could see guys just really going for it. Like you said, throwing their bodies out in front of it. Doing whatever they could to scrap and prevent them from getting a look on goal. It’s a weird second goal. Just kind of bounced around and they took their chance well. Just came up a little short, but it’s not for the effort I don’t think. We can hold our heads high going back to Houston with the effort. Obviously it’s been a tough stretch here with so many games and not getting results we wanted. We just have to respond and move on and next game at home and go for a win there.”

Notes:

  • Portland is undefeated in its last 14 MLS matches, the longest streak in MLS this season. 
     
  • Portland's 14-game unbeaten streak in league play is its longest since 2013 when the club tallied a 15-game undefeated run in league play.
     
  • The Timbers are unbeaten in their last 15 home regular-season matches with a record of 12-0-3. Portland's last home regular-season loss occurred more than a year ago on July 19, 2017.
     
  • Fanendo Adi scored his third goal of the season and the 54th regular season goal of his Timbers career. 
     
  • Since debuting May 17, 2014, Adi has scored nine goals as a substitute, which is the second-most in MLS in that timespan.
     
  • Sebastián Blanco scored his sixth goal of the season, which is just one behind Diego Valeri and Samuel Armenteros for the club lead. 
     
  • Blanco's goal in the seventh minute was the second-earliest scored by the Timbers this season, behind only Diego Valeri's sixth-minute goal against the Chicago Fire on March 31, 2018. 
     
  • Valeri delivered his ninth assist of the season, tied for the sixth-most in MLS this season. 
     
  • Valeri has 62 assists since joining the Timbers in 2013, six more than any other MLS player in that span. 
     
  • Alvas Powell notched his third assist of the season, tying a career high for Powell, originally set last season. 
     
  • Portland outshot Houston by a 19-5 margin in the match. The 14-shot advantage is the biggest shot differential in a Timbers match this season and largest by the club since July 5, 2017, versus the Chicago Fire. 
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