Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese

Opening thoughts on the match…

“We said it many times, that this game was very important. It’s Seattle. We know that this derby, this type of match — the Clasico — however you want to call it, the rivalry is there. There was a great energy today in the stadium. There was a very good energy. And we felt it. We felt the energy of our fans. We knew it was going to be tough. Playing Seattle is always difficult. Brian [Schmetzer] always does a great job to have their team ready to play. We have to come with a lot of intensity, energy and today I thought we were very pragmatic. A phenomenal first half. We needed to do just a few things better attacking-wise. We defended very well in the second half, with everything they threw at us. Very content with the performance today. For us it was huge for so many ways. Because of the points, because of winning and changing the narrative of losing at home against Seattle. I personally wanted to win [the Cascadia Cup] and the players wanted to win that cup. So I’m very content. Anything that we can win, we want to win. A very special night, but we can enjoy it a little bit, but then we have to understand this is not our final goal because the goal is to qualify [for the playoffs] first and we still have to put more work in for the next few games in order to put ourselves in a better situation for the playoffs.”

On the intensity the Timbers brought to the game tonight…

“The guys entered the match with that intensity, that energy that I saw in practice this week. When you see the team in practice putting in the intensity — the work — you feel a lot better because you predict a little bit that it’s going to be a good game. The guys from the beginning did that. Even though [Seattle] scored that goal in a moment that we felt strong — that we were doing very well — we always felt that as long as did what we needed to do, we could win this game. That was very important. I think the guys continued to fight through it, did the things that we worked on, were very disciplined and credit to everybody. The guys that came in gave us what we needed in those particular moments and then we had to make adjustments. It was a very tactical game and I thought it was a very, very good game. Even for people to watch.”

On the his adjustments to the lineup…

“When you at the beginning think about a lineup and how you’re going to go about the lineup, you prepare very well. You always think about what happened if this doesn’t work or that doesn’t work. How am I going to change? I thought that today, the guys made everything work. [Dairon] Asprilla with the work ethic on top, his movements. [Sebastián Blanco] finding so many spaces in areas that he became dangerous. The discipline of [Santiago Moreno] on the right side to make sure that he attacked and was a threat going forward, but also he covered the space in behind and he had quality for us to come out playing from the back with Claudio [Bravo] and [Moreno]. The back three were strong in matching up everything that we had to manage with those long balls. So overall I thought that what we put in place, the guys executed and as a coach, you always want to see that.”

On Eryk Williamson’s performance…

“I spoke to him in the locker room. I said ‘that’s what we needed from you.’ Actually at the beginning I said I watched a couple matches, previous matches we played and especially that match where he got injured and I just told him ‘just finish the game because you started really well and now you can finish the same way.’ He did that job. Even in a moment where he looked a little tired toward the end, he still managed the game well and [Cristhian Paredes] came in to help and reinforce the midfield. So I think it was a very, very good, collected performance today to get the win.”

On maintaining momentum into the remaining games of the season…

“I can say many things to the players. They need to want it themselves. I saw a team today that really wants to do things well, that really wants to move forward and as long as the guys during the week continue to practice the way we did this past week, we will be prepared. We have a lot of difficult matches coming in front of us. We need to be ready. Austin, we saw today, they had a very good result. It’s going to be a difficult game. We need to prepare very well and this is the time for us to make sure that everyone is as professional as they can be if we want to make a run again. Hopefully first, make the playoffs. That’s the first goal. One match at a time. Whoever’s going to step on the field — because now we need to understand the days are less for Wednesday — so we’ll see who’s fresh, who’s feeling 100% to play and we’ll make our selection. I have no doubt the guys are going to be ready to play.”

On winning the Cascadia Cup…

“I’m so proud of them. When they achieve things like they did today, it’s amazing. I have joy seeing them celebrate. I have joy seeing them happy together and when you see a performance where they put a lot of big fight and a lot of work into it because we have to say Seattle is always, always competitive. I said it before, Brian always does a great job to make it difficult. But it’s a great feeling to see them celebrate. For me, I feel very happy to be outside watching them celebrating and enjoying tonight. But now, it has to be a very short celebration — very quick. We already got the cup. Now we have to make sure we’re ready for practice, ready to be able to regen, being disciplined, everybody just doing the best they can to be ready for next Wednesday.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastián Blanco

Thoughts on winning against Seattle…

“[We understood] the importance of this game for people, for our fans, and we played this game as a final. So I’m very proud of my teammates, everybody worked very hard today. We deserve this win, a lot.”

On pointing to the team’s crest after scoring his goal today…

“It means the love for this club, for this team, and it’s a special game, of course, for me. Anytime I can score in this game it feels special.”

On the importance of the win…

“Very important. We knew that today if we don’t win this game, we are in big trouble. We were not in the best position, we have a very difficult game looking forward, but if we play like we played today, with the same energy, we can beat any team.”

On what the team has to do to continue the momentum…

“It’s a league. It’s football. 11v11. We’ve got the same legs. I think we have big talent, I said before. Austin is a very good team but we are a good team also. When we play like we play today, with the same energy and focus, we can beat them, of course. We have to maintain the focus in the game.”

On what it means for the club to win the Cascadia Cup…

“It’s very important. I’ve been here for six years, so I understand. What it means for the people, for the fans, it’s very important. It was a long time that we didn’t beat Seattle at home. I think we beat them two times in the year. Of course this doesn’t save the year, but I feel very good.”

On his reaction after Seattle scored their goal…

“I’m a very emotional guy, you know. My reaction was because the ref was in the middle of the play and in good position for us, and after a foul for us, he said no, no foul for them. This game, of course, it’s more emotional than the other [games]. This is also why [there are] too many yellow cards in the game.”

On not conceding a late goal and hanging on for the win…

“Sometimes it’s difficult. The other team knows how to play. I think we managed them very well today. Also, I think only in the last ten minutes they did something, because before, they shot only one time. If we are more effective in the counterattack and after the second goal, we can beat them for more goals.”

Portland Timbers forward Dairon Asprilla

Thoughts on winning against Seattle…

“I’m excited. It’s Seattle. When we play Seattle, every time it’s a fight for us. The three points today are important for the next game.”

On if there was extra motivation for him playing against Seattle…

“Yes. It’s a big game for us. When I play against Seattle, the motivation is more for me. But today, the team needed three points. It’s an important game for the [standings]. It’s a good time for the Timbers now.”

On his emotions after he scored the penalty kick in front of the Timbers Army…

“The fans are amazing. Every time the people here, every time we play Seattle, the fans, they are the motivation for this team.”

On celebrating with the fans after winning the Cascadia Cup…

“The patience and love for us is good for the team. It’s a family. Everything is a family.”

On continuing momentum for the next games…

“Working. Working, and staying together, and united and confident.”