Victory Log, Timbers vs. Fire, 8.14.19
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 3, Chicago Fire 2 | Aug. 14, 2019

Portland Timbers Quotes
Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese

General thoughts on the match…
“I was very pleased with the performance all the way until the moment that [Chicago] lost one player, until they became 10 men. Until that point we were playing very, very well. Creating chances, moving the ball well. Once [Chicago] went a man down, we slowed down. We became too casual. We didn’t play simple. Yes, we created many opportunities. Many, many opportunities, but these are the moments where we have to take advantage. We have to be that team, in that moment that has to make sure we don’t let them do anything. We have to just make sure that they give up. This was the type of game that I think if we do the things that we can do, there’s no reason why we have to suffer all the way until the end. We need to be better. We’ve been playing very well. We’ve been doing excellent. Today, as I said, very pleased with the start of the match. Two great goals, opportunities, chances, phenomenal. But then after, it needs to be better. If we want to go far, we need to make sure that those moments, we take advantage. We didn’t today. Great win. We needed the points. Three points are very, very important, but today should have been different. We should have finished in a different fashion.”

On what he wished would have improved in the second half…
“In a game like this that you’re winning 2-0 in the 21st minute and you go one man up very early in the game, this is a game that we have to make sure that we finish early. We didn’t and it’s something that we need to be better [with] and be capable of doing. But today the group just relaxed and didn’t put the foot on the accelerator at that moment that we needed to and that’s it. Until that point, we were very, very good. We were playing so well. So that’s why there’s disappointment because I know that the group is playing excellent. I think we should have finished in a different way, this match.”

On Jorge Moreira’s performance…
“Moreira has been playing very well. He’s been improving and feeling more comfortable in doing the things that we ask him to do. Then he finds the beautiful goal early in the match and then he gave us so much going forward. We saw at the end [Chicago] put [C.J.] Sapong on that side to try to get into space and [Moreira] had to adjust to the situation, make sure that we control a little bit more what they were trying to do. Moreira has done very, very well, and I think it’s great that he found that goal because he’s been looking to score. I think he scored in Columbus and he needed one more because he has been looking for it and it was good for him.”

Portland Timbers forward Brian Fernandez [Translated] 
On scoring a brace tonight…

"The first goal was a bit lucky for me because the ball hit me right on my knee. On the second one, I felt a little bit more comfortable finishing it. They were important goals because we really needed them tonight.” 

On the team letting up towards the end of the match…
"It cost us both goals from Chicago. We must realize that we cannot stop pushing forward during the match because it can have consequences for us. We need to continue working hard because we have another match right around the corner and we need to be at our best and adjust the flaws he had today.”

Portland Timbers defender Jorge Moreira [Translated] 
On scoring a goal tonight…

"I feel very happy for scoring once again after many matches, especially at home and in front of our fans because it is very exciting to see how happy our fans react with every goal. I am especially happy for the team because we managed to obtain three important points tonight.”

On earning three important points…
"I honestly think tonight’s win was crucial because every point is getting is closer to the playoffs. It is true that after we scored the second goal we got a little too comfortable with the ball and we suffered a little bit more than we needed to, but we are going home with a win and it is our job now to fix whatever mistakes we made on the field so we can play all of our upcoming matches with more confidence.”

Portland Timbers defender Zarek Valentin
On the importance of the result...
"Yeah, ultimately it's good to get three points at home; that's the goal every time. But I think that we're going to look back and think we could've played better in this one. We hold ourselves to a high standard. We’re going to look back and think we should've killed the game off earlier and definitely not given up two goals, I'll tell you that much."

On takeaways from letting Chicago back in the game...
"I think it ultimately just shows how mental the game is. Obviously, when you're up two goals and they go down a man, you should kill the game off. But I think that you know maybe we got a little bit too much relaxed in the head and our passes were not as tight as they probably were the first 30. I think we played our best football when it was 11v11, so it's tough. Ultimately we're happy we got the points but we know we can improve."

Chicago Fire Quotes
Chicago Fire head coach Veljko Paunović
Overall thoughts on the game…

“I think we put up an amazing spirit and fight in a lot of adversities in this game. We didn’t start well. We had a poor start. But, after conceding two goals, I think the reaction was appropriate. I think playing with one man down, it’s always a big test for the team and I think we succeeded, in terms of the fact that we never crumbled, we fought until the end. We scored two goals with one man down for most of the time playing like that. It’s a big credit to the guys and the spirit that they put together and we’re going to keep building on it. (There were) a lot of positives. Obviously we are not happy with the result, but in just three days we have a very important game at home, a must win. With seven games left, we are going to do everything to get to the playoffs and I think we are on a good path. Despite the loss today, I think locker room is strong and believes in our possibilities to reach the playoffs.”

On the positive takeaways from the match…
“This game always puts you where you are and we know very well that we are not the best team in this league, but we are definitely the team that never gives up, the team that is very difficult to play and the team that scores goals. Definitely, when you put all of that together and you see that your work, your effort has a prize, in terms of we were very close to tying the game. I think, unfortunately, the third goal if that didn’t happen, I think that we would have tied the game anyways. So, that’s the downside of the game because we put a lot of effort there. But, knowing that there is always a prize for the effort is always important.”

Chicago Fire forward CJ Sapong
Overall thoughts on the game…
“Obviously it’s always tough when you’re coming to Portland and playing in front of their fans in this atmosphere. I think we started off well. Getting a red card and going down a man early makes it tough to get back into the game. I do really like the fight that guys showed towards the end of the game, until the last minute. I think that’s something that will definitely serve us well in these remaining games. It’s a loss, but I think we do have some positives to take out of it and at this point we know that we’re our own worst enemy. A lot of our losses are from self-inflicted wounds. So, if we can eliminate that and just fight like we did today, we’ll definitely be making a push for the playoffs.”

On the positive takeaways from the match…
“Well we had two goals that relatively came out of nothing. We were putting in work. We were pressuring the other team and it shows what we can accomplish when we just fight and do it together. Seeing that we have the ability to get goals out of nothing like that should give us confidence to know that at any given moment we can change a game.”

Notes:

  • Jorge Moreira scored his second goal in MLS this season and his third in all competitions.
  • Moreira delivered his fourth assist of the season.
  • Moreira is the third Timbers outside back to have multiple MLS goals in a single season for the club, joining Rodney Wallace (2011) and Alvas Powell (2014, 2017, 2018).
  • Brian Fernandez recorded his fourth brace in all competitions and his third brace in MLS play this season.
  • Fernandez has 10 goals in MLS, which leads the team.
  • Fernandez’s 14 goals in all competitions are the most by an MLS Timbers player in their debut season with the club.
  • Cristhian Paredes delivered his second assist of the season and the fifth of his Timbers career.
  • Diego Valeri delivered his 15th assist of the season, which is tied for the MLS lead.
  • Valeri’s 15 assists set a Timbers all-era record for the most assists in a single season, surpassing the 14 originally achieved by John Bain in 190 and matched by Valeri in 2014.
  • Tomás Conechny tallied an assist for a second consecutive match. He is the first Timbers player ever to have an assist in consecutive matches as a substitute.
  • Portland has never lost to Chicago, posting a record of 5-0-5 in 10 all-time matches.
  • Dating back to 2017, the Timbers have won five straight Wednesday night matches at Providence Park in MLS and six straight in all competitions.
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