Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 3, San Jose Earthquakes 1 | Oct. 6, 2019

Portland Timbers Quotes
Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese

General thoughts on the match after securing a playoff spot…
“First of all, I think the players showed that in big moments they show up. They came today with an unbelievable energy. They stuck to the plan and they played a fantastic game. A well-deserved win against a very good, a very difficult team. Overall, I think it was an incredible, incredible day, because also the energy from the fans today was different. It was incredible, so I’m very proud of the performance. As I said, they executed the plan that we worked onduring the week and we showed a lot of character today.”

On Dairon Asprilla’s performance…
“The thing is he’s been working very well this week and last week. I saw something in him that he was hungry to be able to prove himself and come back and do the right things. Today, he worked a lot [out there]. Besides the goal, it was the amount of work that he put in, not only Asprilla, but the entire team. The guys that came from the bench, everybody sacrificed. As I said, it was a very difficult game because [San Jose] are very fit. They are a team that runs nonstop. That’s why I feel so proud of my players. Now we are in the playoffs. We worked very hard. It has been a very difficult season in so many ways. So that’s why I think even in this moment that we have been able to make the playoffs, I’mmore proud than ever for all the guys we have on the team.”

On Andy Polo’s performance…
“He was that extra midfielder that gave us attacking options that was able to release in moments to be able to give us a threat going forward, but as well give us a lot of balance defensively. His role today was very good. So I think Polo has been for three, four games playing at a very high level. He has shown up, he has come up, he has showed his character in these games. The Polo that we expect him to be. This is the Polo that we want and today he played very well.”

On putting the last few results behind them and getting the result today…
“Frustrating games because we didn’t get the results we wanted, even though we were playing very well. I think the performances have been outstanding. Just the results unfortunately didn’t match up with the games and the performance that we have been showing in all these matches. So being able to close a game and capitalize and get the win the way we did today, not allowing the referee to interfere into moments that were important, which happened again today, but overall this is what we have to be. Just make sure that we are ourselves, think of ourselves. We played the game that we had to and we executed the plan today. The guys did a fantastic job. But also, I have to say, the fans today gave us the energy that we needed in order to be able to win this game.”

On the team’s preparations for the playoffs…
“Now we have to enjoy tonight. Analyze, evaluate and prepare for what is coming now. We have a few days now to be able to…I think it’s [Real Salt Lake], the one that we have to play… and prepare for another very difficult match, but now it’s the playoffs. Now it’s the other side. It’s where we want to be, where I think we deserve to be. We need to prepare and hope that we can get everybody back and fit to be able to have all the selections possible to go into this match.”

On the matchup against Real Salt Lake in the playoffs…
“The reality is that we wanted to make the playoffs. We have a good track record with RSL, but no game is the same. So for us, it was making the playoffs and we have to play against anybody that was going to go in front of us. We have to make sure we prepare well and now we have to prepare for RSL.”

Portland Timbers defender Larrys Mabiala
On what he expects from the first round playoff match against Real Salt Lake …

“We’re first going to rest because it was a very hard, physical game. We were running a lot because that’s what you have to do when you play against a team like San Jose. We’ll focus on the way we have to beat this team [Real Salt Lake]. Gio [Giovanni Savarese] and the coaching staff will do everything to make sure they put us in the right condition to win that game.”

On celebrating his goal with the coaching staff and the bench…
“We have a great group of guys. These guys are amazing and I just wanted to celebrate with them because of the amount of work they put in training sessions. Unfortunately, not everyone has a chance to see the field in a game, so that was my way to make them feel the way I was feeling.”

On players stepping up in the absence of other players in the lineup…
“They’re not there, so of course you have some guys that need to step up. Today, it was me on the first [goal], but you had Dairon [Asprilla], who had a great game as well. Jebo [Jeremy Ebobisse] had a great game too, he just didn’t find the back of the net. It’s a [team] sport. We have 11 guys here that can get a chance to score a goal, so the guys did a great job today.”

Portland Timbers forward Dairon Asprilla [Translated]
On how he feels after today’s performance… 
“I feel happy for the opportunity and for everything the team gave today. We can do great things. Every year, around this time of the year, we work really hard to do things well and these are the results, joy for our fans and for ourselves.”

On his thoughts on his goal against San Jose…
“I believe we were convinced about winning this match. When the game was tied, coach [Giovanni Savarese] asked us to attack even more and to be more compact defensively. For the second half we came out with more desire and we are able to score another goal.”

On scoring important goals late in the season…
“It’s not really about it being October or November. When you are given the opportunity, in any month of the year, you need to take advantage of it. Perhaps, I earned my chance now and I must make the most out of it. I believe I can show what I am capable of at any given moment. I was given an opportunity today and I believe I showed I am capable of doing great things, so I will continue working.”

Portland Timbers defender Jorge Moreira [Translated]
On how he feels after today’s performance… 
“I feel well. We knew this was a must-win match and fortunately it turned out a beautiful match in which we got the result we needed to make the playoffs. Unfortunately, we missed the opportunity to qualify last weekend, or else we would have qualified then or in any of our most recent matches. That didn’t happen then, but it did today against a great team that plays great soccer and  we did it in front of our fans at Providence Park. It’s beautiful, especially knowing that we won the match 3-1.”

On the team’s tactical performance…
“We knew that our rival played soccer really well, had good technique and good players. We trained during the week with that in mind and practiced to play 1-v-1 against them, on the sidelines and on midfield, always trying to win every duel. We played a great match today and achieved everything we practiced throughout the week. We scored exactly when we needed to and all my teammates had a great match today. We were focused against a great team and were able to obtain a great result that helped us make the playoffs.”

On Sebastián Blanco’s goal… 
“The 2-1 score line was not enough, they [San Jose] continued attacking and could have tied the match. Seba’s [Sebastián Blanco] goal gave us calm when there were still more minutes to be played. That goal was timely and allowed us to pace the game even better and close our defensive line a little more. We knew San Jose needed to score and we tried to take advantage of that. We had fast players on the field such as Dairon [Asprilla] and [Andy] Polo, who played very well today. Fortunately, we got the result we needed and made it to this year’s playoffs.”

San Jose Earthquakes quotes
San Jose Earthquakes head coach Matias Almeyda [Translated]

On playing in a tough venue such as Providence Park...
“From what I’ve seen in the league, every team struggles when they play on the road. Teams that are used to playing on turf play a certain way. Then those who are not used to playing on turf, they feel it and then it takes them a while to adapt to it. Being here with the fans it was a nice spectacle, it was nice to feel it, experience it and having participated in it. But, if you think about it, it would be the same thing because when they [Portland] played away at San Jose, we scored three goals so it’s something that happens often in this league.”   

On the team having more successful campaign than the 2018 season... 
“There was a big change in this group. We pretty much played with 85 percent of the same players that played last season who were in last place with a bunch of goals conceded and not too many scored. When we joined San Jose we knew it was going to be something difficult and we tried to make the team competitive through a system of play. The team started off badly, then at 60 percent or 70 percent of the season they played excellently and then at the end of the season it was also negative. A team who wants to get far, if you only win two in the last 11 that’s very little. Regardless we still played up until the 90th minute with our chances on our feet and happy because we always depended on ourselves. If I were to make a quick balance, I would say it’s positive. If a team was in last place and then they became competitive and at one point in the season they were in second, to do that you need to make a lot of changes with confidence, with unity, in play, observing each and every one of them in the human aspect and football aspect as well. And I’m always interested in players enjoying playing the game.”

On the message he gave the team after the game...
“At first I thank them for the predisposition that they had. Their interpretation even though I have someone who translates for me. When I first met with the players I told them that generally in life and in football that you go through winters, falls, summers and springs and football is a moment. Today I’m 45 years old and my football career has gone by very quickly. So they understood that message that I was giving them and I wanted them to be a team, where everybody runs and everybody plays, and they did it well. We didn’t do it perfect, maybe it was almost perfect, because if it was we would still be in season. But I assure you that if you look at a San Jose player today and you look back a year, there’s been a huge change. I’m only left with thankful words for everything that they’ve put in.” 

San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski  
On the team’s season...
“I think that it’s always disappointing to not make the playoffs, it’s always a final goal and something that you want. At the same time, I felt that we built a foundation, where we’re not bailing out water anymore. To finally have a secure foundation, know what to do and know our identity, and we can really build on that and go forward. Even a couple years ago we made the playoffs, but didn’t quite have this foundation. So on that side, it is a good silver lining. Probably more excited about it next week, but right now it’s still tough though.”

On his record-breaking season... 
“It was an amazing season. it was something that I’ll always remember. It’s great with the accolades and to be able to come out and score, but to be honest, it was the kind of memories in the locker room and this is a great group of guys. I enjoyed going in every day, I enjoyed practice and that's why I need to reflect on this year and then kind of decide the future. Talk with the wife, talk with the fam and decide where to go from here, but at the same time I had an absolute blast. ”

On his future...
“I don’t know, that’s a good one. I can't thank Matias [Almeyda] and his staff enough for reigniting the love and passion for this game for me. Last year took a lot out of me both mentally and physically, I was pretty sure that this was going to be the last one coming into the season. That being said, I had a lot of fun, I was thinking, it was going to be the time where ‘oh, this is a job I’m done now’. But I do love it. Like I said, I’m going to talk with the family, talk with the wife, see where to go from there.”

Notes:

  • The Timbers qualified for the postseason (2013, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019) for the fifth time in their MLS history.
  • Portland secured a berth in the playoffs for a third consecutive season, marking the first time across all eras in which the club has qualified for the postseason in three straight seasons.
  • Head coach Giovanni Savarese has led the Timbers to the playoffs in each of his first two seasons with the club. Dating back to 1975, Savarese is the second head coach to make the playoffs in each of his first two seasons, joining Bob Howe (2001, 2002).
  • Portland has won five consecutive regular-season home finales, outscoring its opponents 13-3 in those matches.
  • Dating back to 2011, the Timbers are 5-2-2 in regular-season finales.
  • Portland extended its unbeaten streak at home against San Jose to 12 games (9-0-3), including seven consecutive wins during that span.
  • Sebastián Blanco scored his sixth goal of the season in the match. With the goal, Blanco became the seventh Timbers player to score direct from a free kick in MLS play.
  • Larrys Mabiala scored his second goal of the season. Mabiala has seven career MLS goals, which is the most by a Timbers defender in their Portland career.
  • For the first time in a regular-season match, Dairon Asprilla delivered a goal and an assist in the same game after accomplishing this feat twice in postseason play.
  • Asprilla recorded his first assist of the 2019, becoming the 15th player to register an assist for the club in league play this season.
  • Jeremy Ebobisse finished the season as the only Timbers player to appear in every regular-season match for the club. He is the third Timbers player to play in all 34 games in a season for Portland.
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