Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 2, Colorado Rapids 0 | Sept. 8, 2018

Portland Timbers Head Coach Giovanni Savarese
General thoughts on the match…
“I thought the team played very well today…defensively strong and offensively creating a lot of chances. We moved the ball very well; I thought it was a very good performance. I thought that this was one of our best games so far. We have to make sure that we find that balance offensively and also continue to be strong defensively, and the guys did a great job.”

On Jeremy Ebobisse’s first league start of the season...
“Jeremy did what we expected of him. The conditions were ideal for him to succeed and he didn’t disappoint. With all the trust that we put into him today, he delivered a very good match. Not all the forwards can play at the same time. We felt that it was the right moment for Jeremy to step on the field. He understood the opportunity, didn’t disappoint and I couldn’t be more happy to see his performance today.”

On expectations of the team’s younger players…
“I’m not going to play players because people are saying that they want to see a young guy. [The player] has to be ready, I want them to succeed - the way Jeremy did today. I’m not going to throw players into a situation in which they are going to fail, especially youngsters, because their confidence sometimes can be a little more fragile. We have a lot of young players and we have to make sure that we do the right things for them to evolve the right way. We had the chance to put in Tomas [Conechny] to give him a taste of the game. We have close to 30 players, and we consider everybody as important, otherwise, they wouldn’t be here.”

On Sebastian Blanco’s and Diego Valeri’s performances…
“[Blanco] was fantastic. He’s a game changer. He’s been having a very good season. For me, he goes beyond just scoring goals and today he was fantastic. Diego was good on the ball and scored a fantastic goal because he had the chance to [rest last match]. I’m excited about the guys and the effort that they put out today. Even more so, we have the guys that can contribute and they continue to battle to see who can play.”

On the team’s defensive performance…
“It was great, they all performed very well. The core of [the defense] did very well to make sure that we handled the difficulties that Colorado was trying to put in. We saw a lot of balls in behind, they tried to play fast and we dealt with a lot of those things in a very good way. It wasn’t an easy game, but I thought the team performed very well tonight.”

On VAR overturning Colorado’s penalty decision in the second half....
“It was a crucial moment. Soccer has those moments in where a game can change the other way [in an instant]. When the referee pointed for the PK and overturned it, it was huge for us. The second goal came minutes after that and those moments are huge in a match like this.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastián Blanco
On the team starting to find its goal-scoring form…
“I think we created so many chances. I think that with the last seven games [of the regular season], every game is very important. Today was a hard game; Colorado is a very physical team. We are happy with this victory.”

On having a full upcoming week of training...
“It is good, now we have a week to prepare. We’ll start to recover rather than training hard. We know that the last seven games and playoffs will be hard so we’ll need to use this week to get ready.”

On the team’s mentality following the overturned VAR decision…
“The mental part is 80 percent of the game. If the PK [decision] went for Colorado, maybe we’d be frustrated. I think all game we were concentrated. Sometimes, Colorado was aggressive but mentally and tactically we did a great effort. We began to play aggressive and after the second goal we matched the energy.”

On Jeremy Ebobisse’s performance…
“We trusted him, he has a future. He was very good with and without the ball and had a very good effort. We are happy for him because we need every player now before the playoffs.”

Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse
On scoring his first goal of the season tonight...
"It feels really good. A lot of work went into the beginning of the season. It’s tough sometimes watching from the sidelines, but I knew my opportunity would come at some point and I’m just grateful I was able to take it.”

On waiting for his opportunity to start…
“That’s the nature of the job. There are a lot of guys that aren’t playing and we have to do our part in training and after training to make sure we’re ready because it’s a long season and a lot of injuries and absences are going to happen. It’s important that we’re ready because we’re hurting ourselves if we’re not ready for the opportunity when it does come.”

On what he’s improved on in training….
“I think my movement in the box has improved a lot. A lot of the outside backs and outside midfielders stay after and send crosses to the strikers. We get as many reps in as we can every day and it’s been really helpful for me heading into the start tonight.”

On what Giovanni Savarese told him leading up to tonight’s start…
“He’s just been really encouraging. Obviously he understands that some of us aren’t super happy sitting on the sidelines, but he knows that he has full confidence in us when we do come in.”

Portland Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark
On getting the shutout in his first start at home...
"To get the win and the shutout at home is important for the team and the fans, so it was fantastic. I’m happy to be on this side. Overall, I had a blast playing and I look forward to playing again.”

On adjusting to his new setting and settling in with his first start…
“The game stays the same. With the way the back line performed today, it was nice. I only had to make two saves, but I also felt like I put my own influence on the game with a few passes that I made and I made myself available. I think it will help us in possession going forward.”

Colorado Rapids Head Coach Anthony Hudson
Thoughts on the game…
“I’m gutted for the players because there was a lot that was good tonight and it is tough because I think we deserved a little bit more out of the game. I can’t ask any more of the players, they’ve given everything and they’re trying to do things the right way, so overall I’m gutted for the players and for everyone involved.”

On Cole Bassett’s debut as a 17 year old…
“I’ve spoken about Cole for a long time now and I don’t want this to overshadow and serve as an excuse for the fact that we just lost the game, but he’s someone that we believe in and he’s done nothing yet. We believe in him and I trusted him to put him out on the pitch, but you just never quite know and I thought he was outstanding when he came on. He was under pressure at times and he did well on the ball, I was really pleased with him. He just now needs to be feet on the ground, patient, keep working hard and it’s fantastic having him in the squad.”

On Portland’s defense…
“I think for large parts of the game, most of the first half and parts of the second half, at times I thought we were the better team. The contrast was in the final third, when they were in the final third Tim had to make a save and tonight I don’t think we had enough quality in the final third and I don't think we were a threat in the final third. Other than that, the overall game was very good and the players never stopped all the way to end. We were unlucky with the penalty at that moment and at the end I thought we could have potentially nicked on as well, we had a couple of chances. That was difference in the final third from both teams.”

On the break in the team’s scheduled playing a part in today’s game...
“No I don’t. I think we came here and we played very well against a very strong team and I think we have a very light squad at the moment. For large parts we were the better team by far, played the better football and in the final third I think that was the difference, we just weren't a threat in the final third.”

Colorado Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett
General thoughts on the match…
“For the first 20-25 minutes, we played really well. As a team, we were dominating possession. Obviously, we want to create more chances than we did but we felt pretty good. The first half overall was a decent half, we were unlucky to give up that goal right before halftime. That second goal kind of deflated us. As a team, we need to bounce back from that and have to try and create more chances in front of goal.”

On being the youngest player in Colorado Rapids history…
“I don’t really think about it when I’m on the field - I just try to help the team out. It’s definitely a proud moment for me and my family because I’ve worked so hard for this for so many years. I’m really proud to make my debut but I wish it could’ve ended in a better result because we deserved more.”

On making his MLS debut at Providence Park…
“This is the best atmosphere that I’ve ever played in. I haven’t played in many, but I bet it won’t top this for a while. Credit to the fans, they were very good tonight and it was fun to play here. I really enjoyed Portland, they were a good crowd.”

Colorado Rapids midfielder Jack Price 
Thoughts on the game…

“We dominated the game again, but it’s that final third. Every week we keep doing the right things and then those mistakes cost us against a good team.”

On Cole Bassett’s debut…
"He’s great. He came on and got on the ball, he’s good. It’s his debut and we got a lot of work out of him, but he’s a good talent and we’re looking forward to seeing the best of him.”

On Bassett’s growth as a player…
"When he first came in he was a bit shy, but now you can see that he’s grown in his personality. He’s demanding the ball and if he wants to get into this team, that’s what he got to do. I thought he was outstanding when he came on. So it’s good to see and I would like to see him play more."

On the stadium atmosphere…
"They’ve got good support, they get right behind the team and it’s a good atmosphere similar to back home to be fair and I enjoyed playing in this stadium, it’s definitely one of the better ones."
 

Notes:

  • The Timbers registered their eighth shutout of the season, including their sixth of the season at Providence Park.
     
  • Diego Valeri scored his 10th goal of the season. Valeri is the third player in MLS history to have 10 or more goals and 10 or more assists in four different MLS seasons, matching Jaime Moreno and Preki. 
     
  • For the fifth time in his Timbers career, Valeri has scored 10 or more goals. Valeri is the first Timbers player ever (1975-present) to have five seasons of double-digit goals.
     
  • Sebastián Blanco had two assists in the match, marking the second time in his MLS career that Blanco has had multiple assists in one match. Blanco's previous multi-assist game was also against the Rapids (May 26, 2018). 
     
  • Blanco's eight assists in 2018 match his total from 2017. Blanco is the second Timbers player in the club's MLS era to have eight or more assists in multiple seasons, joining Valeri. 
     
  • Blanco's 16 career assists place him in a tie for 13th for most assists on Portland's all-era chart with Jimmy Conway. 
     
  • The victory was Portland’s eighth consecutive home win over the Rapids and third straight win overall against Colorado.
     
  • Portland now has 10 victories over Colorado in MLS play, which ranks only behind the Timbers 11 wins against Vancouver, which is the most wins by Portland against a single club.
     
  • Jeremy Ebobisse and Steve Clark both made their first starts for the season for the Timbers in MLS play.
     
  • Ebobisse scored his first MLS goal of the season and second of his MLS career. It was Ebobisse's second goal in a competitive match this season for Portland, having also scored for the club in the U.S. Open Cup. 
     
  • Ebobisse is the 13th different Timbers player with an MLS goal this season, which ties Portland for fourth-most goal-scorers in 2018 among all MLS teams. 
     
  • Clark now has 25 career shutouts in MLS play, becoming the 35th goalkeeper in MLS history to achieve 25 shutouts. 
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