Diego Chara, Timbers @ RSL, 10.19.19
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | Real Salt Lake 2, Portland Timbers 1 | Oct. 19, 2019

Portland Timbers Quotes
Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Saverese
On his thoughts on the game…
“I thought it was a game of two halves. I think the first half we didn’t show up. Real Salt Lake completely dominated and we were lucky to be 1-0 down. Then in the second half it was all us. Real Salt Lake didn’t do anything. We completed dominated the second half and created enough chances to maybe put this game away and maybe even go into the overtime 1-1 would have been a little bit more fair. This game is not fair. Real Salt Lake was able to capitalize and at the end they had one chance and they took advantage and [Real Salt Lake midfielder Jefferson] Savarino put it in the back of the net. But as I said it was a game of two halves, we were very, very good the second half and terrible in the first half and vice a versa.

On what it was like in the locker room at halftime and if he sensed the team would come out the way they did in the second half…
“No doubt that we were going to come out of the locker room and have a better second half, and that’s what they did. Unfortunately after Jebo [Jeremy Ebobisse] felt tightness and we had to substitute him and also we couldn’t lose him. We only had one striker and we wanted to make sure we managed him as much as we could. That was an unfortunate situation. Nevertheless, the team still created chances after that and it’s just unfortunate that in the last minute of the game we allowed the goal and then a whole season, which it has a been a very difficult season, I’m very proud of the guys they have done so well during the entire year to arrive here today. And I think if we would have gone through today I think it would have been fair.”

On how he processes the 2019 season…
“I will analyze the season. Evaluate situations to see how we are going to move forward and come back stronger next year. It’s is unfortunate because we don’t want to finish so early at this stage because we really believe in ourselves, but at the end you have to do it on the field and Real Salt Lake just found that goal to through and now we have to make sure we build stronger and better for next year.”

Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse
On how he processes the game..
“Definitely a lot of emotions from us all, and I think it’s natural in a game like this where you are facing a lot of adversity, whether it’s the weather or the opposition. To come close and give up a goal in the 87th minute, it’s a little bit sour and it’s going to stick with knowing that we had a group that beat LAFC away and was able to beat any team on the road and to come up short because now we didn’t give ourselves an opportunity to take down Seattle and what would have come after.”

On what it was like in the locker room at halftime…
“I think we definitely addressed that the first half wasn’t good enough. We always talk about energy and maybe that’s been a theme, we haven’t started with the right energy, or just the right approach. As a player on the field in the moment I felt that perhaps the energy was there tonight, but the decision making wasn’t. In the first half we were too frantic on the ball, all of us, and unable to consistently string multiple passes in the oppositions half, which gave them confidence to go on the counter and just made us more tired. But then in the second half we addressed that knowing we were down 1-0 to go out and gamble a little bit. Thankfully the goal came quickly and we found a little bit more rhythm, but ultimately we couldn’t get that second goal and that’s what is going to define this game.”

On heading into the offseason and looking at 2019…
“I’m a little bit disappointed, frankly. I think that’s the standard we’ve set as a club. My first year we were Western Conference champions in the regular season and then my second year we won the Western Conference Championship. So the culture that I’ve seen at this club from the leadership from the top guys that they’ve set, so naturally I feel disappointed to lose in the first round of the playoffs. And again, there’s two sides to that coin. We are a strong team that’s meant to win championships, so it makes it disappointing.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Chara 
On his thoughts on the game …
“It’s hard to process this loss, because we came with a mentality to try to find a good result. I think during the game we made a couple mistakes and that changed the game.”

Thoughts on the changes in the second half …
“I think we tried to press a little bit higher in the second half. I think the result for that, we scored and we tied the game. After that we tried to continue creating opportunities and we did effectively. At the end, Real Salt Lake scored. They were effective in the moment and that was all.”

On how both teams dealt with the weather conditions…
“It was a little bit hard in the first half, because it was cold. But I think the weather in this game, it doesn’t matter. I think we tried to play well. We played a little bit different in the second half, and at the end Real Salt Lake played a good game.”

On heading into the offseason…
“First of all, enjoy my family, try to enjoy this time with my family and after that prepare for the next year.”

Real Salt Lake Quotes
Interim Head Coach Freddy Juarez

On the game:
“First half was so good, but in the second half they made us suffer. We stuck together, and Plata, Johnson and Kelyn came in and added some fresh legs. They had to respond and we did. I’m proud of the guys. It wasn’t an easy game. The atmosphere was great, the fanbase was loud. You could really hear them when something good happened, and that raised our spirits up.”

On the performance:
“Going into the game the atmosphere was good. The fireworks and all that, you could just sense that the guys were up for it. All week you could sense the guys were there. We were confident but not overconfident. We felt that here at home we’re very good. If we came with the commitment that we talked about and executed some things then we have a good chance. We did a good job. It’s hard to control all 90 minutes, but we controlled a good portion of it. In the first half, I think we could have had one or two more that would have made things easier for us. These are the playoffs, and the guys had to respond with a little bit extra and we got through it.”

On Rimando’s performance:
“That was critical. We couldn’t quite get to the ball. The loose balls were bouncing everywhere and it would somehow end up with their players. What can I say about Nick? He’s been doing that here for 13 years. The guy is awesome. He pulled one out on his left side and I just had to clap my hands when that happened. If you’re thinking that we’re going to go to Seattle and he’s not going to have to make a save, he’s going to have to. That’s the way the playoffs are. You’re going to have to suffer at times. When you have the opportunity to make the opponent suffer, you have to try to do it. The team that capitalizes on their chances, like we did today on two of them and they had one, we win.”

On the response after the goal:
“It was disappointing how they got the goal. We want to keep developing as a team. We have seen growth in the last three years and we want to continue. How can we come out and give the same energy as in the first half and not let this team get a long portion of the game where they start controlling it? That was the disappointing part and the players will agree with me. Allowing a corner kick goal to come so early in the half changed the mindset a little bit. It gave them energy. Maybe I had to be a little harsher and critical at halftime because that can’t happen at this stage. We’ll work on it. I told them, you’re going to have to learn how to win games. If you’re winning, you have to learn to win it. We found a way, and now we’re advancing to go play in Seattle.”

On Savarino’s goal:
“Exhale. We were happy for him. We can’t let the game go on and on without Savarino and Albert touching the ball. Savarino in the first half was good. He was confident, playing out of tight areas, forced defenders to work hard to recover the ball, and he was rewarded with the great goal. Albert, was super unselfish, senses it and lets the ball run through. Great teamwork right there. The guys running onto the field to celebrate speaks for itself. That’s how we all felt.”

On the early goal:
“We had a couple chances before that, maybe even better looks. When we got the goal, it makes it so that the opponent can’t sit in. If you look at the first half, they were sitting in, waiting for us to make a mistake. We did a good job of maintaining balance and getting in behind and at times moving them from side to side. I thought we were doing very well. When we got the goal, it forces them to open up a little bit more. From there we still created chances, we just didn’t capitalize. That goal was very important to us.”

On the sub patterns:
“Just to add a little bit more pressure on the backline. They started to get too much control through their centerbacks moving it from side to side. We couldn’t quite lock them up on one side, they kept finding Chara and it was forcing our center mids - Kyle and Everton - to run just a little too much. We wanted to add a little bit of pressure on the backline. They added something. It’s not an easy game to go into. People always want to see subs come in, but it’s not easy to find the rhythm of a game like this in cold weather, it’s hard to breathe, the intensity of a playoff game. Those two guys, along with Kelyn, gave us a whole lot.”

On Seattle:
“We usually play well against Seattle. When we play them, we usually split it. They play good soccer and they’re very similar to these guys. They’ll be more aggressive because they’re playing at home. They love their outside backs getting high, but it’s always a good game against those guys. We hope that we can go and represent the club well. We went and did it at LAFC last year, and that’s the mentality. We’re going to Seattle looking to win the game.”

On not having to go the extra time:
“We’re super happy. We actually never talked about overtime. We were wanting to win the game. We didn’t want to go to extra time. They went to overtime and Dallas challenged them. These playoff games are always tight, so that’s what we’re going to go try to do.”

On the quick turnaround:
“The job is for the guys who get paid in the science department. We have to put them in the best shape possible. I want them to celebrate the win, because these wins are hard to come by. At the same time, being professional, getting good rest. Our science department will get together. As soon as I go in there, they will tell me what kind of load I can put on the guys, and everyone who is going to do regen. Then we’re going to have to see what kind of fresh legs that we can put in there. It’s going to be hard to repeat the same starting group. They all came out healthy, that’s the important part. Now we have to see who can give us the best opportunity to win on the road.”

Midfielder Kyle Beckerman
On the performance:
“I thought we played really well in the first half. Credit to Steve Clark. He played pretty good and had some really nice saves. In the second half, a set-piece goal gave them some confidence and momentum but we had to weather it and stay in. It was good to get that final goal.”

On the fans at Rio Tinto Stadium:
“They did great tonight. They were super loud and stayed with it through the snow. We’re used to it here. We’ve had quite a few of these and I think we are undefeated, so bring the snow.”

On the difference tonight:
“I thought we played a really strong first half. Offensively, we were really sharp. If we happened to lose the ball, we pressured really quick. We put a lot into it. We exerted a lot of energy in that first half. It’s not so much that we played bad in the second half. It just so happened that they got a goal off a set piece and they got some confidence and momentum. It showed a lot of character that we stayed in it and we stayed calm, and ultimately got that goal.”

On his celebration:
“I’m just so happy for these guys, for the team, for the fans. The place erupted. There’s no better sound than when the stadium erupts. That’s what these nights, both players and fans, live for. To give them a win and send everyone home happy. They stuck it out through the snow, but when we saw the snow, I’m sure a lot of fans thought, ‘This is a good omen’, because we have a good record in the snow.”

On Rimando’s performance:
“That’s what we learn to expect. He’s done that to himself. He’s been a solid rock for us for so long. He comes up big for us. That’s just Nick Rimando. We needed him tonight, and we’re going to need him next game. Hopefully, we can keep this thing going.”

Goalkeeper Nick Rimando
On the game:
“We felt confident going into this. We played well in the first half. We created some opportunities and unfortunately only got one in. The second half came around, and it wasn’t that we didn’t play well, they just came out with a little bit more energy. Unfortunately, we conceded on a corner, but the guys fought hard in a crazy climate, and we were able to get that win. It feels really good. If you were here in the locker room, you would have seen how happy everyone was.”

On his saves:
“You just try to help your teammates out as much as you can. For me, it was being there for those saves. At 1-1, everybody’s trying to chase the game and get that goal to go ahead, which might have opened us up a little bit. Everybody was up to the task. Everyone in front of me played amazing, and we’re excited to get the win.”

On his reaction to Savarino’s goal:
“So happy. So excited. I did not want to go to overtime in that weather. Savarino obviously put the ball away near post, so I was just really excited that he was able to do that.”

On the home advantage:
“It was huge. We had the fans around us, and they had our backs the whole time. We knew that in the past we’ve had some late goals here, so the confidence stayed the whole time. To have that home game, that we’ve worked so hard for the whole year paid off for us.”

On the next game:
“The guys are already talking about it. We’re confident. We have to be organized and get possession. If we play like we did tonight, we’re going to have opportunities. We just have to put those away and be sound defensively.”

Notes:

  • The Timbers had 12 shots in the second half, the most ever attempted by the Timbers in an MLS Cup Playoffs game.
  • Dairon Asprilla scored the fourth goal of his MLS Cup Playoffs career. Only Diego Valeri has scored more playoff goals (6) for the Timbers in club history (1975-present).
  • Dating back to a 2-2 draw against Sporting Kansas City on Sept. 29., Asprilla has scored a goal in three consecutive matches.
  • Sebastián Blanco delivered his first-ever postseason assist. Blanco had 11 assists in the 2019 regular season.
  • In his last four matches of 2019 (regular season and playoffs), Blanco had two goals and two assists.
  • Jeremy Ebobisse was the only player on the roster to appear in all 39 matches across all competitions for the Timbers in 2019.
  • Goalkeeper Steve Clark's five saves in the match are the second-most by a Timbers goalkeeper in an MLS playoff game.