Portland Timbers Quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter

Overall thoughts on the match…
“The first thing I told the guys is, ‘we can’t do anything about the first half, it wasn’t good, but what we can do is make up for it.’ The next goal was key. We got the next goal at a good time, the 63rd minute or so, which gave us time to score the next two. I knew if we got the next goal we could do it. I told these guys that I believe if [Houston] scored two first half that we could score three second half. That’s a lot easier said than done, obviously, I believe that’s the first time we’ve come back to win a game two goals down. We’ve come back two goals down to draw before. For the guys to do what they did today in that second half, in the heat – it’s got to be one of the hottest games I’ve been a part of since I’ve been here in terms of on-the-field temperature – you could see it in just the play, but for our guys to do what they did in the second half, to score three goals it says everything about the character of the group.”

On what it means to be above the red line going into the second half of the season…
“That’s huge. We’ve been through a lot this year. We’ve had a lot of injuries. We’ve had a lot of adversity. I told the guys before the game that’s going to help us in the second half of the year because we’ve grown stronger. We’ve become better. When you keep fighting and you go through that stuff, that adversity and you keep fighting, then you get stronger, you get better and you get tougher. This is a tough league. Every game is difficult. So the fact that we can draw on those experiences and use them to our advantage on days like today is going to be huge in the second half of the year and we are above the red line and hopefully we can stay there and not just stay there but keeping moving up. The teams ahead of us, we are going to try to make up ground on them and keep moving up.”

On what went wrong in the first half…
“A couple of mistakes, defensive mistakes. I thought obviously the fact that the conditions played into that. It just seemed like a domino effect. We gave up the first goal, we gave up the second goal and then from there I thought the rest of the half they had a lot of momentum and confidence. We kind of hung our heads a little bit it seemed like and even the start of the second half a little bit we weren’t generating much. I thought the move to go 4-4-2 along with some of the subs we put in and the energy those guys brought was a huge part of us grinding out that result. All the players, they’re out there inside the lines, digging and grinding on a day like today. Honestly, I’ve said to teams at halftime that you can do it, you can come back down 2, but rarely does it happen. So it says everything about this group. And here we are midseason and we are above the red line. We’ve got to learn a lesson from the first half because that’s the negative. The positive is we got three points, we scored three goals. The negative is we made some mistakes and that can’t happen.”

On the play of Lucas Melano…
“I think the key is that he’s gaining confidence. Confidence is such an underrated thing. And it doesn’t matter how old you are, doesn’t matter if you’re an old pro, or young pro guys go through ups and downs with confidence. What I’m seeing is just a more confident player. Some of the runs he made were what we saw again when we scouted him. Hopefully he can continue to build on that. The other thing I will say is he’s still a pretty young player. When you look at that front three that started, 23, 24, 25, years old. Obviously we inserted Alvas [Powell], he was a little rusty. Darren [Mattocks], those guys have been out a long time. It wasn’t perfect, we wouldn’t expect it to be because they are just getting back into it, reintegrating into the team. But again all that matters is that we got the three points. We'll learn from first half and play better.  On days like today it's about finding a way to win and we did that."

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On the overall match and play of Lucas Melano...
“I think it was a great second half for the whole team. I’m very happy about Lucas [Melano], to be honest. I’m very happy about him. He was very lively in the second half, driving, creating a lot of chances and scoring for a striker that is very important. It’s good for the team, too – we need him, we need everybody. So, very happy about the team, very happy about him and excited about the next half of the season.”

On if the team has hit a turning point...
“I think it’s a long season. No, I don’t think that [the team has hit a turning point]. I think we have [had] a lot of good performances before this game. I think we are not in the position of the table we want but we have good performances and I think if we keep working like this, it wasn’t a turning point for us, it was a good push. We are doing well, six games unbeaten.”

On what went through his head during his penalty kicks...
“I was thinking until the last moment I wanted to put it in the middle because I knew the ’keeper wouldn’t stay, so I just wanted to be sure the ball went to the net.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Ben Zemanski
On the first half of play...
“We knew it wasn’t our best half, but we believe in this group.  We’re a confident group, and we knew we had what it takes to come back. We were going to fight for each other and we were going to dig deep. We knew once we got the first goal that the game was going to turn for us and fortunately it did. It took some great performances from the guys that are on the attack to pull it off for us.”

On if the team felt that they could win after they tied it up…
“Absolutely. When we tied the game we felt like we were on the front foot and it was ours to win, and we were going to push for three points in this game at home in front of our crowd to keep this run going. It was huge and we were going to fight with everything we had to get it done.

Houston Dynamo Quotes

Houston Dynamo head coach Wade Barrett
On his overall impressions on the match…
“It’s a tough one to swallow. Number one; I’m proud of the team. I’m proud of the effort. I’m proud of the work that went into the preparation. We were in good position at halftime. Obviously things didn’t go our way in the second half, but I’m proud of everything the guys put into the game.”

On trying to shutdown Diego Valeri’s passing lanes in the second half…
“We did a pretty good job in the first half, minus a couple of instances. We talked about it. We talked about not getting pushed too deep and making sure that we had good pressure on the ball, much like we did in the first half, but it’s tough. They’re a good opponent. It’s tough to maintain and do it for 90 minutes. We still had guys fighting. We were a little bit off on a couple of things, but it just didn’t go in our favor.

On trying to bounce back from this loss…
“We have to try to learn from it. Number one; I need to look at maybe how I manage the second half and see what I could have done better. We’ll assess that in the next 24 hours, but we’ve got a quick turnaround. We’ve got a game on Wednesday at home. We’ll look at what I could have done differently, we’ll look at what the group could have done differently and we’ll be ready for Wednesday.”

Houston Dynamo forward Will Bruin
On what the team can take away from the first half…
“Obviously it’s very tough right now, but we’ve got to look at the positives. I think we performed very well in that first half. We had that 2-0 lead. We talked about it at halftime. I think 2-0 leads are the most dangerous leads in soccer, especially on the road. The game got too stretched. That’s what Portland wanted. I think we learned from that and we don’t need to make it a track meet. We don’t need to open it up when we’re up 2-0, but that’s something we’ll work on next week.”

On his goal scored in the first half…
“Me and (Boniek) Garcia have played together for a while here. We’ve got a good chemistry together. He cut inside and I knew he was going to send a chip over. He played it perfectly weighted and I was just was waiting on the contact from (Liam) Ridgewell, so I can spin him. I just wanted to make sure I finished it off.

Houston Dynamo defender David Horst
On the handball late in the second half that led to the goal…
“I was stepping to the ball to clear it and I lost my balance a little bit. It fell to my chest and I felt my hand wasn’t in an abnormal position. It was right next to my body and I guess that’s a handball in MLS. At the end of the day, I can’t put myself in that position to make the referee make a call like that.”


Notes:

  • Sunday’s game marked the 94rd consecutive regular-season sellout for the Timbers at Providence Park.
  • The Timbers 3-2 win against the Dynamo marked the first time the Timbers have erased a two-goal deficit to win a match in regulation across all eras in club history (since 1975). The last time the Timbers overcame a two-goal deficit to win was May 29, 2004, against Milwaukee Wave United, winning 3-2 in extra time.
  • Portland's nine shots on target were the most by the club this season and the most since the Timbers logged 11 shots on goal against Seattle Sounders FC on June 29, 2015.
  • Dating back to last season, the Timbers have scored in 20 straight regular-season matches, marking a tie for the longest streak in Timbers history across all eras (since 1975). The Timbers previously recorded 20 consecutive regular-season games with a goal during their NASL era (May 7-Aug. 2, 1975).
  • Portland midfielder Diego Valeri scored his sixth and seventh goals of the season, moving into a tie for the eighth-most goals in MLS this season. The brace marks Valeri’s third regular-season game with two goals since joining the Timbers in 2013, previously scoring two goals on Oct. 8, 2014, against the San Jose Earthquakes and on Oct. 26, 2013, against Chivas USA.
  • Valeri became the first Timbers player to convert two penalty kicks in a single MLS match. So far this season, Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Pedro Morales is the only other player to score two penalty kicks in one game.
  • Valeri finished the match with two goals and an assist, marking the fourth time a Timbers player has accomplished that feat during the club’s MLS era (Darlington Nagbe vs. Colorado Rapids 10/25/2015, Fanendo Adi vs. LA Galaxy 10/18/2015, Diego Valeri against Chivas USA 10/26/2013).
  • Valeri is one of three players ranked in the top eight for both goals and assists in MLS this season, along with Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco and LA Galaxy midfielder Giovanni dos Santos. With an assist during the win against Houston, Valeri has recorded 40 regular-season assists in his career, ranking 50th in MLS history for assists.
  • Midfielder Lucas Melano scored for the second consecutive match. Two of Melano's three career regular-season goals have occurred against the Dynamo.
  • Defender Nat Borchers started his 334th MLS match, which ties him with Brad Davis for the fifth-most starts by a field player in MLS history.