Starting XI, Timbers vs. NY, 9.18.19
Photo by Sam Ortega

Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 0, New York Red Bulls 2 | Sept. 18, 2019

Portland Timbers Quotes
Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese

General thoughts on the match…
“First of all, unfortunate to have lost another three points at home. This is not something we’re happy about. Especially because we felt pretty good before the game. To start the match, matching the energy at the beginning with the Red Bulls which we know what they’re all about. Allow them to score an early goal made it very difficult, first of all. Then in the middle of the first half we became a stronger team. We matched up physically and we started to do things better. In the second half we created a lot of chances and we just have to capitalize on those chances. Unlucky, yes. That ball from [Diego] Chara goes in, it’s a different game in the first half. We need to be sure that we keep believing in ourselves. We need to make sure that we continue to work hard because it’s still in our hands to make the playoffs. Today, it’s just very disappointing because these points we should have been strong to get them at home against a team that we know exactly what is coming and how they play. Unfortunately, we didn’t get what we needed.”

On if it’s been harder for the Timbers playing at home this season…
“First, the amount of injuries we have had, I think, definitely as much as recent times tried to push and continue to create situations to get points. I still think it’s been difficult having so many players out. We saw [Sebastián Blanco] today as soon as he came in, he changed the game. We were limited in minutes we could use him; only 10-15 minutes. No more than that because we don’t want him to get injured again. So that limits us. Having players like [Blanco], Brian [Fernández] on the field, we’re a different team. Unfortunately today we couldn’t get the job done. I think we need to stay calm. We need to make sure we don’t stay too much on these opportunities we missed and these points that we missed. We still have enough points to be able to make sure that we make the playoff. It’s about staying calm, stay connected with our fans as a united front to make sure that we are able, together, to go through this difficult time and hopefully be able to make the playoff.”

On dealing with missed opportunities and a run of bad form…
“I think the only way is to make sure that you keep on believing in yourself, keep on believing in the team. You keep on fighting to make sure that you get things right because you can turn your luck. I believe that luck is in your hands to decide if it’s bad or good. We are in our capabilities to be able to turn this around and make sure we make use and we make the good luck closer to us moving forward. I think that’s one thing we can definitely do and keep on believing in ourselves and keep on working.”

On if he went through stretches of difficulty in his career…
“I don’t think there’s one player that hasn’t gone through moments like this. The only way to go through it is to stay calm, keep on working and to make sure these things don’t get to you, because if you start worrying too much in regards to missing opportunities or not being able to score, then you lose the belief. What you have to always have is the belief that you can achieve things, and that’s what we need right now. To make sure that we keep believing in ourselves.”

On struggles the team might have had early in games…
“I think today was something completely different than other times. Today we didn’t start with the right energy even though we knew that’s what we needed to do. That’s one thing that I think wasn’t good today at the beginning, at the start. Because we allowed them to get into spaces, not covering and letting them get too many second balls and play balls in behind that we knew they were going to do and unfortunately we didn’t match up to that energy, that intensity at the beginning. Then once we did, then we didn’t run with the luck that we needed. We saw that Chara’s crossbar… it’s incredible. I don’t know how that didn’t go inside. And other opportunities. That’s why I think that we have to stay calm. If we start panicking and getting frustrated then everything’s going to go the other way. We need to make sure that we stay calm and keep on working.” 

Portland Timbers defender Claude Dielna
On his thoughts after the match…
“We started the game very badly, not with the right energy. We tried to come back, but it was tough.”

On what the team needs to improve ahead of Sunday’s match against Minnesota United FC…
“Work hard every day in training. Just work hard, keep the head up and believe. Believe because we have a good team with some good players. Together, we’re going to achieve our goals and make the playoffs.”

On the team’s slow start in the last two matches…
“We’re a team and it’s our fault. It’s not one player or two; it’s a team. When we win, we win together and when we lose, we lose together. We need to improve.”

On if the team believes it can make the playoffs with four games remaining in the regular season…
“Of course. We believe. This is on our end because we have a lot of home games, but on Sunday we need to start changing our mindset and hopefully we’ll win. But we need to believe. We need to believe because we have the team.”

Portland Timbers defender Jorge Villafaña 
General thoughts on the match…

“A game that we couldn’t find again the way to break down the team. We created opportunities, clear opportunities, but we just couldn’t put them away. I think that was the story of the game. In the second half we created a bunch of opportunities and we just couldn’t put them away.”

On New York’s first goal…
“It’s a play where they get the second ball, the rebound. We play a ball in the middle, they get the second ball, they play it down the wing and they cross the ball and [Kyle Duncan] came in by himself and I get a little deflection in my back.”

On how the team plans to bounce back…
“It’s tough when you lose at home. We have a game on Sunday and we cannot afford to lose any more points. We have a lot of reflection to do, things that we need to get better at and we have to get ready to work again.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Chara 
General thoughts on the match…

“It was a tough game. We gave up an early goal and after that it was a different game for us. We tried to push but we were not effective in the final third.”

On the lessons learned from this match…
“Of course, not to give up any goals. In the last couple of games we made mistakes and those mistakes were goals for the other team and we need to be better at that.”

On Sunday’s match against Minnesota United FC…
“Now we need to try to recover and start preparing the next game because it’s a very important game for us. They are fighting for a playoff spot, too, and we need to win.”

New York Red Bulls Quotes
New York Red Bulls head coach Chris Armas

General thoughts on the match...
“I’ll start by saying I’m just really proud of the way the team went after it tonight. It’s an amazing group of guys and you get to see it more on road trips like this when you get together for five or six days straight. But to see the way this team sticks together and is able to reset it and like real teams do. So, even after the Seattle match…yeah, we battled back and it was a lot of fight there and we took some momentum out of that game, believe it or not, so I think what we saw tonight was a team that really believes in each other in what we’re all doing. And to come here against a real good team that’s fighting for points too in a building that full tonight… maybe you know we get 20-something shots and limit them to three on goal, someone just shared those stats with me, so that’s… it was fun to watch. Fourteen good performances and an amazing team effort.”

On if they felt their backs were against the wall following three-straight losses...
“I think there was a sense of urgency and we felt we had that last game too, and you can throw the one in before that. But yeah, look it’s always tricky when you lose because it puts you to the test. And we’ve talked a lot around here about being big in tough moments and standing tall, keeping your head up and sticking together and it doesn’t change the way we work when we don’t get the results because we believe in what we’re doing. So, there was certainly a sense of urgency, and it was fun to see. It’s fun to see that guys telling the line of where every play matters and almost nerves but, that was a good performance to see.”

On Kyle Duncan’s goal and performance...
“He’s growing quickly and we remind ourselves as a young guy around here still in terms of MLS games played, but he shows up every day and he works at his game and he cares a lot about the team and he plays USL games. He takes a real professional approach. So we ask him to be aggressive, we ask him to be tight on plays like that and not only to be up the field, but to sneak in front and get in good spots. So to see him bury it and to see what it meant to him, that’s a little…we’re all proud of him.”

On challenges of putting together a game plan to ensure everyone’s on the same page... 
“I think our club from top to bottom and our team, we have a clear philosophy and it’s so reliant on everyone understanding their roles. So with training and specific training and video and every day repeating that behavior, I think guys know their roles so we can plug guys in and out and I think it was more so a game plan that maybe we tried to target where we… the spaces they would have in their team wide and behind and at the same time that avoids something that they’re good at, which is transition by avoiding the middle of the field.”

On resting some players tonight and plugging players in and out of the starting XI...
“Look I think it’s a nice… it’s nice to have options on the field and guys that we believe in and that understand their roles. It was a strange one in Seattle, we had to make three substitutions because of injuries and different fatigue. With Kaku even at the end cramping but…into the playoffs, if we have enough rest in between we’re going to go with what makes sense on the day. This was something we had to manage. Some injuries we had to manage, fatigue a bit and guys like Kyle Duncan on the day, Josh Sims, Alex Muyl fresh legs on the flanks was a big part of the tactics on the day, so it was good to see those performances in those wide areas.”

On how he makes sure the team is ready for Sunday’s match...
“I think we get back to work as usual. This was a much-needed win for the guys in the standings, one step closer to the playoffs. And just psychologically, these guys worked so hard, so that’s the first part of it. Now listen it won’t…for the coaching staff it’s about coming up with a plan to play against a really good Philadelphia team and that’s what will be on our minds and occupy our time this week. But the guys at home against Philly, we’ll be ready to go and throw it again at the next opponent.”

New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles
On if this feels like one of the biggest wins this season...
“Feels like it, feels like it especially coming off of three losses. And then we played Seattle on the weekend and we felt like the game was there for us and got a little unlucky with the own goal. But this is a remarkable group. There’s a lot of resiliency within it and the last couple days leading up to this game we just felt the confidence in one another, in what we’re doing, and the belief that we were going to get a result tonight, so it’s really no surprise just because of that, I’ll tell you what, there’s also a lot of relief. Personally, it’s a great win for us.”

On if the long road trip was good for the team heading into the match...
“I can think of worse guys to spend time with. We’ve had a lot of fun being in Portland. It’s particularly special for me. I went to the University of Portland here so a lot of relationships I’ve maintained over the years. To see Bill Irwin, my coach at the University of Portland, my family stayed there, so it’s been really great. And then also while I was here I interned at Nike and I’ve maintained some of those contacts as well so just to have my family tour that place is pretty inspirational, so it’s been a great trip, and to top it off with the three points is a memorable one.”

On the backline’s performance...
“All I can really say about that is we looked like us. And what I mean by that is in 2018, we led the league in shutouts, we led the league in goals against, goals conceded – the fewest goals conceded – and coming into this season there were really high expectations and it just hasn’t played out that way. And yet tonight, you could see why we were able to do that last year and it’s really, I think it’s really positive for us going into the next few games because if we do look like that and we can build confidence from the back, it’s going to resonate throughout the entire team and as that permeates through the team, it’s just going to make us feel that we can win any game.”

On Kyle Duncan’s performance...
“He showed tonight why we have a lot of belief in him and why he’s been getting called into the U-23 Men’s National Team, it’s no accident. He has a lot of quality and you can see the goal that he scored, it almost held up as the game-winner. We got the penalty kick, but he had a great game and it’s one of those games that’s going to continue to build his confidence, but he has a really high ceiling. So for him, he has to keep his head down, continue to work hard and I feel like we’re going to see more of those games on a consistent basis for years to come.

New York Red Bulls midfielder Sean Davis
General thoughts on the victory...

“It's a great feeling, it’s a huge win for us. But more importantly, I thought it was a really strong performance, especially with our backs against the wall. I think that we showed our best stuff, so we should be proud of that but again, it’s time to turn the page and move forward. But we came to a difficult place to play and a great atmosphere and we found a way to get three points. So there’s a lot of positives tonight but again, we can continue to be better and grow.”

On showing the team’s best stuff...
“To be honest, I think we’ve been talking a lot about how we’re close. We’ve actually put in really strong performances as of late. The results haven’t gone our way and obviously at the end of the day the results are the most important thing but like I said, for it all to come together, I think that we were confident, that we were close, I think that we’ve been able to spend a lot of time with each other on and off the field the last few days. So this was coming, we knew it. And you know I think the group was confident in that and there was belief and at the end of the day, I think the team unity and the team chemistry will always prevail and win us games and that’s exactly what happened tonight.”

On playing the match with a chip on their shoulder...  
“I think… like I said our backs were against the wall and a lot of times we’re seen as the underdogs now so we grind out games, we fight for every single ball. There are duels all over the place and, guys are just trying to win their individual battles and so at a certain point the tide’s going to turn in our favor and that’s what happened tonight. I think we were great defensively, every guy put in a great shift. We went what, 14 for 14… like I said I’m just really proud of the group and it’s a great feeling and obviously a huge result for us.”

On the upcoming game against Philadelphia...
“[Head coach] Chris [Armas] talks about it all the time, it’s all in the mind and we had a quick turnaround for this game and a lot of guys turned it around and put in huge performances. So, we had a little bit of rest two days, what, between our, the Seattle game and this game and we all felt great and we all did the right things off the field. We had the training staff working overtime for us... that’s going to have to be the case for this upcoming game. We have a tough flight tomorrow but no excuses, we need to turn it around and we love playing strong teams and Philadelphia has had a strong year so again, it’s time to turn the page and have a great performance Sunday.”

Notes:

  • Diego Chara finished the match with 10 tackles, which is the most by any Timbers player since 2014. Chara has 10 or more tackles in four matches in his MLS career.
  • Chara’s 10 tackles are tied for the most by an MLS player in a single match this season.
  • Jeremy Ebobisse played in his 48th consecutive match in all competitions, which is the third-longest active streak among MLS field players.
  • Sebastián Blanco played his 90th career match for the Timbers, which is tied for the 10th-most matches played by an MLS Timbers player.
  • Tomás Conechny made his third career start in MLS play for Portland. It marked his first career start for the club in league play at Providence Park.
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