Rauwshan McKenzie, Timbers vs. Olimpia, 9.16.14

Portland Timbers Quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter

On how this win puts the team in a favorable position in CCL:
“I think this puts us in a really good spot. I think we have some work to do, obviously. Two games to go. We knew this was big. Three points, first and foremost, was crucial, but we give ourselves even a little bit of a margin on goal differential, which is always a positive. I thought we played very well, honestly, the entire match on both sides of the ball. Obviously made a few mistakes that cost us, the set piece was a moment and obviously the second goal, but really liked our overall approach. I thought we deserved a win. We scored four great goals, managed the game really well, which is always important in these types of matches. I thought our guys tactically and mentally managed the game very well. I’m really pleased with the overall result and performance.”


On how facing these two teams already helps prepare for the next two games:
“A little bit. They had some key guys that didn’t play who we thought would play. So they might go back to some of those guys. The key things I’ve learned in these types of games, and I’ve experienced it with youth national teams and the U-23 National Team, is you really have to do the best you can to prepare your team for what you might see, but you have ready on the fly to make adjustments. Personnel, you don’t always know who is going to play until you see the start sheet. You don’t always know the system they’re going to play. You have to pick up tendencies, nuances – inside the lines. I thought we did really well with that over the course of the game because we don’t have the luxury of knowing these players, knowing this team over the course of a season or years like we do with the MLS players and teams. I thought our guys were very mature in how they managed the game.”

On where success in the CCL ranks in terms of importance:
“It’s really important. It’s an honor. There are teams that have never been in the CONCACAF Champions League. There are a lot of players that have never played in these games. It’s a privilege to earn the right to be here. We’ve taken it very seriously. People might think we rotated the group and played a second group, but that’s not the case. The way I see it we don’t have a first or second group. We have one group, one team. We don’t look at it that way, first and second team, it’s one team. We have a deep squad. I didn’t know until my media guy told me the 11 guys who started had 165 combined MLS appearances this season. Every single one of the players we started this game has started a game this season. The majority of them have started many games this season. As a club, it’s where you want to be in terms of your depth because you have to be able to manage multiple competitions. Your reward for good work is more work with more games and more competitions. To manage, it’s kind of a double-edged sword you get rewarded by getting these games and experiences which helps your club grow and you get better through it. It also can also hurt you if you don’t have a deep squad to be able to manage these games. If we didn’t have a deep squad we’d have to play the same guys and then now we’d be in trouble playing Vancouver on Saturday. Having the depth that we have allows us to get a result today and now we have some fresh bodies, some fresh options to use.”


On scouting C.D. Olimpia compared to Alpha United:
“We had a lot more info on them. The staff did a great job on the scouting report and video clips. Pablo Moreira, Sean McAuley, Cameron Knowles and Mike Toshack did really a good job of that, presenting it to me and then we presented it to the team. We were ahead of that. We’ve been preparing for this. We had a lot of game film from their league; they played six games in the league and then their two games against Alpha. We had a good amount of intel to be able to present a comprehensive plan. There were some changes. Some different guys than we thought and that’s where the players deserve all the credit for playing the game and making those [in-game] decisions…for figuring it out when the whistle blew and reading the game, managing it the right way to get a result.”


On what it looks like with Alpha United coming up and more league games in between:
“Obviously, we will focus on Vancouver, but then next Tuesday is going to come quick, just like this game came quick. So I think the staff, my coaching staff, my assistants did a really good job in preparing two groups, really. We were preparing all last week for the Saturday game and the Tuesday game. We knew we had little to no preparation after the weekend. So we prepared pretty much all week to go with this lineup. I think that really helped and it showed. But we can’t take Alpha for granted, even though we beat them the first game 4-1 and Olimpia beat them 6-0. We can’t think that’s going to be a cake walk. We have to get three points first and foremost. We can’t be thinking about goal differential. Sometimes you start thinking that way. You think the game’s done and you’ve won before the game has started and that’s not the case. We are going to approach the game very seriously. From there if we can build a margin with the goal differential then great, but what you don’t want to do is push for goals and get stretched out and reckless and give up goals. We are in a good spot. We need to be really tactically mature, mentally mature in how we manage these final two games and that’s a big part of moving on in tournament football.”

Portland Timbers forward Maximiliano Urruti (translated from Spanish)
On his two goals:
“They were two different situations. The first one was a situation where I was able to appear and get an easier goal and the second one was a one-on-one with the goalkeeper and I was able to finish that one, too. Two goals in two different situations.”


On the importance of this win for the team progressing in this tournament:
“Very important. We got three points and we know we still have two games to play, but these three points were very important to us in terms of moving forward towards this championship, this cup, which is very important to us.”


On his ability to produce both starting and coming off the bench:
“Well the truth is that players always want to play, but we know the coach always selects 11 players. So no matter whether you’re starting or coming off the bench, you always have to know how to contribute, want to play and do your best.”


On pairing at forward with Gastón Fernández in this match:
“We understand each other very well and also helps a lot in terms of relieving pressure. It’s a good partnership and that’s very important on the field.”


Portland Timbers forward Gastón Fernández (translated from Spanish)
On getting the win at home against an unfamiliar opponent:
“It felt good for the team, especially in this competition. We weren’t accustomed to playing this type of game. This is our first game at home in the CONCACAF Champions League. It was a positive experience for us to play this game in the Champions League and come away with the win this evening.”


On the team’s strategy to impose their style on Olimpia:
“Before the game, Caleb [Porter] showed us the different videos of the different players from Olimpia and their different movements. We were really prepared for them specifically, to deal with those players. Apart from the two goals they were able to score, I think we did very well and we were able to control the game overall and win.”


Portland Timbers defender Michael Harrington
On adjustments that had to be made in the match:
“I don’t think there was too much adjusting. Obviously they’re players we haven’t seen. It’s not an MLS game. You need to take a look and size guys up. I think we were more just focused on our game, imposing our game on them and making them worry about us than the other way around.”

Club Deportivo Olimpia Quotes

C.D. Olimpia head coach Hѐctor Vargas (translated from Spanish)
Overall thoughts on the game:
“It was a very good game for us. We were pleased generally. We know that we played with a very young team. It was an interesting game, overall. We think the result leaves the series open, a lot of possibilities for us. We know Portland played well here, but we do know one thing that in Honduras the weather will be very different and that it could possibly be a different type of match.”


On his familiarity with the Timbers before tonight:
“Yes, we followed the team, we know them well. We watched the previous game against San Jose. For that reason it was strange for us that Valeri didn’t play. Also, that they changed the two center backs – the English center back [Liam Ridgewell] and [Pa Modou] Kah, who we expected to see. We studied them closely and for that reason, the pressure up top in the first half which resulted well in two goals.


On the difference in the environment in the home leg for C.D. Olimpia:
“It’s a question of not only climate, but having the home stadium here in Portland. Currently there have been [65] consecutive sellouts. It’s one of the team’s that’s a revelation worldwide along with Borussia Dortmund. We will see how things change in Honduras with the fans of Olimpia. Things will be different in front of a hostile crowd and we will see how Portland reacts to that.”


On what it was like playing in Portland and the stadium:
“We’ve never been here; we’ve never been to Portland. We’ve been to other areas of the United States, Houston and New Orleans, but never to this area. It’s a good climate. It’s interesting to play in. In my case, I’m Argentine and it’s very similar to climate that we are used to. It’s a good environment. It’s a good place to play.”


On how they were able to equalize twice in the first half:
“We had in mind pressuring the opponent on top. We watched the San Jose game and we saw that pressuring up top generated chances for San Jose and also that there were opportunities to win balls in the air. The first goal we ended up with a header and the second goal was a chance also with the ball in the air. Even though in the end it was a goalkeeping error, that’s what ended up causing the second goal. That was what was behind our success in the first half.”


On if he was surprised with the Timbers lineup:
“It seems that it was an opportunity to take advantage of the fact that Portland didn’t go with all their starters, especially changing their two center backs. But we did score two goals and that’s a big advantage going back to Honduras. They’ve left us alive in this competition and it will be interesting to see because now they go to Honduras and play the most important team in Honduras. A team that’s won 28 titles, a team that’s been Central American champions and we know going back to Honduras we still have an opportunity. There will be no third match here. That’s the decisive match when we return to Honduras against Portland.”


Notes:

  • Tuesday’s match marked Portland’s first-ever home CONCACAF Champions League game at Providence Park.
  • Forward Maximiliano Urruti tallied his second and third CONCACAF Champions League goals for the Timbers on Tuesday with a brace. Urruti has registered a goal in consecutive CCL games and leads the team with 12 goals in all competitions.
  • Urruti’s opening goal was the first CCL goal Olimpia conceded in 392 consecutive minutes, dating back to Aug. 27, 2013, against Sporting Kansas City.
  • Portland’s starting lineup on Tuesday combined for 165 regular-season appearances (124 starts) for an average of 15 games played for each player. The lineup also has combined to score 23 of Portland’s 49 regular-season goals in MLS play.
  • Defender Rauwshan McKenzie tallied his first career goal, nodding a header inside the far left post in the 72nd minute.
  • Defenders Michael Harrington and Norberto Paparatto, midfielder/forward Darlington Nagbe and forward Gastón Fernández each made their CONCACAF Champions League debuts on Tuesday night.
  • Tuesday’s match marked the first-ever time a team from Honduras has played in an official competitive match at Providence Park.
  • Midfielder Will Johnson notched his fourth career goal in CONCACAF Champions League play. Johnson made his 17th career CCL appearance on Tuesday and his first as a member of the Timbers.
  • Portland has registered four goals in consecutive CCL matches, conceding only three for a plus-5 goal differential.
  • With the win, Portland moved into first place in Group 5 with a game in hand on Olimpia.
  • Portland has scored two or more goals in six straight games in all competitions.
  • Dating back to Aug. 9, the Timbers are 4-1-3 in their last eight games in all competitions.
  • Only two players have scored more goals (4) in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League tournament than forward Maximiliano Urruti (3).