George Fochive, Timbers vs. SKC, 9.9.15
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 0, Sporting Kansas City 0 | Sept. 9, 2015

Portland Timbers Quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter

On his reaction to tonight’s game…
“We played extremely well, did everything we wanted to do in the game. The game played out exactly like we thought it would play out. They had long throw-ins, a few little half chances. So from a defensive standpoint, I thought we were exceptional and we had more clear chances than we probably have had in any game all year. We had three or four breakaways. We should have scored.”

On what his message to the team was…
“The same message I’m telling you guys. Should have won. Should have scored. Played well. Did everything right except finish. Game plan, execution. I knew our preparation was good. I told them before game it would come down to the moments and finishing. We weren’t able to score and we should have. We didn’t just get half chances, we had clear chances. You have to credit their goalkeeper of course. But we also made him look good on a few of those. When you have breakaways where you are 1-v-1 with the keeper those are the ones that you get kind of disappointed with. We move on, we stay level with Kansas City and we go three points away from San Jose. Again, last two games were very good I thought from start to finish both sides of the ball, except for the finishing. I’m confident that the quality is there. If you don’t have the quality, if you don’t have the talent, if you aren’t getting chances then you are worried. But I’m confident the quality is there, the talent is there, we are getting chances, were defended very well, two of our most complete games in all honesty back to back. But we are missing that final touch, to goal. Scoring goals is the hardest thing to do in the game and that’s the difference in winning and not winning and that’s the piece that we have to get sorted.”

On if the finishing and scoring difficulties might be a mental thing…
“Sometimes when you are not generating chances it can be mental because you are not getting chances and you get frustrated. These guys are confident. You can see it. Anybody who watched this game you can see these guys don’t look tense. I didn’t think they looked uncomfortable in those moments. A few of them were rushed, a few of them were a little bit better decision, going far post instead of near post type of thing, a few of them were great saves. I know against Seattle we had 20 shots and this game we had 18, but I think the chances we got in this game were more clear cut. We are not leaving the match as a negative. There’s always pressure to score. It’s a part of the game. These guys will leave feeling like we did everything right except finish and the players that were in those positions will I think be very hungry to make sure the next time they are in those positions that they score.”

On the play of Taylor Peay and George Fochive…
“Taylor and George, these are second-year players. I know there is a lot of talk around the league when young guys step in. I think George is a guy that has not been talked about much this year. I think he deserves a lot of credit for the season that he’s had and he’s stepped in and how he’s played. I thought he was exceptional, playing against some of the best center-mids. I thought George was aggressive, winning balls, clean on the ball. Then Taylor he was going against a U.S. international, World Cup player. I thought Taylor did a good job of limiting his chances and had a great game. So it’s a real positive those two youngsters, getting in and putting in a real positive shift.”

On what has been the catalyst to creating more chances recently in games…
“I think we are just playing aggressively. We are preparing very well. We’ve had more time. We were in that window where we were rotating lineups and not much training. We’ve really been pushing dominant football where we want to be in the front half and push games, but also we are still prepping to make sure we are prepared in the back half. We are playing aggressively and that’s the way we want to play. My belief is that when you play that way you get chances and you increase your chances of winning, but you do have to finish. For us to get 38 shots in the last two games and not score a goal from the run of play, we can’t be satisfied with that.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On the performance of the team…
“We are disappointed about [not scoring] because we know our performance was really good. It was a tough game. [It was] very aggressive [and] very hard. We created a lot of chances. We know that to get three points to win the game you have to score and you have to defend that goal. We know that. We will keep working on that. We can’t say more than that. We have to be cleaner, but I’m glad about the performance.”

On finishing the chances…
“Soccer is a special game. Sometimes you create one situation and you score and sometimes you create a lot and you don’t. We’ll keep working in that way because we played really well against a very competitive team who is fighting with us to make the playoffs. We will keep working on that.”

On how the team focuses on the positive takeaways from the match…
“[In] being realistic. We see that we made a lot of good [chances]. They didn’t score too and they created less [opportunities] than us. We will keep working and keep training. It’s the final race and the final time of the season. We will fight. We are there.”

On what he takes away from the strong defensive performance…
“I’m glad about that because soccer is, for me, just one thing. [It’s about] defending the goal. We have very balanced defending and are creating chances because we’re defending well. I think in this part of the season when the points are very important the defense is the most important thing for a team. If we are defending well, we will get more points.”

On taking his chances…
“You have to think about that moment. You have to do what the situation is asking [of you]. You have to think and do things before the games. You have to be there and when the situation turns into something you have to do it. I don’t want to say more about the finishing because I’m 100 percent sure that if we create chances and we defend well, like we are doing, we will get more points.”

Portland Timbers defender Taylor Peay
On his thoughts in defending forward Graham Zusi coming into the match…
“I was excited more than anything. He is a class player and I tried not to focus on that. I just tried to do my thing and defend. It was fun. It was a good matchup.”

On what it means to have been a part of a clean sheet in his first MLS home start…
“It’s something to build on. We’re excited for the rest of the year.”

On what his mentality was when Sporting Kansas City attempted to isolate him…
“Don’t let [Zusi] beat me, simple as that. Don’t let him beat me. Try to win the ball and give it to guys up top.”

Portland Timbers midfielder George Fochive
On pairing with midfielder Jack Jewsbury the past two games and their relationship…
“It’s been very good. I’m very comfortable with him. His experience helps me a lot to understand positioning and the anticipation of plays, which is really important in our position. He’s really comfortable on the ball and he makes me feel comfortable. So, I’m comfortable and we just have to do the rest. Be aggressive, try and win balls and help the team as much as I can.”

On the team’s performance…
“We had a lot of chances and we were very aggressive on them. We didn’t give them much. Unfortunately, we didn’t find the goal to win the game but that happens in this sport. We just have to keep playing the way we’re playing.”

On stepping up in big environments in his second year as a professional player…
“I think it just comes from the spirit of this team. It doesn’t matter if I’m a young player. If I’m asked to do the job on game day, I have to do it. I just have to match up with the intensity even with the older guys. I think the nerves are gone for me, it’s just about getting prepared.”

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes

On the match…
“First, I’d say it’s probably a fair result. I think both of us had chances. I thought our goalkeeper was very good in the game. I thought he made one really big save. A lot of stuff, even though it was around the goal, was to him. There were a lot of headers that were to him but the one save he made in the second half where he had a one-on-one was a big save. We were a little unlucky when we hit the post. So back and forth I thought the game was pretty good. I thought the game had a good rhythm. I thought it was an entertaining game for both teams and like I said I think it’s a fair result. I would say it’s a very similar game when they came to us earlier in the season, we played a very similar game.”

On if Sporting Kansas City has figured out how to score against the Timbers in the next match on Oct. 3…
“No, I don’t think any of us at this point look at it that way. There are no surprises at this point of the season when you’re playing against anybody, whether we’re playing against Portland or anybody else. We’ve all seen each other play enough, I think it has to do with the intensity of the game and a few things falling your way at times. I think both sides would be very proud of the fact that both teams were intense, both teams played well, the energy was good in the game. It’s not like you look and say ‘that guy played really poorly in the game’. I think both teams would say it was pretty fair.”

Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler
On the match…
“This is always a very difficult place to play. It was a hard-fought draw. I tell you the real winner today is the city of Portland. Every time we come here it gets harder to leave. I bet you guys put something in the water.”

On goalkeeper Tim Melia’s performance…
“Where do you start with Tim’s performance tonight? It’s definitely a team performance. Everybody put in the effort, the guys in front of us but the guy behind me was incredible. He made three or four highlight reel saves that kept us in the game. Without him I don’t know if we get a point tonight but that’s what we expect out of him. We believe he’s one of the best goalkeepers in the league.”

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia
On the overall performance…
“I’m just happy we got the result. We came here and we’ve been on a couple rough games. We’ve lost three on the trot. I think it was really important for us to come in here and get back to basics. For us, the most important thing is keeping zeros. We don’t get scored on we have enough quality players on this team to grind out results. I think all things considered I’m really happy with the way the guys played tonight.”

On if Portland has a reputation on making goalkeepers perform their career bests…
“I don’t think it’s that. You want to have your best game every game. You want to do whatever you can to make sure you’re putting your team in the best situation to win a game but it’s a fun place to play. It has a good atmosphere and I think the guys get excited to play in environments like this. I know I do.”

Notes:

  • Wednesday’s crowd of 21,144 was the team’s 82nd consecutive home sellout at Providence Park since 2011. Portland has sold out all of its regular-season home games since joining MLS.
     
  • Portland registered its league-leading 12th shutout of the season on Wednesday.
     
  • With the result, the Timbers extended their regular-season home unbeaten streak to 10 consecutive matches (6-0-4) at Providence Park, dating back to May 2. The run is the longest active home unbeaten streak in MLS and the second longest of the season.
     
  • The Timbers are tied for the fewest home losses (1) during the 2015 season.
     
  • Portland has put together a 7-1-6 overall home record this season and has lost just two home games (11-2-8) in their last 21 regular-season games, dating back to the 2014 season.
     
  • Goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey made two saves and leads the league with 12 clean sheets.
     
  • Kwarasey's 12 shutouts place him in a tie for third for the Timbers single-season record across all eras with USL Timbers goalkeeper Steve Cronin. Kwarasey is two shutouts shy of the single-season record of 14 held by Donovan Ricketts (2013) and Josh Wicks (2007).
     
  • The Timbers lead all teams with 34 shutouts since the start of the 2013 MLS season.
     
  • With the draw, Portland extended its home unbeaten streak against teams from the Western Conference to 14 consecutive games (6-0-8), dating back to Sept. 7, 2014.
     
  • Defender Taylor Peay made his first home start for Portland on Wednesday, making a game-high five tackles.
     
  • Defender Norberto Paparatto earned his fifth start of the season on Wednesday, while midfielder George Fochive recorded his seventh career start for Portland. 
     
  • Portland improved its all-time record against Sporting Kansas City to 2-3-2 overall since 2011. The Timbers have lost just once (1-1-2) in their last four regular-season matches against SKC.
     
  • Over the last 16 games, Portland has registered an 8-4-4 record (28pts), which ranks as one of the best in the league over that span.
     
  • The Timbers were without regular defenders Liam Ridgewell (caution accumulation), Alvas Powell (international duty) and midfielders Will Johnson (international duty) and Diego Chara (red card suspension) for Wednesday’s match.
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