Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 0, FC Dallas 0 | Sept. 29, 2018

Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese
On his thoughts on the teams' performance...

“I thought it was a pretty even game, I thought that they had their good moments, we had also some good moments, especially in the second half, I thought we created good opportunities. But it's difficult, Dallas is a good team; we knew that it was going to be complicated, we tried everything we could to get the three points. I think defensively we did a lot of good things, maybe one time we got the pass back from [Larrys] Mabiala. Just a great goalkeeping play that kept us in the game. But besides that the guys did a fantastic job making sure we covered all the spaces, and when we went forward we also created a lot of opportunities to try to find the goal. We'll take the point, but we tried everything we could to get the three points.”

On if he has reviewed the red card and his opinions of it... 
“No I still have to watch it, from where I saw it, it didn't look like a red, but I have to review it, I didn't have the full angle to be able to say 100 percent, there were I think a lot of little things that maybe should have gone our way, I have to review, I cannot talk on you know 100 percent, like the handball at the beginning of the game, with the header off Jebo [Jeremy Ebobisse] and a few others that maybe could have changed the game.”

On what he attributes the lack of scoring to...
“I wouldn't call it a struggle offensively in goals today. Dallas usually defends very well, a lot of games they have tied 0-0, so that's a possibility, they are a good team. I feel that we've been very good in some moments and we had opportunities. Unfortunately we couldn't score the goal that could've given us the three points, but I have no concerns at all with our forwards and the opportunities will continue to come and we have to capitalize.”

On starting Samuel Armenteros and Jeremy Ebobisse together up top...
“We didn't have [Sebastián] Blanco, so we felt that we could've gone with this lineup with the two strikers. I thought that they worked well, even though that they have not played much together – Armenteros and Jebo – and I thought that our long balls created problems in their defense. Unfortunately we couldn't find more opportunities, but I think we tried everything we could.”

On changes made at halftime to create more shots...
“We had to have a little more mobility, we had to make sure that we find more spaces in behind the defenders, we had to work a little bit more between the three – Armenteros, Jebo and [Diego] Valeri – for spaces and you know be quicker with the ball movement to make sure that we find the guy in the middle and then run away out with early crosses, and I thought you know that way of playing created some problems in Dallas' defense.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
General thoughts on the match…
“Zero-zero game and very tough, very physical. It was dynamic. They play a very compact shape trying to counter. We tried to get our chances and we couldn’t break them down. But they are a tough team. That’s why there are where they are. I think overall we looked very good. Putting pressure on them, creating some chances and fighting for the win.”

On changes to the team’s strategy in the second half…
“We tried to create some chances in the build-up. Connecting some passes and triangles on the sides. There wasn’t a lot of space in the middle. The other way we tried was second balls. Second balls, long balls, going to [Jeremy Ebobisse], trying to attack the space. But it was a tough game. That’s why it’s really hard to create clear, clear chances. We had some. In these kinds of games, you have to be effective. We’ll take the point. We have three more games to play and our goal is playoffs. It’s in our hands.”

On getting a clean sheet tonight…
“For me the clean sheet doesn’t matter. The way we defended, the way we tried to press and forced them to play long balls and [not allow them to] build, that’s what we wanted to see. Sometimes a goal can come from a deflection. Sometimes hitting the post.”

Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse
On partnering with Samuel Armenteros tonight…
“There’s definitely a feeling out process that went into the week of training, but I think in the game we had some good moments together. Me, [Samuel Armenteros], [Diego Valeri] and even the midfielders joining the attack. Maybe not as many chances created as we would have liked, but that’s natural. I think the positives were that, for the most part, we were on the same page and that’s important.”

On the physical nature of the game…
“Definitely. Not a pretty game at all. Lots of long balls, lots of fighting for second balls, headers. At the end of the day, we battled. We didn’t give them an inch. I know we didn’t create as many clear-cut chances as we would have liked. We have to take the point and the positives out of this, push onto [Real Salt Lake], and finish strong. It’s all about momentum and I think we’re in a good position to finish high.”

On what he can take away from the game tonight…
“It’s important to note the fight. Dallas came here and tried to bully us a little bit, but they weren’t able to. We were up for every ball. Every 50-50 battle we were up for. We’ll take the positive from that. We didn’t create as many clear-cut chances as we would have liked, but I think with the forwards we have, with the midfielders we have, the chances are going to come. What’s important is that we take advantage of those chances. We’ll go back to the training ground and prepare for RSL as we would for any other team. We’re confident moving forward for the playoff push.”

Portland Timbers defender Liam Ridgewell
On the Timbers’ defensive performance tonight…

“Very well. It was two very good sides going head-to-head. They’re a very good team and they’ve proved it this year, but I think we showed we can put in a good performance ourselves. It was an untidy match and not too many chances between both teams, but I think it showed the quality of both teams. I evaluate it that we didn’t concede a goal. Obviously we want to have a little bit more on the attacking side, but after last week, it was very disappointing conceding three goals. Very unlike us and we wanted to get back to basics and not concede. We got a clean sheet. It’s a little bit tricky to get a goal. I think both teams were struggling to break each other down. Probably shows the quality of both teams really.”

FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja
On clinching a playoff spot with tonight’s result...
“It’s great news. I want to congratulate the players on a terrific job so far. It’s not easy to qualify this early in this league, it is very competitive and differences are really tight. Well-deserved for the club that we are back into the playoffs after a very tough year. We are very happy for this achievement.”

On the competitive nature of today’s match...
“Portland is a good side, Gio has done a great job with the team. It was intense playing in Providence Park with the fans, who I admire a lot. It’s difficult, so walking out with a point is not an easy task to accomplish. We’re proud with the point, even though we had chances to score, but we will take the point with pride. ”

On the atmosphere of today’s match...
“We are very happy to be a part of the playoffs again and the atmosphere here felt like it was a playoff match.”

FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez
On clinching a playoff spot with tonight’s result...
“It’s great that we clinched after not clinching last year. It’s great knowing that we’re in, but we can’t let our guards down, we have to keep on working.”

On FC Dallas’ defense...
“We’ve been improving a lot in the backline and overall I think the whole team is doing a great job.”

On the atmosphere of the match…
“This is what we’re going to face in the playoffs, with the how the crowd was, but overall I think the team did a great job and hopefully we can keep winning in the playoffs.”

FC Dallas midfielder Victor Ulloa
On the importance of getting a good result today...
“Soccer always gives you more opportunities and we got ours today and we took advantage of it. I’m happy for a good result on the road in a tough place and now we look forward to the next game against Orlando.”

On the team’s defense display...
“You come into a place where it is really tough to play. I would say it was a playoff atmosphere tonight and we took care of business. One of our [areas of] focus was to keep a clean sheet and we knew that we could score at any moment and I think we had our chance to sneak away with the three points. But overall we’ll take the point on the road and, as I said, we have to prepare for our next game back home on Saturday.”

Referee Allen Chapman
What factors contributed to your decision to issue a red card to Liam Ridgewell in second-half stoppage time?
“Mr. Ridgewell committed a violent challenge using excessive force by extending his exposed cleat into the lower back of the opponent. He was shown the red card for violent conduct.”

Did you have an unobstructed view of the play on the red card?
“Yes, the view was unobstructed.”

What escalated the card on Ridgewell from a yellow card to a red card?
“The tackle constituted excessive force and not a reckless challenge.”

Notes:

  • The Timbers recorded their ninth clean sheet in league play in 2018, which ranks tied for sixth-most in MLS.
  • Portland has posted seven shutouts at Providence Park this season. The team’s seven home shutouts ranks tied for the most in the Western Conference and tied for third-most in MLS.
  • The Timbers held FC Dallas to just one shot on target in the match. It is just the second time this season and only third time in two years that the Texas club has been held to a lone shot on goal. 
  • The one shot on target allowed by Portland is tied for the fewest shots on target by a Timbers opponent this season, marking the third time Portland has surrendered a single shot on goal.
  • Alvas Powell played in his 120th league match for the Timbers, tying him with Rodney Wallace for the 13th-most games played across all eras (since 1975).
  • Diego Chara played in his 230th MLS match for the Timbers.
  • Lawrence Olum played in his 50th MLS match for the Timbers since returning to the club prior to the 2017 season.
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