Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 3, Philadelphia Union 0 | August 4, 2018

Portland Timbers quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese
On how he felt about the team’s performance…
“I thought the first 30 minutes in the first half we were too slow with the ball movement. We had too many guys too far back. So we were not creating too much going forward. I thought after [Andy] Polo went a little bit higher and found space going forward, then we started creating chances. We had the [Diego] Valeri chance. We had a couple of others towards the end of the first half. I thought the second half was much, much better. We went a little bit higher with our line. We pressured a little bit higher and then I think after we found the first goal then the guys were able to dominate in possession. I thought we were very good defensively in the second half; we didn’t allow them to get into good spaces. Only one time in the beginning of the second half and overall I thought, more than the performance, it was a good, good win and the team knew how to get this win and that was very important today.”

On the decision to go with the 3-5-2 formation…
“Yes, because they have fast players on the wings that are very dangerous. We felt we could find space going forward if we allowed them to be able to get a little bit of space wide. In moments we were able to find Valeri and [Samuel] Armenteros. But the problem is they were able to find and penetrate too many times through the lines in the first half and that’s why we felt it was better for us to go a little bit higher. But at the end of the day I thought the guys in the back did a fantastic job.”

On Dairon Asprilla getting his first goal…
“It’s always good for a forward to score, especially when it’s your first goal. It gets you confidence. It was very important for Asprilla. Great for Valeri to let Asprilla take it because I think he’s being looking to score his first goal. He’s been very close in a couple of opportunities and it was great for him because he has been working very hard to be able to help get us this win and his first goal of the season.”

On Alvas Powell finding space getting forward in the attack…
“I think usually when you initiate the game you try to fill the space that you have. You try to feel comfortable and I think it took him a little while to find the space, but once he found it I thought he had a great game, especially in the second half. He was dangerous constantly going in behind sometimes one against one. He created many, money problems and I thought he had probably one of his best games.”

On the decision to bring David Guzmán back into starting lineup…
“Because for me every player is important and today we felt that Guzmán could step into the game and do a very good job and perform well. And he did what we expected, because everybody, as I said, is training well and giving everything for the team.”

On the decision to not utilize all his subs…
“The guys looked good towards the end of the game. The possession was good. We were keeping the ball so I thought that maybe a substitution could waste a little time as well. The guys looked fresh and I felt we didn’t need to make any other substitutions besides the Asprilla substitution. So overall I thought the guys who stayed on the field finished the game pretty fresh.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On the team’s performance tonight…
“It’s a great feeling. It wasn’t easy. They have very good players and in the first half it wasn’t easy; they played really well. From there, we created chances and after the first goal dominated the game.”

On preparing for different tactical looks from opponents…
“We manage it by being smart and aggressive with the ball, and trying to be effective when we have chances. I think in the last 10 minutes of the first half, we missed a couple of chances that probably could have given us an opportunity to manage [the game] better, but [opposing teams] come here they try to make it hard. We did very well to manage that and I’m very happy about the run we’re having.”

On playing in the 2018 MLS All-Star Game…
“It was a great experience in the middle of the season. I enjoyed it. I feel physically very good. I was trying to help the team in the second half when we needed to create some chances. I’m very happy about the overall performance of the team.”

On playing against Cascadia-rival Vancouver Whitecaps FC next Saturday…
“We’ll prepare for the game. We know that it’s special because it’s a Cascadia match and we need to win to move up that table. We have a couple of days to rest the mind and start to think about Vancouver on Tuesday.”

On defender Alvas Powell…
“He’s an unbelievable athlete and you can see when he’s in a race against someone he will win it every single time. The only thing you want to do is put the ball in front of him and let him run. He’s improving as a player and being more calm in the final third. He was very young when he started, so he’s getting experience to know what he has to decide. It depends in the moment, and he’s doing it really well.”

Portland Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella
On the team’s win…
“It felt great to get that third goal and just ease the game out with some passing. It felt good because the last 15 [games] have been tight. To get those goals and to get that lead feels good.”

On the key to the 15-game unbeaten run…
“Everyone is buying into what we’re preaching. Everyone is fighting each game and we’re taking each game just as seriously as the last one. We’re just going to try and keep it rolling. We’re going to enjoy it tonight and get ready for the next one.”

On next week’s match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC…
“We’re going to work hard this week and see what happens next Saturday.”

Portland Timbers midfielder David Guzmán (translated from Spanish)
On scoring his first goal of the season…

The most important thing was that again we got three points, and we played well. When I got the goal, and the way that I got the goal, I just tried to tell everybody that we should be calm about it, when we’re celebrating, because when you train well and you have important games at home, you should get those kinds of results.”

On the coaching staff’s message at halftime…
The first half was a little difficult because they were well-organized, and they have good players who were playing well on the ball. And we were in a block that was a little low, but we wanted to be more aggressive, because we were at home. In the second half, [Savarese] told us to attack, to be a team that is going to be very strong at home, and we showed that in the second half. The three goals were very important for us, because we need to play like that whenever we are at home.”

Portland Timbers forward Samuel Armenteros
On the team’s ability to close out games… 
“I’ve seen the same pattern. It’s not how you start the game, it’s how you finish a game. We know that anyone has lungs in the first 15, 20, 30 minutes. We know the opponent is going to come and show heart and a lot of energy in the first couple minutes of the game, but anyone can do that. It’s about how you finish off and how you do after 50, 60, 70 minutes. That’s where we show a lot of character. We’ve been proving this throughout the season. I’ve seen this team take steps in those later minutes where we get strong in the second half and take over games.”

Philadelphia Union quotes

Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin

General thoughts on the match tonight…
“Little bit of an unjust, difficult scoreline. I thought the guys, a lot of guys had good performances tonight. Put in a lot into the game. Obviously we had some rotation and some guys stepped up and played some really good minutes for us. Obviously the two plays in the box from almost identical areas in the box, we made some bad challenges, poor decisions. I thought on the night we actually did a decent job on their key guys in [Diego] Valeri and [Samuel] Armenteros. It was just a night where we have a team in Portland where we take away some of their strengths and I thought their right back, Alvas Powell, was the most dangerous player on the night. Some positives to take away. Obviously we have a semi-final now to regroup for on Wednesday. Quick turnaround, so we’ll take some positives from this game, but everyone is disappointed to not take any points.”

On the players he brought into the starting lineup tonight…
“We approached the game with the focus on picking our strongest team for Wednesday. We identified what we thought that would be and worked backward from there. A lot of different discussions that went on, but we made the choice to rest some key guys for a big match on Wednesday at home. I still think that the performance of the guys that stepped on the field, a lot of them really did well and turned some heads. Showed that they belong in the 18 and some of them even in the starting lineup discussions. We’ll take a lot of positives away from that and again, I think the scoreline is a difficult one because starting the second half, you think of the two saves [Jeff] Attinella made. Really good saves. One on C.J. [Sapong] and another on Derrick Jones as well to keep [Portland] in the game. These are the small margins in this league that determine game and we came up on the wrong end. Like I said, two mistakes in the box and two [penalty kicks].

On Derrick Jones’ performance…
“I thought he was great. I thought he was on the ball, especially the first 15 minutes of the first half. Controlling the tempo, breaking up plays, doing all the things that make him a very good player for us. As the half wore on, we didn’t get him involved as much. We challenged him at halftime to get on the ball more. Made a couple good plays in the second half as well. Like I said, Attinella makes a really good save on the one. Maybe being picky, if Derrick gets that a little lower, maybe it’s a little harder for [Attinella] to get to. Overall, I thought Derrick’s performance was excellent. Did a really good job for us and I’m happy with him overall.”

On Alvas Powell’s performance…
“Like I said, up to the [penalty kick] we did a decent job limiting their best attackers. On a night, if their best attacker is a right back in this building where it’s a tough place to play, we’ve done a decent job. It wasn’t like a situation where it was over and over again. It was just a bang-bang play in the box and Alvas gets a foot in before Fabiano, times it a little late, but Fabi gave everything on the night. It’s just a little mistake in the box and they punished us for it.”

On the team’s reaction after going 1-0 down…
“It’s no secret that goals are something we’re trying to find ways to create. They’re coming from a lot of different places. I actually thought C.J. [Sapong] had an excellent night tonight. He worked his tail off, held the ball up for us, did a great job. But at the moment now, in the key moments in the box, whether it’s a good save from them or we’re maybe just not getting the right contact on the shot, it’s a challenge for us. That part is clear. We don’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves. We have a big semi-final at home against Chicago in the Open Cup. I think we’re well rested and I think we’re ready to go for that one.”

On his confidence going into the US Open Cup semi-final…
“It’s always difficult. They’re going to be just as excited for it as well. I know they rested some of their key guys as well. It’s a big opportunity for us at home. We didn’t want to have any regrets going into the game. I still think tonight we could have got a point out of tonight even with the performance that we had. So again, you have a plan in place. It didn’t go exactly our way tonight, but at the same time I still see some positives and I think we’re set up now to go up against Chicago at home where we do have a lot more of the ball. Think we actually had a lot of the ball tonight. So again we’re set, ready to go. It’ll be a fight. All these semi-final type games are usually one play games and hopefully at home we can come out on top and have a good crowd there to cheer us on.”

Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake…
On the two penalty kicks he faced…
“The first one was, I think, shoulder-to-shoulder but it happens sometimes and you just have to move on. The second one was a tricky one. I think there was some contact. Maybe it was a little soft, but that’s just me. I’m probably going to be a bit biased. But again, it is what it is. We have to move on. It’s always frustrating but it happens sometimes. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to keep it out. He hit it with a lot of power from 12 yards, which is good. Sometimes you just have to hit it and hope for the best. That’s what happened tonight.”

On not being able to turn positives periods of play into goals…
“We have to take our chances. Soccer is a cruel sport. You miss your chances and sometimes it comes back and gets you. That’s exactly what happened tonight.”

Philadelphia Union forward C.J. Sapong
On the team’s performance tonight…
“It gave a couple guys to play in a big game, in a big atmosphere. Going forward, we’re going to need more than the typical players that have been in the lineup. It’s good experience for those guys and good everybody to play in this type of game. Kind of a playoff atmosphere.”

On what the team needs to do differently to get results…
“Just score. Sometimes I think it becomes more complicated than it really is. In this game, a lot of times the ball doesn’t go your way as well, but not to get too overly elaborate, we just have to finish chances when they come and you hope that you can get chances kind of out of nothing. I think that separates great teams from okay teams, being able to come up with a goal out of nothing.”

Notes:

  • Portland is undefeated in its last 15 MLS regular-season matches with a 10-0-5 record, the longest streak in MLS this season.
     
  • Portland's 15-game unbeaten streak ties an MLS-club record and is also tied for the fourth-longest unbeaten streak in a single season in MLS history. The Timbers are the only MLS club to have a 15-game unbeaten streak twice in MLS play. 
     
  • The Timbers are unbeaten in their last 16 home regular-season matches with a record of 13-0-3. Portland's last home regular-season loss occurred more than a year ago on July 19, 2017.
     
  • Portland is one of two MLS teams (Los Angeles FC) this season without a home loss. 
     
  • The match marked the fewest amount of games to reach double-digit wins in MLS play for the Timbers. Portland reached 10 wins in just their 20th match of the season, four fewer than any other season. 
     
  • Diego Valeri scored his eighth goal of the season, which leads the club in 2018.
     
  • Valeri's goal was his ninth penalty kick goal since the beginning of last season, which leads MLS in that span.
     
  • David Guzmán scored his first goal of the season and the second of his Timbers career. 
     
  • Dairon Asprilla scored his first MLS goal of the season. The goal was Asprilla's second competitive goal in 2018, with the striker also scoring in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
     
  • Ten different players have scored in MLS play for Portland this season. 
     
  • Valeri delivered his tenth assist of the season, which is tied for the sixth-most assists in MLS in 2018. 
     
  • Valeri has seven assists in his last six matches. Those seven assists are the most in MLS since June 30. 
     
  • Valeri is the fourth MLS player this season to have a goal, an assist and a penalty kick earned all in the same match. 
     
  • It was the third time in an MLS match that Portland scored two penalty kicks in the same match.
     
  • With the start, Larrys Mabiala became the first Timbers defender to start the first 20 games of an MLS season. 
     
  • Guzmán made his first start in MLS play since returning from the 2018 FIFA World Cup. 
     
  • Jeff Attinella has posted a record of 9-0-5 this season, tallying six clean sheets. The six shutouts in a single season are a career-high for Attinella.
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