Giovanni Savarese, Timbers @ Seattle, 9.6.20
(USA Today Sports Images)

Quotes & Notes | Seattle Sounders FC 1, Portland Timbers 2 | Sept. 6, 2020

Portland Timbers Quotes
Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese
General thoughts on the match…
“A spectacular second half from the team. A performance that was very united. A team that had the ideas clear. We had opportunities. We were able to put two [goals] in, in order to get three very important points here in Seattle against our rivals and be able to continue on the path we wanted. The concentration, the fight that the players put in, the quality of the play, how in-tune everybody was with each other in the second half especially. It was a great performance and credit to the players. A well-deserved win.”

On the key differences tonight to get the win over Seattle…
“I think the difference was that we were able to perform the entire match. Not like the three previous matches in which we had good moments, but also some other moments in which we lacked concentration. We allowed teams to be able to find moments to unbalance us. Today what was the key factor was how in-tune everybody was with each other. In the second half, how well we moved the ball from one side to the other. How we took the spaces that we wanted to find in order to create opportunities. The fight all the way through the end from the players. Whoever came into the game, got the job done and they sacrificed for each other. I have to say, that the difference is that it was a complete performance. In the other three matches, we had good moments, but not good enough and we conceded too much. When we defend all together and we’re on the same page, then we’re a difficult team to break down and we showed that today.”

On Sebastián Blanco’s injury…
“Right now it’s on the right leg, around the knee, so we will see tomorrow after we evaluate every possibility. We will understand a lot more exactly what happened. So, it’s unfortunate that he had to come out of the game so early. Hopefully he’s going to be fine. We’ll see after the evaluation exactly what will happen.”

On the team’s response to Blanco’s injury…
“It’s always difficult when you lose a player and you have to make an early substitution in any game. Whatever player it’s going to be. In the case of [Blanco], he’s a very important player for us. Getting injured at that point and not being able to continue, definitely it was difficult. But the team showed once again that once we put our minds into working together, when we stay disciplined and execute the plan that we ask in our style of place, then we can achieve great things. In the first half it was a little more difficult. We had to defend a little bit more. In the second half, we were very good at controlling the match, moving the ball from one side to the other to create opportunities to take advantage of some of the moments that we found space going in behind. Definitely it was an important reaction from the guys because losing such an important player at the beginning of the match is going to be significant.”

On Eryk Williamson’s performance…
“Very good performance like every other player that played today. He had two moments in which he created the first goal. One-two, a great pass from [Diego] Valeri and a great finish from Eryk. That’s what we want. That he finds sometimes those spaces going forward. He did a great job today to find them. Then an unbelievable pass to assist [Felipe] Mora on the second goal. But a lot of the good play that he showed today offensively and a lot of the discipline defensively that he provided definitely gave us a lot of balance and he had a very good match like every other player today that sacrificed for each other to get the result.”

On what Sebastián Blanco means to the Timbers…
“You go back to the MLS is Back Tournament, he was the MVP. On this team, he’s someone that is well-liked by everybody. He’s a competitor. He’s a motivator. He makes a difference on the field and he’s a very important player. We’ll see after the evaluation exactly what will be the situation on the injury, but unfortunately it wasn’t positive that he had to come out of the match early. We’ll see what’s going to happen now because he’s a very important component of our team.”

On the depth of the Timber’s roster in such a packed schedule…
“That’s a very important question because we achieved what we achieved today thanks to the group that played on Wednesday. That group that played on Wednesday came into the match against the [LA Galaxy], performed well. Unfortunately, there were moments in which the Galaxy found the goals that they found. But thanks to those players and the depth that we have, we can compete with anybody with any group that we put on the field and then be able to rest another group to be able to achieve what we achieved today here. There wouldn’t be the same fresh legs from our players today if we didn’t do what we did on Wednesday. Playing three matches consecutive on turf would have been a very difficult situation to be able to overcome. By us making some substitutions on Wednesday and almost getting the job done as well at home, allowed us to be able to have fresh legs today and be able to perform the way we did. Nevertheless, we also have to see [Larrys] Mabiala, how he’s feeling. [Blanco] too. We’ll evaluate those two players, but it was very important to do what we did on Wednesday.”

On adjustments he made at halftime…
“In the second half, we wanted to make sure that we played the ball quicker, simpler, from one side to the other. In the first half, we were trying to go direct in some moments, and it became difficult. But once we found diagonal balls to players that were central and then switch it to the other side, then that created a lot of space for us to be able to keep the ball a little bit more. Then the patience to get in good areas, know when to go forward and when to keep it, it was very important. That’s why we did much better in the second half. Our possession was very productive in the second half. We found opportunities. We were able to move the ball to create chances. That was very good. Nevertheless, I think the possession that Seattle had today, didn’t create too many dangerous moments for us and I think that was important for the way we defended.”

On Felipe Mora’s performance…
“We have seen his quality in preseason when we started in Costa Rica. He started two games and then he got a little injured at the beginning of [the MLS is Back Tournament]. He got a little bit set back. He worked in order to be able to get healthy again and he’s showing the quality that he has every time that he steps on the field. He’s a player that is dangerous, clever, has good ideas, good movement, can pressure a little bit higher. But it’s good to have a [Jeremy Ebobisse], because [Ebobisse] today, the work that he did was incredible on the side. As a winger, he becomes a second striker coming from a wide area. Then [Jarosław Niezgoda] also had a great game. Unfortunately he had one or two opportunities that he was unlucky not to score, but he put himself in very good moments in situations that he created opportunities and gave us also good mobility in the moments that we needed him to find spaces. It’s a good problem for me to have. It’s always good to have these types of strikers that can produce and Mora was very important today, coming into the game and getting the job done was huge for us.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Eryk Williamson
On what today’s performance means for him and the club... 

“It’s massive, my first goal. Guys have been joking about when is my time to score and it’s a big game against Seattle, scoring my first goal means a lot and I give thanks to all the guys around me and it’s the stuff we do in training that finally paid off in the game. I think it’s a massive result and something to build on moving forward.”

On his thoughts during the match’s opening goal…
“There was actually a couple guys I saw and it’s something that we try to do in training whenever we can. It’s that kind of play where you hope the situation comes about in the game and there’s a couple times where I fell or I take a bad touch to ultimately mess up that play, but I think it’s something that finally came off and it felt good. As soon as it went in the net, I just knew it was my first goal and a big moment for me. Ultimately a good start to the game.”

On what was different tonight from the previous three matches…
“I think a huge focus for us was defending. Being at home when you’re on the front foot, I think we took our eye off of it and it was something we did well in Orlando. And coming here to Seattle, it’s something we knew we needed to get, a result. We’ve dropped points at home and ultimately guys came out and did exactly what was asked for. I think they had two to three shots on target and that’s something that we want, especially playing away from home is teams aren’t getting good chances, then ultimately we have control of the game.”

On the difference between today’s match and their previous result against Seattle…
“It’s as you said, one-one at halftime and up until the 83rd minute, I think we lost focus. They scored a goal that ultimately changed the game and I think this time we had to make sure the same thing didn’t happen. We had to make sure that we got the next goal and we knew deep down whoever had the next goal was ultimately going to win the game and getting late in the moment we have to get back to closing games and finishing games and it’s good that we had a really good defensive performance. I think it’s a lot to build on but it’s definitely good to get three points.”

On the game slowing down for him and being able to bring his character to every match…
“That’s something that I want to do, be able to control the tempo and the pace of the game and I think in Orlando, there were times where we were able to and it’s something that me and [Diego] Chara have talked about and something we want to work on. I think getting more comfortable, getting more reps almost with the group, we’re ultimately getting more confident with each other and it’s something that… the goals coming from us, us controlling the tempo of the game, I think that’s when you get back to is being on the front foot, being the ones who are dictating the tempo of the game.”

Portland Timbers forward Felipe Mora
(through a translator)
General thoughts on the match…

“I’m very happy, this is actually what I’m working toward during the week and it’s really good to know that it’s paying off so I’m very, very happy.”

On what has worked for him over the last three matches and his recent form…
“Like I said before, the work that I’m doing throughout the week is paying off and I think technically, I’m allowing myself to have a little more time inside the box, so that gives me certain security to score. Also, my teammates have helped me a lot. If it wasn’t for their passes, then it would be very hard for me to be able to put myself in a good position. So, I certainly hope to continue this trend and I hope to continue scoring many more goals for the Timbers.”

On if it was important for him to be productive during these past few games following his recent injury...
“Yes, absolutely. At the beginning of the season, I felt really good. Unfortunately, I had this injury and it was very bad timing for me of course because I thought I was doing things right and I was training to my very best. Now, I’m also training to my very best and I think I feel a lot more prepared now and I want to continue like this because like I said before, I want to continue scoring goals.”

On if he feels more comfortable playing through the middle or on the wing…
“I felt more comfortable playing as a number nine, that’s what I do best. But if I have to play on the right-hand side, that’s fine with me. I’m totally welcoming that too, as long as I can help my team.”

Notes

  • The Timbers are unbeaten in their last four road matches against Seattle, posting a record of 3-0-1.
  • Portland has won three consecutive regular-season road matches against Sounders FC. It marks the first time Portland has won three consecutive road games against Seattle in the club’s MLS era.
  • Felipe Mora tallied a goal for a third consecutive match.
  • Mora is the first Timbers player to score in three MLS regular-season matches in less than ten days in club history.
  • Mora is the second Portland player to score in three straight matches this season, joining Jeremy Ebobisse.
  • Eryk Williamson scored his first career goal MLS goal. He is the seventh player to score a goal for Portland in regular-season play this season.
  • Williamson is the 60th different player to score a goal for Portland in an MLS match.
  • With a goal and an assist, Williamson is the 21st player to record a goal and an assist in the same MLS game.
  • Williamson is the first Timbers player to score his first goal for the club in a league match against Seattle since Shaun Higgins on July 8, 2005.
  • Williamson registered his second assist of the season. He is one of three players (Sebastián Blanco, Diego Valeri) this season to record multiple assists.
  • Valeri recorded his ninth career assist in 20 regular-season matches against Sounders FC. His assist in the match was his third of the season.
  • Valeri’s nine assists against Seattle are tied for the most assists by a Timbers player against a single opponent (Valeri, Vancouver Whitecaps FC).
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