Rodney Wallace, Timbers vs. RSL, 10.17.14
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 0, Real Salt Lake 0 | Oct. 17, 2014

Portland Timbers Quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter

On Nick Rimando’s performance tonight:
“That’s why he’s the shutout leader in this league. When he does retire, he’s going to go down as one of the best goalkeepers in the history of this league. He came up big for them and that’s probably the difference on the day.”

On the team’s performance tonight:
“You could see how much it meant to our guys. You could see how hungry they were. I thought we were very organized from start to finish defensively, which you have to be with a good team like Real Salt Lake. We created enough chances to score, but they just didn’t fall. That’s sometimes the way it goes. I can’t fault our guys for anything, they played their hearts out. I’m proud of their effort. We went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the league, a team that was in the MLS Cup Championship last year and has been to the playoffs seven straight years. I thought we deserved better on the day."

On how the team prepares going forward:
“It was an emotional game; like I said, the guys gave everything they had, they left it all on the pitch. They couldn’t have given anything more. We need to recover mentally and physically and we need to get our focus locked in on our next game, the Champions League game, and getting out of the group stage. That was my message to the guys. I was proud of them. Let’s move on. The one thing with the point is that does put us over the red line for the time being. We have the tiebreaker, so that gives us a chance in the last game. So ultimately, it would have been much better to get the three points, but it does make, now, that last game relevant and depending on how things go we still have a chance to get into the playoffs. But we need to shift gears and focus our attention on the Champions League game. So we need to compartmentalize and move away from the league and get focused on getting a good result on the road against a very good Olimpia team.”

On Diego Chara’s performance, and thoughts on the standout effort of the entire team:
“I don’t think you ever see Chara have a bad game. I think he always has a good game. What I would say tonight is I think every single guy had a good game. From a coaching standpoint, I can’t really ask for anything more. Obviously, you look at not scoring and you can say maybe that’s the one area we missed the mark, but it wasn’t for lack of chances. From my standpoint, we got plenty of chances. We created enough to score. Rimando came up big on several occasions. Maybe a few times we could have been a little bit better, a little bit more decisive, clinical on the finish, but not many, maybe two or three, of the 23 we had, but you saw we showed up to win and for me that’s really encouraging. The progress that we’ve made for us to be able to outplay one of the best teams in the league. Obviously we needed to find a goal, but we didn’t. But for me, from a coaching standpoint, from an evolution standpoint, I’m very proud of this team. We do still have a chance to get in the playoffs and I think our guys still believe that we are going to get in.”

On what it says about the team overcoming the start and getting to where you are now:
“It says a lot. You see there are seven teams that are out. A lot of those teams that are out were teams that went through rough patches like we went through, whether it was start or middle or finish. Those teams are out, they couldn’t recover. Our team was able to recover, which is really rare because you look back historically speaking and there is only one team that has gone winless in their first eight and still made the playoffs. So our guys knew that and they still didn’t quit, they still kept fighting and buckled down. I think we’ve gotten seven wins or so in our last 14 games. It might mean we fall short, but like I said it’s a really encouraging sign the way we have played in this last stretch of the season. It’s a real credit to our guys, the locker room, their mentality, their hunger that we were able to fight our way out of that hole to put ourselves in a position where we could be the second team in the history of the league to recover from that.”

On if it says more about these guys this year compared to last year when it came naturally:
“I’ve built clubs before, I’ve been with programs and clubs where it takes a couple of years to get going. There’s sometimes not as much progress as we've made in the first couple of years, you see signs, but it takes time to be a Real Salt Lake, to be a Sporting Kansas City, to be an LA Galaxy. When you look back on those clubs’ evolution I'm sure there were a lot of rough patches, ups and downs, and it took time. For me there are building blocks in every season. The season shook out a little different last year than this year, but for me there have been positive signs and positive progress. We are now a team that’s considered one of the contenders. I’m hoping we get in the playoffs. I think we will, but if we’re not I’m still encouraged by the signs. I’m still encouraged in the direction that this club is heading.”

On what has been the difference defensively in the last couple of months:
“I think it’s been partly the personnel. I think it’s been a little bit the organization. I think it’s been because of having continuity and that helps, but we’ve settled in. I think some of it’s been the individuals, but I also think it’s been the group. It’s not just the group in terms of the back four or the back six. It’s been the entire team. It’s been the wingers helping chip in. It’s been the holding mids being a bit more balanced. It’s been the outside backs being good 1-v-1, but also connecting with the center backs. It’s been the center backs in that partnership. If you noticed we were very organized from the start. We didn’t look reckless. We didn’t look panicked. We were very comfortable. We looked compact. For me that was a little bit of a shift I made with the team being a bit less aggressive in our pressure. Last year I thought we were a little bit better when we pressed. I think this year, with this team, with the personnel we have, I think we are a little bit better when we hold a bit. When we draw lines more in the middle third so every team is different in how it shakes out and what works. So that’s been a tactical shift that I made with this team and I think that’s helping. We’ve also worked on it. We’ve talked about it. We’ve trained it. I believe we’ve got the right group of guys as well. [Liam] Ridgewell’s been a huge help. I think he’s going to be one of the best central defenders in the league for the next three or four years. He’s a quality player. He reads the game well, he’s good on the ball, he’s good in the air, he’s a good organizer. I think he’s been a huge help. We’ve been much better since he’s gotten here, maybe not every game, but just overall in terms of the way it feels he’s made a huge difference.”

On Valeri being voted the Supporters’ Player of the Year:
“Good choice. The right choice. We’ve got a lot of good players, but he’s been tremendous. He’s carried the team on this back in terms of goals. Everybody has a different job to do. So nobody’s role or job is any bigger than the others. Even though he’s the guy that does find the goals, but if he doesn’t find those goals we don’t win games. So his job does play a huge part in us winning games and we wouldn’t be where we are without him. Good choice for the Timbers Army. "

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On if he takes pride tonight despite the frustrating result:
“I think we played well against a big team. I think we deserved to win the game. We created a lot of chances, but we missed. Now it’s a point and we have to wait, but with this performance we are able to go to Dallas [confident].”

On if there was extra effort out there tonight:
“Yes, of course. I think we gave everything on every play. We gave our all. We can see each other and everything’s good because we gave our all.”

On if the group still believes they can make the playoffs:
“Yes, of course. We know that it’s soccer. They [Vancouver] have to play. In soccer anything can happen. They [Vancouver] have to go to San Jose and it’s a hard game, too.”

On being named Supporters’ Player of the Year:
“Thank you so much everybody because for me it’s an honor. They know what they are for me, they are amazing. Every game is special for me and this club [is special] for them. Let me say thanks to my teammates, too. This is a team game. To the people, thank you so much for the support.”

On going into the stands and being with the supporters to receive the award:
“For me, it’s amazing. I didn’t expect that. It was a surprise. I’m really happy. I can say ‘thanks.’ I try to do my best on the field, but they are really, really important for the team. So thanks.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Rodney Wallace
General reaction to the result:
“Especially knowing that we were the better side tonight, the ball just didn’t want to go in the back of the net. It’s just one of those games where we look back and we think about everything we did and everything we could have done. Now we just have to play the waiting game and we still have to focus on an important match going to Honduras and then Dallas.”

On Portland’s defense:
“It feels good to know you have the people behind you doing the job they’re supposed to be doing. It’s one of those things where you feel comfortable. You don’t have to look over your shoulder. You know that you trust the man that’s behind you. At the same time, it gives you a sense of pride and it makes you want to work for the person that’s behind you and it becomes a good partnership.”

On if he thinks Portland will make the playoffs:
“We still believe. We’re hungry and we’re ready for the next match.”

On knowing that the Timbers are still in the playoff race going into the final match:
“We’re still in it and the season is going down to the last game. That’s our focus right now.”

Real Salt Lake Quotes

Real Salt Lake head coach Jeff Cassar
On having a big defensive performance:
“Nick [Rimando] came up huge for us. We were under the gun there for a little bit, but I was extremely proud of the way our guys played. They followed up the game plan exactly the way we wanted to. We had a few chances to score of our own. I think [Donovan] Ricketts made a few nice saves as well. It was definitely a playoff atmosphere game.”

On containing Portland’s wing play:
“They’re going to be dangerous. [Darlington Nagbe and Rodney Wallace] are both excellent players. With [Diego] Valeri and [Fanendo] Adi, it’s a dangerous foursome to deal with. We got the shutout. Our goalkeeper made a few very good saves to keep us in the game. But at the end of the day, a shutout on the road with our playoff mentality is exactly what we wanted.”

On Nick Rimando’s performance:
“Unbelievable. I mean, he’s been fantastic this year, all year for us. Always coming up with timely saves. I thought Luis Gil made a great save. Chris Wingert made a great save. When you have everyone getting each other’s backs and obviously Nicky holding down the fort, that’s a good thing. He’s an amazing goalkeeper and that’s what he does. He’s become such a solid goalkeeper that you think it’s supposed to happen all the time. We don’t want him to have to be like that all the time. But once in a while, on the road in tough conditions, a team that’s pushing, sending the kitchen sink, he came up big for us.”

Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando
On how he organized himself and his defense to deal with Portland’s attack:
“Yell a lot. Yell a lot for sure. Tonight was one of those games where I was constantly trying to organize. With one up top, we weren’t the best at handling their forward up top. [Diego] Valeri is just a handful that we have to find at all times. Just try to make sure the guys knew where guys were and marked up. If they got a cross off, make sure we were tight. That was the message at halftime and on the field.”

On having to rely on instinct when a defense breaks down:
“I think a lot of that comes down to natural instinct and reading the play and positioning. Being in the right place at the right time. Tonight, that’s what happened. Sometimes I was in the right place at the right time and read the ball a couple times in the first half. Cheated a little bit, but you have to when we give the counter attack up.”

Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman
On the difficulty of playing against a team that really attacks for 90 minutes:
“I would say more teams at home. But it always seems like that we have a fun game with Portland. They come out to play, we come out to play. Even 0-0’s are pretty exciting, which is good for the league. It’s just the style that both teams like which is good for the fans.”

On the midfield battle tonight:
“It was good. They’ve got three guys in there that can play, that are strong and a big part of their team. It’s always fun, always a challenge. They’ve got a three-man triangle and it kind of goes in and out of our diamond. Then they bring in their outside guys. They’re really creative and interchange a lot, which makes them really dangerous. So it’s always a challenge. It’s a cat and mouse game out there. They’re trying to catch us when we’re attacking and then we’re trying to catch them when they are. So it’s always good stuff from both teams.”

Notes:

  • With the draw, Portland regains fifth place in the Western Conference standings. Tied on points (46) with Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the Timbers have the edge in goal differential.
     
  • Portland has earned three consecutive shutouts at Providence Park in league play and four straight in all competitions, including a 6-0 win over Alpha United FC in CONCACAF Champions League group play.
     
  • The Timbers have not allowed a goal in 275 consecutive minutes in regular-season play at Providence Park.
     
  • Friday’s match marked the 11th all-time regular-season meeting between Portland and Real Salt Lake. With the draw, Portland improves its home record to 1-1-3 all-time against Real Salt Lake at Providence Park.
     
  • The Timbers extended their home-unbeaten streak against Real Salt Lake to three games (0-0-3), dating back to Aug. 21, 2013.
     
  • With the draw, Portland is unbeaten in seven consecutive matches against Western Conference opponents, dating back to Aug. 30.
     
  • Midfielder/forward Darlington Nagbe made the 126th appearance of his Timbers MLS career on Friday, moving him one game shy of tying former Timbers second-division midfielder Brian Winters (127 matches from 2001-05) for sixth place on the Timbers all-time appearances list across all eras.
     
  • With a capacity crowd of 20,814, Portland registered its 68th consecutive sellout at Providence Park. The Timbers have sold out every regular-season home game at Providence Park since 2011.
     
  • Portland’s 59 goals through 33 regular-season matches ranks third in the league.
     
  • The Timbers’ 18 second-half shots ranks second all-time in the team’s MLS history, trailing the team’s 19 second-half shots in a 2-2 draw against FC Dallas on June 11 and 19 first-half shots in a 3-3 draw against San Jose on Sept. 7.
     
  • Portland has earned at least one point in seven on its last eight regular-season games (4-1-3).
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