Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 2, Toronto FC 0 | Aug. 29, 2018

Portland Timbers Quotes

Portland Timbers FC Head Coach Giovanni Savarese

On the importance of getting the win...
"It was very important. Playing at home, we needed the points and the guys put out a great performance and a lot of energy into the game to be able to get the result that we wanted. It was a necessity to be able to get three points."

On the team's attacking performance tonight...
"I thought that the guys did really well, the ball just didn't go in [during the first half]. The defenders for Toronto blocked a couple shots. From what I saw, the first 15 minutes was very good. In the second half, we got the intensity back again and we were able to score two goals from our two midfielders. The important part is that we opened the spaces and created chances. I thought the guys from the beginning were sharp and they looked much better."

On holding onto possession throughout the match...
"Sometimes the game changes momentum and I think that's what happened [in the second half]. Once we scored the goal, we were able to keep a little more of the ball and after the second goal, we were smart just to slow the game down and make sure to maintain the ball."

On squad rotation late in the season...
"What we want to make sure that we have a fresh team to be able to play against New England. It's the last long travel that we have, so for us, it's important. New England is a very physical team, especially at home. We have to have a team that is fresh and ready to be able to compete. We have a full squad and we believe in every player that we have. We've had a couple of guys who have needed a little more rest and they will be ready. The difficult part is deciding, because everybody is asking to be able to play and are making it difficult for me.”

On Jorge Villafaña coming off in the second half...
"He's not fully fit. We expected him to play 60 minutes; he played a little more. For what he gave during the game was very good. He gave us a lot going forward and I thought it was great to be able to have him."

On Jorge Villafaña's and Lucas Melano's performance in their respective returns...
"They were great. They've been great during practice and are excited to be back. They've been excited to be a part of the locker room and today they had the opportunity to be able to contribute in the match. What we saw from Villafaña was very good. Melano came in to be able to do the job that we asked him to do and he created a very good chance. It's excellent to have these choices now to make the team stronger."

On Diego Chara's advanced role in the midfield...
"He has a lot of freedom to be able to go forward and get into spaces to find himself inside the box. There's a balance for him to be able to do that. Now that he's playing with an extra two [midfielders] next to him, he has more freedom to find spaces, not only forward but in between lines."

On getting offensive production from the midfield...
"As I said last week, I wasn't concerned about goals. I was concerned more about putting in the work to create the chances. It could've been anybody [to score today's goals]. The first goal, [Sebastian] Blanco did great to be able to find Chara after a great run. And with [David] Guzman, he believed all along that he was going to win that ball and his finishing was clinical."

On if there was any frustration prior the Portland's opening goal...
"There was a little bit of frustration because there were some moments where the pass wasn't given at the right time or the right player. But the important part is that movement was happening, we were winning the ball, creating plays and were looking to go forward. We're evolving, we're growing and we've seen a team more like the team that we want to be and we're on a good path right now."

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Chara
On lining up wide in a midfield three…
“It’s a little bit different playing a little bit more wide than my normal position, but I feel the same. It’s the same role and I’m trying to recover the ball with [David] Guzmán and [Andy] Polo. After that, just try to attack.”

On coming back to play the game on short rest…
“It was really tough. I had a couple of fouls in the middle. The team did a great job today trying to create opportunities to score and we won.”

On scoring his first goal of the season…
“I always try to score. Today I had an opportunity and I feel very happy. I had a great pass from Sebastián [Blanco] and I scored it.”

On if there was frustration from not scoring chances early on…
“A little bit because I think against Seattle [Sounders FC] we played a great game, but it was an unlucky play, an own goal. I think we continued working and finally we got the win today.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastián Blanco
On his assist on Diego Chara’s game-winning goal…
“First, I was happy because [Diego] Chara scored his first goal and celebrated for his wife. I’m happy [about the goal] because I had too many mistakes, before, and was able to give that assist for the first goal, and afterward, we could be calm and be better. But it was important, because we had four straight losses, and we didn’t deserve [to be in this situation]. Now, it’s important to continue to work hard. Tomorrow, we have to travel, again. We need to concentrate and take the three points [against New England].”

On the importance of the win…
“It was a mix of the Timbers’ past and present. Every player was ready to play, so it was very good for us. We need to continue. I’m very happy for Lucas [Melano], to be able to play [here] again; for Jorge [Villafaña]. They helped their teammates a lot. We have good team, and we’ll continue to work to reach the top of the table.”

On walking onto the field with his daughter…
"It’s a special day. It’s my daughter’s first birthday, and I got to celebrate it with her. I’m very happy, and my wife is, too. It was a pleasure. It was an amazing moment in my life. It was good, because after that, we were able to deliver a win. So, it was a complete day.”

Portland Timbers FC defender Jorge Villafaña
On being back with the Portland Timbers...
"It feels very good; I'm really happy to be back. I've kept in touch with some of the guys and I'm enjoying it right now. I'm happy to have stepped on the pitch today and help the team get a win.”

On his personal performance tonight...
"To be honest, I was really tired at the end. My legs couldn't go anymore but I felt that I had a good run after being out for a couple of months. It's normal trying to get my fitness back and the rhythm of the game but I felt really good."

On takeaways from his time in Mexico and with the U.S. Men's National Team...
"Those experiences make you grow as a person and a player. I'm just trying to be the voice on the backline and communicate with the team. I think that's the key to winning games - communicate and be compact in the back.”

Toronto FC Quotes
Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney
General thoughts on the match…

“I think we had reasonable control in the first half. Too many times where we could have set up and kept some possession in the opposing half, we just hit balls into the box, we rushed crosses, we rushed some of our attacks, which then turned into counter attacks the other way. Eventually, and we’ve said this too often, the field gets too open, the game gets too open and that’s tough. High speed running and a lot of counter attacks and transitions you have to deal with when you lose balls where you shouldn’t lose balls, you make decisions you shouldn’t make. That wears on you over the course of time and I think that was one of our issues. The second half in general I thought we had pretty good control. The first goal comes where Ryan [Telfer] makes a decision to go out and press, which means [Justin Morrow] is trying to get all the way to the outside. We get pulled apart too quickly before we’re all together. [Sebastian] Blanco makes a run in between Michael [Bradley] and Justin, who is now going out wide, and it just kind of dissects us up the middle and we’re pulled apart. We’re trying at that moment, we’re not quite together as a group and we’re trying to step out and put pressure and we get pulled apart. It ends up costing us a goal. The second goal is the second goal. At that point, it was obviously a ball played in to Michael who didn’t see the guy pressing up from the backside and stripped him. In general I thought we had pretty good possession. I think we needed to be more dangerous when we got into good areas. Our final ball, final product was not of the quality we needed obviously to threaten their goal the amount of times I thought we got into good spots. The touch of impotence there in the final third meant that we didn’t test their goal enough. I think I saw that we had 10 or 11 shots and only one of them on goal. For the amount of times we got into their final third and got into pretty good attack positions, not enough came of those moments. Quality in those moments hurt us a bit.”

On Michael Bradley’s performance…
“Dropping him into the back gave us a couple things. The goal was to make it difficult for them to press us. If Michael’s in the back, then I think it’s difficult for teams to really press us. He controls and dictates the game from that position. It’s hard for teams. We thought we could control the tempo a little bit with him back there. Then I said we were rushing some of our attacks, which meant the game became more open than we wanted it to be. I did think when he sat deeper in that position he was able to kind of assess everything that was coming at him and read the game really well. Cut out some plays. I thought the group did a nice job of preventing some counter attacks and putting out fires, just again from us when we lose balls we can’t lose or make decisions we shouldn’t be making, that put a lot of pressure on the defensive group over time. I thought his running the line, his leadership, keeping things tight, I thought it helped us for good stretches of the game.”

Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley
On the changes to the team for tonight’s match…

“Obviously travel, quick turnaround, but every team has to deal with this stuff. We came and we put a team on the field that we thought could go for it and thought physically was ready for the game. I thought by and large we handled things pretty well. Can’t quite make enough of some plays and some advantages in the attacking end of the field and then give away two goals and aren’t able to come away with anything. Disappointing, but we have no choice but to regroup quickly and get ready for a very big home game on Saturday.”

On key changes in the second half that affected the match…
“The biggest thing obviously is that they get the first goal. They go up 1-0, so at that point it forces us to start to go for things even more. If we’re a little bit better, a little bit sharper and can find the first goal ourselves, then obviously that tilts the bar a different way. But again, this is football. It’s not been a season that has gone by design in any way. We’re still very much in it and very much fighting. The mentality now is to turn it around quickly for a big game against a good team on Saturday night. Big home game. Then we’ll get two weeks off to prepare for the next one.”

On starting in the defense tonight…
“No problem. You play deep in the midfield, you spend enough time in that part of the field as it is. I thought again, by and large, the entire group handled things in a pretty good way. Disappointing that we can’t make a few plays at both ends of the field to come away with more.”

Toronto FC forward Jon Bakero
General thoughts on the match…
“It was really good to get the start and to get on the field. Obviously, it’s disappointing with the result. We came out here to win and not doing that tonight is a little hard but now we have to focus on Saturday.”

On Toronto’s second-half performance…
“I think we were in good spots. I think maybe the final pass and maybe the final decision wasn’t great but I think we were in good spots and we played good soccer. We just got to continue working and believing in our system and I think the results will come.”

On returning home this weekend to face LAFC…
“As coach said, I think we got to leave this [result] behind. We have a quick turnaround so we have to get ready for Saturday. Every game is a final for us - we need the points.”

Notes:

  • The Timbers registered their seventh clean sheet of the season, including their fifth clean sheet at home.
  • Portland is unbeaten in its last four matches (3-0-1) against Toronto FC at Providence Park, outscoring the Canadian club, 10-3.
  • With the win, the Timbers improved to 3-0-1 at home against Eastern Conference opponents in 2018.
  • Jorge Villafaña made his 2018 debut for the Timbers, starting and playing 80 minutes in the match.
  • Entering the match as a substitute in the 82nd minute, Lucas Melano made his season debut for the Timbers.
  • Diego Chara made his 225th career appearance. He is one of nine active MLS players to have played in 225 matches with their current club.
  • Chara’s 64th-minute goal was his first goal of the 2018 season. The goal was the eighth of his MLS career and his first since March 12, 2017.
  • Chara is the 11th different player to score a goal for the Timbers this season.
  • Zarek Valentin recorded the assist on Chara’s goal, registering his first assist of the season. He is the 10th different player to register an assist in 2018 and the 14th player to have tallied at least one goal or one assist.
  • Portland surrendered just one shot on target in a match.
  • With his assist, Sebastián Blanco has six goals and six assists this season and is one of two Timbers players, along with Diego Valeri, to record at least six goals and six assists in two different MLS seasons for the club.
  • With his seventh clean sheet of the season, Jeff Attinella is tied for the ninth-most shutouts in a single season across all eras (since 1975) for the Timbers.
  • The Timbers have never lost to a Toronto team at home (8-0-1) with victories over Metros-Croatia, the Toronto Blizzard, Toronto Lynx and Toronto FC.
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