Timbers huddle, Timbers vs. Caps, 11.1.20

Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese
General thoughts on the match…
“Difficult match. We knew it was going to be tough. We knew that Vancouver was going to come with everything that they had. It took a lot of sacrifice and hard work to make sure that we found these three points. I thought that we put up a good fight. We sacrificed ourselves to make sure that we prevented them from finding good spaces. Then we tried a couple of times, I think created a few opportunities, but at the end Yimmi [Chara] was able to give us a very important goal to then get these three points that were very important for us. Unfortunately the situation with [Jarosław Niezgoda] otherwise it would have been a perfect day.”


On being on top of the Western Conference table…
“The most important thing is that we got the three points today. That we put in a good performance. That we sacrificed in the moments we needed to defend and did very well when we had to go forward. So, a good match to earn three points and now it’s for us to be on top of the table, but we know we still have two more games. We have to stay focused on the important part of these two matches that are going to be difficult. Manage the group in the best possible way to try to get the points that we need. It feels good to have won today because of the type of performance the guys were able to put in. I’m extremely proud of them for the work that they put in. The guys that came in the second half, they also came in to make sure that they worked to get this very good result for us.”


On Jarosław Niezgoda’s condition…
“Not good. We’ll see. We’ll find out a little bit more later, but as of now it’s not very positive. We’ll see.”


On securing the win after several draws…
“It was important for us to make sure that we finished strong. That’s one thing that I thought today was very good because, as you mentioned, the games against LAFC and Seattle unfortunately we gave up points that we felt that we had them and we earned them. But today, we made sure that we protected a 1-0, that we protected the result, that we protected the three points and the guys did a fantastic job to play a full match and a very, very mature performance again from everyone that stepped on the field and the guys that were ready also on the bench to give everything for the team.”


On Jorge Villafaña’s attacking contributions…
“We were expecting to find space inside the [Vancouver] fullbacks and try to play from there to be able to then find the spaces to create dangerous moments. But Vancouver did a good job to close those spaces and then the spaces that were open were more wide areas, the fullbacks getting a little bit higher. At that particular point, [Jorge Villafaña] found himself in a perfect situation. Winning the ball in the space and I think the most important part was his decision making to make sure that he didn’t just put a cross in. We mentioned the fact that we wanted to put more crosses in that were looking toward the top of the box and that was a perfect cross and the finish from Yimmi was fantastic. A high-level finish and a very important goal for us.”


On the importance of patience for the Timbers…
“[Vancouver] do a good job to close spaces, to have a block together, to move from one side to the other side and not allow you to find too many spaces. That’s why it was very important for us to make sure that we move the ball, that we found those spaces by moving the ball from one side to the other. In the first half, it was a little bit difficult to find a penetrating ball vertical. We played more side to side, but then in the second half we were able to be a little more direct through the lines and we created a little bit more problems also for them. They tried to go a little bit higher and pressure a little bit more and we found a little more space. I think scoring the goal was very important for us because that pushed them to now try to get a little bit higher and try to get in the game. That allowed us to be able to create and find more spaces and find vertical balls that we didn’t find in the first half.”


On Diego Valeri’s condition…
“Valeri’s fine. All good. Was just a moment that he went down, but thank God he’s doing well. Unfortunately for [Jarosław Niezgoda] it’s just the opposite.”


On the mood within the locker room after winning a game and losing a player to injury…
“I’m extremely proud of the players. I’m extremely proud of what we achieved today. I’m proud of the fact that we’ve been competitive and we stay humble and everybody has contributed to be able to be where we are right now, but you don’t want any of your players to go through a difficult moment. We’ve had so many moments like that this year and it’s very unfortunate. We feel for the player and so it makes it a little bit difficult to enjoy as much as you can this moment. Even though the sacrifice of the players was very important and, as I said, I’m so proud of them. This feeling of reward for what we got from the match, but nevertheless it’s difficult to feel happy when you know that one of your players went through a difficult moment right now and we’ll know more later. But as of now, it doesn’t look very good.”


Portland Timbers defender Jorge Villafaña
On his assist tonight and the assessment of an increased attacking role with the team…
“I think the style of play, the way Yimmi [Chara] plays as well, having Yimmi in front… he’s a player that when he goes out wide I go in the middle, when he goes in the middle I’ll go out wide and I think we complement each other really well and we’re finding that chemistry and you can see it on the pitch. And having more freedom for me to attack as well, which I like to do, it’s paying off.”


On whether he knew Yimmi Chara would be open when he initially made the pass leading to the assist…
“I think when he played me the ball, I remember in the first half when [Diego] Valeri played me the ball and I pulled the ball back. I see all the players and defenders from Vancouver, they were going to wait for the ball in the first post, even the goalkeeper, so my thought was to play it back again. So when I play back I take a glance and I don’t see anyone in front so I played it back and Yimmi was there to put it back in the net.”


On the impact of Jaroslaw Niezgoda’s injury…
“Unfortunately, we don’t know what the situation is yet with Jaro [Jaroslaw Niezgoda]. I hope it’s nothing bad, but you never want to see a teammate go down like that right. It’s a really important player for us. So far, he’s been really important for us and I hope it’s good news. But we have players that can do the job as well. Any player that is going to get called in and be up top is going to perform and they’ve been performing, every player that has been given the opportunity to start, even so, the players that have come off the bench have performed. So I think we have enough players to cover the spot up top.”


On achieving high levels of execution such as in the buildup to the match’s only goal…
“Actually I think I was talking right now in the locker room. If I remember, I think it was a play where we played the ball a couple of times on one side, we rotate to the other until we find the space and we do the two v one on the side and finish with the goal. I think it was a great play and it talks about the confidence the team has. I think we played a really good game against a team that was playing for everything tonight. We knew that they were going to play tonight with everything they had to have an opportunity to stay fighting for a place for the playoff and we managed to get the result and cover our goal and maintain the result.”


Portland Timbers midfielder Yimmi Chara
(through a translator)
On what he saw during the buildup leading to his goal tonight…
“Thank you to my team. They did a really good job in the right side of the field and [Felipe] Mora centered and then they passed it to me and I passed it back to [Jorge] Villafaña and then I run, and then he passed it back and thank God it went to the back to the net.”


On how been able to integrate well with the team following his injury earlier this season...
“I was a little unconfident because of the injury I had and then I had another injury after the tournament in Orlando. But then, little by little, I started playing and started doing my best with the minutes I had on the field and then my team has helped me with that. So I’ve been able to rebuild my confidence in the field.”


On the upcoming game against the Colorado Rapids this Wednesday…
“The game on Wednesday is going to be a hard game. They are playing very vwell. The comeback has been difficult, but we have been doing better each time and we need to keep fighting so we can get into those first positions.”



Notes

  • Portland has scored 45 goals this season, which is the most of any MLS club.
  • Jorge Villafaña made his 100th regular-season appearance with the Timbers. He is the ninth player to appear in 100 MLS regular-season matches for the club. 
  • Villafaña tallied his fifth assist of the season. He is the sixth player to record at least five assists for Portland in 2020.
  • Villafaña’s five assists lead all MLS defenders this season and ties his career high for assists set in 2015 and 2019.
  • Villafaña has recorded 18 assists in his career with the Timbers, which is the most by any defender in club history. He has now moved into 10th place on Portland’s all-eras assist leaderboard.
  • Yimmi Chara scored his fourth goal of the season. Chara is the fifth Timbers player to score four or more goals this season.
  • Chara has two game-winning goals in 2020 with both coming in 1-0 home wins.
  • Goalkeeper Steve Clark recorded his 13th career clean sheet with the club. His 13 clean sheets are tied for second-most among Portland goalkeepers in MLS play with Adam Kwarasey.
  • Clark appeared in his 50th career match with the Timbers.
  • The match was the first regular-season game Portland has played in the month of November.

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