Portland Timbers Quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
On the team bouncing back from the midweek CONCACAF Champions League loss to win today…
“I couldn’t be more proud of these guys with how much they gave. If you look at the three games, we traveled to Costa Rica and back. I think it was six guys that played all three games and to see, until the 93rd minute, [Fanendo] Adi and his big body covering ground and giving everything he has… Diego Valeri and Diego Chara, I can’t even imagine how many miles they covered over the last three games, including Vytas, Steven Taylor and Jake Gleeson. Those guys grinded for three straight games, three emotional games, and gave everything they had. That’s what you want to see as a coach. That’s what you want to see out of your team. That’s what you want to see out of your players. That shows you that they’re bought in. That shows you they care. We also had some big performances today from the other the guys too. Like Darren Mattocks and it was obviously great to have Alvas (Powell), (Darlington) Nagbe, and Ridgy (Liam Ridgewell) back in too. The nice thing is that we’re starting to get that continuity and that consistency like we always do. We smell the postseason and you can see it. You can see the consistency in the performances at home because we now can have a consistent way of playing tactically, we can have a consistent lineup and we just need to continue to clone it. Hopefully we can now clone it on the road because we have two very important road games with now another Champions League road game sandwiched in between. It doesn’t get any easier.”

On what Darren Mattocks brings to the table…
“I’ve always been a big fan of Darren. We won a national championship together. He bagged over 20 goals for me and I just believe in the kid, I think he has a lot of talent. I watched him in Vancouver and he was in and out of that lineup and I just thought if we could get him here I knew what he was capable of. I knew he could play up top or on the wing. He’s got pace. You see how hard he works. Three or four times he was able to press the backline, and if you look at the first goal it all comes from his work rate and sticking with it. That’s a big part of winning games is the intangibles and the defending. We feel like right now we’ve got 11 guys that are all defending and 11 guys that are all attacking. There were some games this year that we didn’t have that. We had some guys attack and some guys defending. The biggest thing with Darren is I thought he brought balance. He’s going to defend, but also we’re not losing anything in the attack. We’re getting that dynamic second forward that we were looking to get. When you play with Darlington [Nagbe], you can’t play with two guys that come inside. Ideally you play with one that comes inside and one that runs off. This was a good game but he needs to keep doing it. That’s the key.”

On what it means to be healthy in the final stretch of the season…
“My philosophy has always been to play dominant football. Dominant football means you decide the game and you decide it with pressure and possession. You decide it by attacking and being proactive, and yet you have to have personnel to do that and everybody on board with it and everybody defending from the front. You have to have guys that bring pace and power and I feel like Darren is another horse in the stable that we can throw out there to execute like we want. He’s another weapon and when you look at Adi, Valeri, Nagbe and Darren, that is four different types of guys that seem to complement each other as well. We were injured many games and had to tinker a lot in trying to get the right group and I think we finally have a group that kind of fits together --it's like pieces to a puzzle.”

On having a lineup playing consistently together going into the final stretch of the season…
“That’s huge. That’s what you want, that’s what you strive for and we haven’t been able to do that all year. You look at most of the games this year, and I told the guys that this is the first time that I’ve gone into my office and didn’t have to change the board from the last game. I usually set the lineup and talk to the staff and then we play the game and I leave and I come back and usually this year I’m swapping out five, six guys on the board. That says everything about the season that we’ve had in terms of chopping and adding, guys are in, guys are out. We couldn't develop that rhythm and continuity that you strive for in creating behavior because what you see on the pitch is trained behavior and it’s habits. You see we’re playing more dominantly like we want to play, but also every team is different. Last year’s team I realized they liked to drop off and play on the counter. It suited certain players better. You’ve got to know your team. You’ve got to know what they prefer and what fits them. This year’s team, with the group that we have, they like to press. We like to be on the front foot and certainly at home even more. The key is now can we do it on the road because you saw versus Saprissa we started the game that way. The plan was to be up the pitch. It was never to sit back, but what happened after we scored the goal? We sat back. Some of that is psychological. Some of it is personnel because you can’t really be up the pitch unless you press to win the ball back and unless you keep the ball. No matter what the plan is if we don’t press and we don’t get consistent work rate and we don’t get consistent possession or if psychologically the group after we score a goal drops too much, then the plan is out the door. I thought a little bit that happened versus Saprissa, so we have to break that pattern over time, but the more you have the same group and the more you show them pictures, like video and you train the same group and the same behavior it clicks and this is the first time all year we’ve been able to do that. You can see it's finally been translating into the games on consistent basis."

Portland Timbers midfielder Darren Mattocks
On how he feels after coming back from injury…
“Tired. I think it’s my first 90 minutes in a while, dating back to Vancouver. We’ve just got to keep grinding. I think it was an excellent performance all around from the team. It’s a really big result. I think it’s four in a row at home. Our road form hasn’t been the best, but we’re definitely making up for it in our home games. We’ll take this one tonight, but come next week we’ve just got to move forward because we’re getting closer and closer to Sporting Kansas City. I definitely feel like we’re going to close the gap there. We’ve just got to keep grinding. I think we’re in a really good spot right now and if we continue with this group then things will continue to go up.”

On his two assists tonight…
“I think both goals came from me pressing. I didn’t give up on the play. That just goes to show that your defensive work does translate into offensive chances and that was a perfect example of the two goals scored tonight. The second goal…I thought it was going in, but Adi was there for the insurance. I’ll take two assists any day over one goal. It’s not one player on the team, it’s 11.”

On how bad he wanted a goal tonight…
“Especially against Andre Blake, we play together on the [Jamaican] national team, it would have been the icing on the cake for all the work I put in today. But as I said, a win is a win. It was a great save. The biggest thing for us is to keep working as a team. Even with the guys that didn’t play, we’re going to need each and every one of them down the line, not just 11, not just 14, but every single guy on the team is going to take to try to do what [the Timbers] did last year. I’m happy to be a part of this.”


Portland Timbers midfielder Jack Jewsbury
Overall thoughts on the win…
“Yeah, it’s huge. With five games to go in the season, knowing we only had two left at home, we wanted to make the most of this one. Three points today was huge, getting us into a good spot for the playoffs, and we knew that was important. It was a very tough game, obviously a little disappointed to give up a goal after we scored in the second half, but we kept after it and were able to get that second one locked down.”

On having the same lineup for a second straight game…
“It’s nice. I think over the course of the season, unfortunately, we’ve had a lot of injuries and the lineup hasn’t been that consistent. So, it’s tough at times, but I think this group when you can continue to put consistent lineups and guys get to work with each other and you build those partnerships, it becomes huge especially at the end.”

On looking to get a result in Houston next weekend...
“Yeah, that’s the plan. Obviously that’s been the hurdle that we haven’t been able to get over yet and we realized, whether it’s getting into the playoffs or once we’re into the playoffs, that’s going to have to be better. It needs to start now.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On not being fatigued after three games in eight days…
“We are fatigued. We are tired, but it’s normal. We had to manage that in this kind of system where you have to play the CONCACAF Champions League game and manage the flights. You have to be ready for that. We prepared well in the preseason and during the year we are getting in a rhythm. We manage and we rest well, and we give everything that we have. So, now we can rest. After the week, we have six points in that week, which is good.”

On converting home wins into road wins…
“We don’t need to think about the road results. We need to think about performances. If we perform well individually and collectively, we’ll get points and hopefully that happens now. We need it now, so we will try to do the same – get pressure on the rival and create chances, be a dynamic team. I think if you do that, you will get results, even on the road. But, at home we are doing really well. We are playing really well. We are getting points and getting good performances, so we need to keep doing that.”

Philadelphia Union Quotes

Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtis

General thoughts on the match…
“Two very good teams going at it. Lot of chances created on the day. We made a couple mistakes. I think they made a couple mistakes. We got punished for ours. [Fanendo] Adi and [Diego] Valeri were a handful and they made us pay. Obviously disappointing after a good first half to start the second half slow. [Fabinho] falls asleep on one side and then Keegan [Rosenberry] on the other and again, good teams will punish you. We’ll learn from it. Again, we have a lot of young players on the field that are going through real games for the first time. The only way to learn in them is to go through them. Incredible atmosphere that is in this stadium against the defending champs. Things get ramped up a bit. Every point matters at this point of the year. We’re disappointed we go away with nothing, but there’s still a lot of positive takeaways from the game.”

On whether his team was able to create enough chances in the game for a result…
“On the road, we had good looks. I thought [Jake] Gleeson was good on the day. He made some big saves for [Portland]. Obviously, Chris [Pontius] gets the one goal. Chris had a couple more looks also. Thought Fabian [Herbers] had a couple dangerous moments. C.J. [Sapong] created a few chances. Disappointing. I do think we had enough chances to get an equalizer. Little scramble at the end even when we were down a man. Disappointing that Josh [Yaro] got sent off. If you watch, the first yellow card is a mistake. Again, people make mistakes, I understand that. I can live with that. But I can’t live with when you’re told it’s 100% that they saw it and it’s definitely a yellow card. These things add up and it cost Josh at the end of the game when he gets a second yellow. Disappointing, but yeah, I do think we created enough chances. Can always create more though.”

On what the Union need to do to bounce back from this game ahead of two more games on the road in a row…
“It’s tough on the road in this league. I think the data shows it’s the toughest league in the world actually, percentage-wise, to win on the road. It’s difficult. We have a tough task ahead of us. Toronto and New York, two teams in the East that we’re close with. We need to take advantage. Any point goes a long way at this point of the year, whether it’s a tie or a win. We have a lot of games still to be played. Four games, we still have two at home as well to end the season. But we want to go into those last two games having already clinched a playoff spot and that’s the goal of these next two games.”

On Brian Carroll’s performance…
“I thought Brian broke up a lot of plays for his first game back in several weeks. He did a good job. Warren [Creavalle] had a bit of a knee issue he’s kind of carrying and didn’t think it was the right move to have him start and push again. So I thought Brian stepped in, did a good job. Obviously him and [Alejandro] Bedoya, the relationship will grow. This is the first minutes they’ve played together. Positive first step. You did see a couple indecisive moments with both of them. The ‘I got it, you got it’ kind of thing, but that’s normal with new players as you get accustomed to each other. It’s one thing to do it in training. It’s another thing to do it in Portland on wet turf and rain. The sharpness has to be ramped up a bit and it will. I thought both of them had solid days.”

On Darron Mattocks’ performance and how Keegan Rosenberry performed against him…
“I think overall we got punished in the wide areas today. I thought [Alvas] Powell got forward a bunch and we didn’t do a good job closing him down. Obviously Mattocks is a handful and his speed. There were some good moments from Keegan where he was stepping and closing the ball and breaking up plays. But there were a few where he was maybe reactive and not proactive to Darren and Darren had a good day for sure. Some of it again was mistakes made by us. He’s a guy who closes the ball down maybe quicker than Keegan’s ever seen to be honest. Because Darren’s as fast as any human. He can run. The time that he closes you down is quicker. You don’t have time to pick your head up and play balls. You saw Darren blocked a few, turned us over in bad spots, but again, Keegan’s had a heck of a year. He’s a great defender. He’s a rookie that is learning each and every day, getting better each and every day. I want to be known as a coach that plays young players and we’ll continue to do so with our backline. There’s going to be growing pains, for sure, but at the same time, we think it’s going to pay dividends for the rest of this year and beyond.”

On if the Union’s three substitutions had an impact on the game…
“I would say Ilsinho didn’t get on the ball as much as we would like. Obviously we’d like him to have more touches. Go at guys. He’s most dangerous when he goes one-v-one. The game got a little frantic and never really settled down for the last 15-20 minutes. Charlie [Davies] put a lot into it, did a lot of dirty running, but again we probably didn’t get enough balls into his feet to get a true judgement of him or assessment. He worked his tail off, did everything I asked him. Then Roland [Alberg] is just at the end of the game where we’re throwing numbers forward, putting as many attacking guys on the field as we can. [Brian Carroll] comes off and we change our shape a bit where the hope is to get a few chances. And then the red card happens and your plan goes out the window. Lot of moving parts to it, but a day where we probably didn’t get our reserves on the ball as much as possible for a number of different reasons.”

Philadelphia Union forward Chris Pontius
General thoughts on the match…
“Both teams had their chances tonight. In key moments in the game, we turned off right at the start of the second half. You talk about things you need to do in the locker room and then come out a little flat, they catch us off guard and it’s 1-0. We respond well to it though, get back to 1-1. At that point, they had a few chances, we had a few chances. They end up putting theirs away.”

On Jake Gleeson’s performance for Portland…
“I think the one where he makes the kick save on the near-post shot from me, it’s a pretty good save because he can’t see. There’s a number of different bodies in there. It’s a reaction save at that point and he did well with it. He had a couple other ones that were pretty good.”

On the field conditions tonight with the wet turf and rain…
“The turf plays nice here. It’s both teams dealing with it. It’s the best turf in the league in terms of how it rolls and how it plays. It sets up for a good game. It sets up for a fast game, a physical game. I think at times in the first half there it wasn’t necessarily the prettiest soccer and you kind of have to roll up your sleeves at that point and just say ‘alright. We’re going to wait for our opportunity.’ You have to be clean on set pieces at that point too. A lot of these games come down to set pieces.”

On the atmosphere in Providence Park tonight…
“It’s always been great coming here. It’s one of the best in the league. Easy to get up for the game. I just wish we could have silenced the crowd a bit more. It’s a good place obviously.”

Philadelphia Union midfielder Fabian Herbers
On his assist to pull the Union level at 1-1 early in the second half…
“I was getting the ball and it was kind of a break away like a counter attack. I went forward with the ball, try to make the defense make a decision and then I back-heeled it to Chris [Pontius] behind me and he had a good shot on goal.”

On playing against a Timbers midfield that is so fluid…
“I’ve done it a couple games now with other good players. Of course they have good movement in the midfield, but I thought our communication works well. Keegan Rosenberry behind me is coaching very well. He’s always telling me where to go and what positioning to have on the field. I thought we did well in the first half. Conceded two unlucky goals in the second half that cost us the game.”

On the atmosphere in the stadium…
“It was amazing. That’s what you play for, to play in an atmosphere like that. Probably one of the best crowds in the league. It was very exciting playing here.”


Notes:

  • Saturday’s game marked the 101st consecutive regular-season sellout for the Timbers at Providence Park.
  • The Timbers have scored in each of their 16 home matches this season, ranking as one of two MLS teams to score in each of its home games, along with the Philadelphia Union. Additionally, Portland leads MLS for goals scored at home (34).
  • Portland has a league-leading 11 home victories this season. The 11 wins at Providence Park ties for the most home wins in the club's MLS era with the 2013 season and ties for the second-most home victories in all eras of the club, behind only the 13 wins in 1978.
  • Fanendo Adi scored his 15th goal of the season to become just the 16th player in MLS history to record consecutive seasons with 15 or more goals. 
  • Adi has scored in three consecutive matches in all competitions, including four consecutive home matches. 
  • Adi's seven shots in the match are the third-most by a Timbers player this season. 
  • Diego Valeri scored his 12th goal of the season, which is an MLS career high for the midfielder. 
  • Adi and Valeri currently rank fourth and ninth for the most goals in MLS this season, respectively. Their combined 27 goals is the second-most by a pair of teammates behind New York City FC forward David Villa and midfielder Frank Lampard, who have combined for 28 goals.  
  • For the first time in 109 MLS appearances, Darren Mattocks recorded two assists in a single match.
  • Mattocks was credited with four chances created in the match, which is also a career high for the midfielder. 
  • Jake Gleeson finished the match with seven saves, which is the third-most by the goalkeeper this season. 
  • The Timbers improved to 3-1-3 all-time against the Union.

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