Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 0, Sporting Kansas City 1 | June 27, 2014

Portland Timbers Quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
On the match:
“It’s massively disappointing, the result. You can call it cruel. I’ve seen this result time and time again over the years. Call it cruel, you can say that we shouldn’t have lost. But on the other side, it’s fair too because we didn’t score a goal. We gave up a goal on one of the few chances they had, which weren’t many, and they were able to find a goal and we weren’t with all the chances we had and all the possession that we had. So you can say based on flow and chances created for us and chances created for them that it’s cruel. But we still have to find a goal and we still have to make sure that on a long throw-in, which is basically a goal out of nothing – throwing the ball in the box, you have to make a play. It comes down to man-to-man marking. We lost the first ball, we didn’t attack the ball. We lost the mark on the second ball. It’s upsetting and very frustrating to concede that type of goal, when they weren’t creating anything from the run of play. It’s one of the most frustrating things as a coach because it comes down to man-marking, which is an elementary play where you’re marking a player. You see a lot of goals on set pieces in this sport. Every team concedes them and every time you concede on a set piece it’s frustrating. We work on them, talk about them, it’s a big part of the game that is why approximately a third of the goals are scored on set pieces. Again, it’s unfortunate. In the end, we still have to find a way to deal with it. Find a way to score a goal, and we didn’t. I take responsibility. I apologize to the fans and supporters, they deserve better. It’s my job to pick the team, to prepare the group, train the group and motivate the group. In terms of flow, I thought we deserved better, but at the end of the day we didn’t get it done, we fell short. We have to also credit Kansas City. They’re a very good defensive team, one of the best in the league. They did a nice job of defending deep and they had a good plan. In the end, we fell short, we didn’t get the result.”

On how all the fouls affected the flow of the game:
“It’s a part of the game. It’s a tactic that teams use. You have to deal with it, plain and simple.”

On Sporting Kansas City’s defense sitting back:
“You just have to finish the chances you get. We still had a lot of chances, a lot of moments. When a team sits like that deep and they’re organized it comes down to moments; a set piece like they got, a cross or a combination play. But it’s always difficult and you see it at every level when a team parks the bus like that. It’s a tactic that teams use. I don’t blame them for doing it because it worked, they got three points. At any level, it doesn’t matter what level, the best teams in the world struggle to create goals when teams do that. We have to be sharper, hungrier, more aggressive in those situations. Our attack has been very good recently but we weren’t so good tonight, we obviously weren’t able to get a goal. We had a lot of the ball in terms of flow, we were in a position to win the game. But I’ve said this time and again, like a broken record, you have to make plays in the box to win. I can’t remember many chances they got from the run of play, other than long throw-ins. Obviously they had a few late when we were gambling to score. But, that’s pretty much what they got, long throw-ins, and yet we somehow let them find a goal off that. That’s disappointing, but that’s also soccer. I’ve seen it time and time again. We have to get back to work on Monday. We’re behind it. We have to keep pushing. It’s not lost, but we definitely have to make up for these results we haven’t been getting at home.”

On the difference in the team’s form at home this year:
“I think if you watch all the games, we are still dominating games. A lot of it is teams are respecting us more. So they are adopting more of a negative tactic because obviously running with us at home is difficult. That’s the MLS Cup champions, and you saw they were content to sit behind the ball. They have some guys gone and some injured. I don’t blame them, it was a smart tactic. If we get that first goal the whole game is different. You let a team steal a goal like they did, now they can drop even deeper. It’s then even more difficult. You see it a lot, teams get chances like we did, but they can’t find a goal. That’s very common, but it’s very frustrating from a coach’s standpoint. But sometimes you don’t find a goal, that’s soccer.”

On the emotion of moving above and below the “red line”:
“It’s disappointing. We wanted to be above the red line, we would have been in third place. Again, the other side to this is there are still 17 games left with plenty of opportunity. We haven’t been getting results at home and that’s disappointing. I take responsibility.”

On not using a third sub:
“Because I didn’t want to take out the attacking players I had in there. That’s the only way I could have made a third sub. We had [Diego] Chara sitting and three in the back. It’s about as ambitious and adventurous as you can get, and even Jorge [Villafaña] was getting forward so really we were defending with two players, two center backs. I wasn’t going to take Adi off, I wasn’t going to take Gastón [Fernández]. I put Maxi [Urruti] on. I wasn’t going to take [Diego] Valeri or [Darlington] Nagbe off or Will Johnson. All those guys have proven they can score goals. To make the third sub it would have been a like for like because you’re not going to be more ambitious than a 3-3-4, which was basically what we were playing at the end. It’s worked in a lot of games. I just felt with the guys I had out there based on past games that they would get it done. But we fell short today.”

On relying on late goals in games:
“I think we’ve relied too much on having to chase a game. We’ve relied too much on having to pull out a goal late. I think this was a game that finally it cost us. Sometimes you need to get punished to realize you need to change something. The reality is in 17 games we’ve conceded the first goal 12 times. Eight of those games out of the 12 we’ve gotten a point or more. The big reason we have the amount of points we have is because we’ve been conceding early, and when you concede early and chase the game you greatly reduce your chances of winning. The percentages in every league in the world when you score the first goal of winning or tying are extremely high. The percentages of winning when you concede the first goal are very low. We have put ourselves in a position far too many times where we have conceded the first goal. Usually it’s been out of a play that should never happen. It would be easier for me to come in here and say, ‘Kansas City they were the better team, they showed that. They had more chances. They scored a great goal. They broke us down. They were much better.’ That would be a much easier conversation for me but that’s not the case. You saw the game, we controlled the match. We controlled the possession, we had more chances. They had very little from the run of play and yet we are left with an empty result, an empty feeling. I think the biggest thing is giving up early goals. When you play from behind too many times you can’t rely on it. We’ve relied on it, we’ve pulled it out. A point or better eight times, but we’re decreasing our chances of winning by doing that. They are very much correctable goals. It’s not like we are getting broken down. It’s moments and plays. It’s losing a mark, cutting out a cross, it’s things for me at this level shouldn’t happen and I think that’s why we are where we’re at. The attack they didn’t score today but we’ve shown to be a good attacking team. We are going to create goals. We just can’t keep relying on [coming from behind]. It seems like every second half, we’re down one, we’re down two. We’ve pulled out a lot of them, which is pretty amazing. It shows that this team has spirit. It shows that we have a good attacking group. But we fell short tonight. You’re going to fall short if you put yourself in that position as many times as we have. You have to give your team a chance for the first goal to come. Sometimes it takes time, and it doesn’t come easy. But when the first or second throw-in they had becomes a goal, then it makes it very difficult because it puts a lot of pressure on your attack to break down a team that can now sit deep.”

Portland Timbers forward Fanendo Adi
On his disallowed opening goal:
“I don’t know, but a lot of people saw the replay and it didn’t look offside at all. When the referee calls it offside, you have nothing to do. It was a tough decision to make, but we took it that way.”

On playing against an opponent who sits back in defense for the whole match:
”It’s very difficult. That’s the gameplan. You can’t play against a team that comes to play 10 men behind [the ball]. It was very tough. We tried to break them through long balls, through counter attacks, but we couldn’t make it. We beat them in the Cup game, so they saw what we did to them. They just came to sit back and get a counter. They didn’t create any chances against us.”

On how to avoid conceding the first goal in future games:
“I think it’s very important, and that’s the basic thing we talked about right now. Conceding the first goal is very difficult for us and when we let in the first goal at home, we’re under pressure to try and get it back and we open the space more and they try to get some good balls into our box. I think it’s something we have to learn from. It’s just something we need to work on.”

On how much Sporting Kansas City’s frequent fouling affected Portland:
“This is something we learn from. When you lose you try to build up from there. So it’s just something we’re going to build from.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On Sporting Kansas City’s game plan:
“It’s tough, but it’s soccer. You can do whatever you want. We are [not happy] about the result. Sporting Kansas City defended well and we tried to score because they scored first on a throw-in. That’s pretty disappointing for us. We are [not happy] about the score because the performance in the second half was good.”

On how to avoid conceding the first goal in matches:
“Try to figure out those things because maybe it’s sometimes set-pieces, sometimes a throw-in. They aren’t great goals, but it’s a team. We are 11 guys and we need to work on that. It’s the middle of the season and we have the next 17 games to figure that out and get to the playoffs.”

On the team’s mentality and confidence midway through the season:
“We are confident in the team. We are confident in our quality in every single player. We know that in soccer anything can happen. We need to work and we need to think about LA.”

On how Sporting Kansas City’s physicality disrupted the Timbers offense:
“For me, it’s a different game than last game. They tried to defend and make tackles. They tried to stop the game, tried to stop some of our breaks. They did a great job at that. I think we had to score because we created chances.”

On how to break down a defensive opponent:
“We tried to cross from every side of the field. We tried to make passes. We tried to shoot from long distance. But when you have a big block, it’s very tough. You need to be effective and if you have one chance, you have to score. That’s this type of game. It’s about that. We scored in the first half and the ref called it offside. Maybe that changed the game.”

On the frustration of not getting results at home:
“It’s very sad for our fans. They deserve every single win. It’s very disappointing, very sad for us. We know that this year we are winning more on the road than at home. So in the next half of the season we have to figure that out.”

Sporting Kansas City Quotes

Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes
On the match:

“I thought we were tactically very efficient. I thought we made the game very difficult for them. The only thing they really had was trying to pump the ball into the box. I don’t think they had many solutions for the way that we played. I thought at times, especially the first half was a different half, we knew in the second half they were going to push everyone very high up the field and it was going to be a little more difficult. But in the first half I thought we were good at picking and choosing the moments of when to counter. We talked about set-pieces being an important aspect to the game, especially because the ball seems to always bounce around in [the north end] of the field a lot more than it does in [the south end]. We took advantage of it and I think at the end of the day it was a great three points for us. There’s not a team that’s banged up like we are at the current time, but we’re not knocked out. The guys had a great fighting spirit. All of the guys that came into the game helped us out big time and then we had another player go down. A guy we count on in the middle of the park and we had to put a guy in there that normally doesn’t play in there. So the fighting spirit was tremendous by the players.”

On how the match differed mentally from Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup match:
“The difference is we just played to our standard in regards to our work ethic on the field. That’s the difference. Obviously we’re still missing 13 guys out of our team through injury and guys away with the national team at World Cup. With all that being said, we still have a great fighting spirit with the group. This was the big difference between the game the other day and this one, for sure.”

On the injury sustained by Lawrence Olum:
“I think it’s more of a tweak and I think it’s good, because we don’t actually play until next Sunday so hopefully those extra days are going to get him back on the field because we need him.”

On his team’s defensive organization in the second half:
“Like I said, they were launching a lot on us. But the good thing is we kept our shape and we didn’t lose ourselves and that was the big thing. We were still organized well and we made the right choices of when to try and keep the ball and when to just launch it because sometimes you have to. It was very good but it was a great team performance.”

Sporting Kansas City defender Aurelien Collin
On the physicality of the match:

“It is always the same thing here. We expect a very physical game, but we were winning 1-0, so we knew that they would push, push, push the second half and honestly we kept our composure and quite a good line. Not dropping too low and at the same time not going too high. I’m very proud of the team. We still have a lot of young guys that have shown, honestly, a lot of experience. We could have managed the game better in the last 20 minutes. We were losing so many balls. When we were winning the ball we could not have more than two or three passes. They were very good in defense. I’m a bit upset about this, but the defensive work was very, very good.”

On playing against Timbers forward Fanendo Adi:
“It’s always a pleasure. I’d always rather have a big guy than a very small one because when we go to contact it’s not that he’s going to fall on the floor every time I touch him. It’s always a good battle. I’m very happy. It was a great challenge for me tonight.”

On what the win means in light of the team missing so many players:
“It was a very important win, especially after the loss in Open Cup. We’re very upset about that. It was a competition that for me and for the team was very important. We didn’t do the right job. So coming here and showing the right mentality was the most important thing. After having a win here, it’s a great night.”

Sporting Kansas City defender Kevin Ellis
On the match:
“It was good. It was a battle for 90 minutes. We felt like we had something to prove after the performance we gave on Tuesday. We knew it wasn’t good enough and we knew we had to come here. It’s a tough place to play and we knew we had to come and get a result. We did what we had to do to get three points.”

On earning his first assist with the club:
“It feels good to help the team win in that way, but getting three points and being locked in the whole game as a team is really good today.”

On keeping defensive composure in the second half as Portland pushed offensively:
“Communication. I think over the years everybody knows that we play with a lot of heart. We leave it all on the field every game. Like I said, when we knew we didn’t do that on Tuesday night, we knew we had to give a little bit extra tonight. They threw numbers forward and we were organized and we communicated and were in good starting positions and we dealt with them.”


  • Midfielder/forward Rodney Wallace made his first MLS start of the 2014 season for Portland on Friday night. Wallace missed the first 16 matches of the regular season while recovering from offseason knee surgery. He saw his first competitive minutes for the team on June 17 in a U.S. Open Cup match.
  • Wednesday’s crowd of 20,814 marked the 61st consecutive sellout at Providence Park. The Timbers have sold out every regular-season match at Providence Park since their inaugural MLS season in 2011.
  • The Timbers made eight changes to the lineup following Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup match against Sporting Kansas City, a 3-1 win for Portland. Only three players who started Tuesday’s match (Jorge Villafaña, Danny O’Rourke and Will Johnson) also started Friday’s match.
  • Both midfielder Will Johnson and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts made their 150th career MLS starts on Friday night. For Ricketts, it was also his 150th career MLS appearance.
  • Portland suffered a season-high 23 fouls on Friday night. The 23 fouls suffered rank tied for second-most all-time in Timbers MLS history for a single match.
  • The Timbers controlled 66.92 percent of the possession on Friday, the most in a single match by Portland this season. Portland maintained 72 percent of possession in the second half against Sporting Kansas City.
  • Portland attempted 489 passes on Friday, which ranks as the third-most by the club in a single match in 2014 (498 at Houston, April 27; 491 at Chivas USA, May 28).
  • Friday’s loss snapped a four-game unbeaten streak in all competitions for Portland.