Eryk Williamson, Timbers vs. Seattle, 9.23.20
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 1, Seattle Sounders FC 0 | Sept. 23, 2020

Portland Timbers Quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese
General thoughts on the match…
“Great performance today. The team was solid defensively. We didn’t allow too many opportunities in the second half. We closed all the spaces. I think the first half was a little bit more open. Both teams had their chances. Overall, I think a great performance defensively today from the guys. I think one thing that we can be a little bit better is some moments in which we could have kept the ball a little bit more in the second half. Find a little more space and create a little more danger in some moments, but overall, the commitment of the group to make sure that we got a strong win today was there and it was outstanding. Very important three points for us against a good team.”

On what the Timbers did defensively to keep a clean sheet…
“The most important thing was to keep the ball away from the dangerous passes from the areas in which [Seattle] can connect and create opportunities. Influence the ball to where we want them to play it and make sure that we don’t allow them to find too much space. Then shorten their mobility in trying to find the space in behind. They looked a lot today to play the ball in behind, but we did a great job to close those spaces, especially in the second half. We corrected a couple things at halftime to make sure that those spaces were not as open as they were in the first half. Nevertheless, the team defended very well the entire match. We created opportunities. We scored a great goal in a perfect moment. Well-deserved win for the amount of work the guys put in.”

On making Providence Park a fortress against opposing teams…
“Definitely. We have to go game-by-game. We cannot think ahead or in the future. We have to make sure that we put performances, each game, being humble, working hard and just have commitment through the entire team. Today we showed it. We said it, as you mentioned, that we wanted to make this a fortress again. That teams that come here have a difficult time, not only for the way we want to play, but especially, for them to find goals. Today the guys did a fantastic job. We need to make sure that we’re a little bit better. In the second half, we were not as good with the ball. Yes, we did have some moments where we created dangerous moments, but we can control a little bit more of the ball in the second half. The commitment in defending, the way we did today, was outstanding. We didn’t give too many spaces, especially in the second half for Seattle to create dangerous moments.”

On what he’s most proud of for the team in such a difficult year…
“It’s what I tell the players all the time. When they commit to work together and execute the plan, and whoever steps on the field does the job that we ask them to do, then this team can do amazing things. We started, since we played San Jose, the first match, then we got a great victory after and today, very important for us to continue this way. But there’s more work to be done, but as I said, when the team plays as a unit and sacrifices for each other, it is the results that are going to be more like this today than anything else.”

On Pablo Bonilla’s performance…
“The important part of this match was to make sure that we control where we wanted the ball to be played. In the first half [Seattle] were able to find some spaces. I don’t remember too many opportunities, but they were able find and penetrate some moments to get closer to a goal. We also were a little more open, pressed a little bit higher and created opportunities as well. Maybe some opportunities in which we could have taken a little bit more advantage. In the second half, we just didn’t allow them to be dangerous. Make sure that we closed all the spaces where they moved the ball and when we were able to repossess the ball, then we were very direct and tried to create important moments. As I said before, we could have kept a little bit more of the ball in the second half, but nevertheless the performance was outstanding for a group that makes sure they controlled the match in the way we did.”

On Yimmi Chara’s performance…
“It’s extremely difficult to be able to endure in these matches because they come so close together. You don’t have too much time to be able to work in some areas sometimes. All you think is ‘how can we recover the players?’ But in those moments, you see players like Yimmi that starting to get stronger, more confident. We see now more of what he’s capable of doing. So today was another very good performance. Against San Jose played very well. We just have to make sure that he continues to develop and grow into his own in the way he’s been doing so far. We’re very content, but we know he has a lot more to be able to show and once he starts getting a little bit fitter and enduring a little bit more, then we’ll see even more things from him.”

On if the threat from Yimmi Chara will cause more teams to fear Portland’s counter attack…
“We have different types of players in that position and definitely what you mentioned about Yimmi is important. He’s a player that can definitely change speed in transition in a second and beat you in the space. If a player is going to stay [back] a little bit more, it depends on their coaches and what they want on the field, but there’s no doubt that Yimmi will create problems in that way because he’s extremely fast, he’s clever in his timing when he has to make the run. The run that he made for the goal was phenomenal diagonal run, but also a great pass from [Jeremy Ebobisse] to find him in the right space. Outstanding goal and a player that is definitely building up in confidence.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Yimmi Chara
(through a translator)
On his recent form and goal-scoring streak...
“I think work is the keyword here. The way I’ve been prepared myself and the way I’ve accommodated myself to the team has been vital to everything that you’re seeing right now. The result is what you see, actually, match after match and I think you have to be prepared mentally to be ready to move on with the team.”

On how he’s felt recently after scoring goals in his last three appearances…
“I think it’s very important to grow and to also give as much as you can. And that’s exactly what this team has. This is also what the team needs in this kind of game. Everybody’s working hard, everybody’s mentalized and everybody has to defend. If you have to defend, you go and defend. If you need to attack, then you go and attack. I think we’re doing a good job outside of the field and everything’s been reflecting now in what we do inside of the field. I think the scores have been on our side lately and I think this team has a lot of experience and that’s because it has great players with a lot of experience as well and that’s something that is reflected inside and outside of the field.”

On being on the winning side of a Portland/Seattle rivalry match…
“I’m very happy because this is the way you [want to] leave a Clasico. I’ve said this before, and my brother [Diego Chara], he transmitted this for a long, long time, and even before I was here, he actually used to talk to me about this type of match. And now, that I’m here, it’s very important for me because this is the kind of match that makes you. You want to score in this type of match. This is one of the reasons why they brought me here. So it’s always going to be important for me to score in this type of match and to win this kind of match. I think the team is mentalized in the most positive way to obtain a victory. That’s what we wanted to do today and that’s exactly what we achieved.”

Portland Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark
On what the team did to keep a clean sheet tonight...
“I think that you look at the game tonight...but I think we played a total game, and that’s the key here. We’ve been this good for parts of games, but tonight we put it all together. So I think that you saw a total team performance and you do that for 96 minutes, you know we have a very good shot of coming out with three points.”

On the difficulties over the past week with the recent fires in the Pacific Northwest...
“We want to give credit to the players for staying focused, it’s been a difficult… with the smoke and the travel last week with three games in a week on the road. And also, I want to credit Gio [Giovanni Savarese] and the coaches, they’ve been fantastic, pushed the right buttons and keep us mentally fresh and keep us involved. I think it’s a great job from them. This last week was difficult coming off the smoke and the road so I want to give the credit to all of us but certainly the coaches.

On Pablo Bonilla's performance tonight...
“Pablo has stepped in and done really well. For thinking about a guy who made his debut in Orlando and the way he’s fit into our team has been good. I think we have good options at right back with Chris [Duvall] and Pablo and credit to him for stepping into the MLS, it’s a difficult league to come to and he’s done well.”

On if being tied atop the Western Conference means anything to him right now...
“Not really. I mean it’s nice to be there. We want to be there than the other end of the table but there’s a long way to go. We have our schedule now, we can see the end and again, we need to be mindful and one game at a time and we need another performance like this on Sunday.”

Notes

  • The match was the 110th meeting all-time between Seattle and Portland.
  • Yimmi Chara scored his third regular-season goal for the Timbers, tallying a goal in a third consecutive match.
  • Yimmi Chara is the third Timbers player to score in three consecutive matches in the 2020 regular season, joining Jeremy Ebobisse and Felipe Mora.
  • The goal marked Yimmi Chara’s first at Providence Park.
  • Jeremy Ebobisse notched his second assist of the 2020 regular season and his third in all competitions this year.
  • Steve Clark delivered a season-high six saves for his second shutout of the 2020 season.
  • Clark now has 10 career shutouts for Portland, becoming the 10th goalkeeper in all eras of the Timbers with 10 or more clean sheets.
  • In the 6,043 matches in MLS history, the match was the first in league history to feature two sets of brothers playing against each other. Yimmi and Diego Chara both started for the Timbers while for Seattle, Cristian Roldan started and his brother Alex Roldan appeared as a substitute.
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