Q&A: DeMartin prepares for postseason with Timbers

Finishing the regular-season among team leaders in assists, rookie forward Doug DeMartin has helped the Timbers on its current unbeaten run. He talks about experiencing the Northwest rivalry, his recent form and more in a postseason Q&A.

The team slugged out a 2-2 draw at Vancouver in its regular-season finale last weekend. How would you sum up getting to experience the Portland-Vancouver rivalry this season?

Doug DeMartin: The rivalry has been intense. Each time we've played Vancouver this season it's been a tough, hard-fought game and we expect the playoffs to be more of the same. Also, the Timbers Army has been awesome in our two trips to Vancouver and I think that definitely adds something to the rivalry.  

You didn’t get the assist, but you helped set up the play to tie the match at 1-1 against the Whitecaps early in the second half of the regular-season finale. Talk about that play from your vantage point on the field.

DD: I had just subbed on at halftime so it was literally in the first minute I was on the field. (Steve) Purdy made a great run down the sideline and got me the ball along the right touchline. I did my best to put the ball in a dangerous area and fortunately for us, Kalif was there to finish it and give us good momentum to start the second half.
You finished the regular season among team leaders in assists, contributing three of those assists in the last six games of the campaign. You seem to be playing with confidence each time you step on the field right now.

DD: I really feel like I've started to hit my stride as of late. I'm playing with much more confidence and feel comfortable on the field. There were a lot of ups and downs throughout the season but it feels good to be peaking at the right time, both individually and as a team. 

The Timbers enter the postseason on a 10-game unbeaten streak. While the playoffs are a different “season,” how important is it to have that sort of momentum behind you heading into the postseason?

DD: I think it's really important. The coaches have been emphasizing for the past month that we wanted to hit playoffs on a roll. We had a tough streak of away games but we really worked hard and stuck together. We're definitely playing our best soccer at the right time.

We’re heading into a two-game, aggregate-goal series against the Whitecaps. With the first leg setting the tone for the entire series, what are the objectives for Thursday’s match in Vancouver? How do we approach a match against an opponent that we have played against four times already this season?

DD: After four matches thus far against the Whitecaps, I think we know each other pretty well. There aren't many secrets. But we fully expect to come away with a result. They're a quality side and it'll be a hard-fought match but we feel confident every time we step on the field that we can get a result.