Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 1, LA Galaxy 2 | July 23, 2016

Portland Timbers Quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
On what happened the first 15 minutes of the match…
“Moments. Situations that happen every game. A lot of goals come off of crosses. Set pieces and counters probably when you look at and dissect goals and how they happen. That’s the top three ways that they happen. You train for it every week. You talk about it every game. It comes down to making plays in those moments. For me this further reinforces when you strip down a soccer game, what decides a result. Obviously the better you play the more positions you are in to create goals and score goals, which we did. It was 19 shots to eight, something like that. The better you play, the less positions the opponent is in to score. But ultimately the result comes down to one thing, and that’s the boxes and making plays. They made one more play than us even though we had twice as many chances. That’s just the reality of today. Both of those situations are situations that aren’t unique. They are simple plays. Obviously good players for them made those plays. So you have to credit them. If we head that ball out no one even remembers the play. We had a handful of the exact same play on the day, so if we get the cross right and the run right, we score and then the whole result is different. So that is ultimately the only difference today, is they made one more play in the boxes because we played better box to box than they did. We created more chances, the stats show that. But we made a couple of mistakes in moments. The good news is when you look at the overall performance, we were better today. But we didn’t get the result because we made some mistakes in and around boxes.”

On if being thin on the wing contributed to difficulty of breaking down the Galaxy…
“No, because when you look at the flow of the game and you look at the trend of us getting in more positions even though they were up early we got in way more positions than they did to create. They had three shots on goal and they scored two goals. So we played well enough to win the game. And as a coach I have to look at that. If I’m them, on one side I’m feeling good because I got three points, but I’m also feeling like, man we didn’t play that well. And ultimately they didn't create a ton, but you are happy because [Gyasi] Zardes pulls off a play and [Robbie] Keane pulls of a play and a lot of times that’s what it comes down to, but if I’m them I’m thinking, ‘how are we this week going to make sure we play better?’ What I’m thinking is, ‘how are we going to stop a couple more plays?’ Those are routine and ultimately that’s the only difference in the game. We created enough. We were in positions. We got in more positions than they did, far more, and ultimately one more moment, they won, and that’s it.”

On if there wasn’t enough urgency early in the game…

“Not at all. That’s something when you give an early goal people will say, ‘you didn’t start strong,’ not the case. You re-watch it. We started strong. It’s like any soccer game; we are sniffing their goal and getting the ball. They’re sniffing ours. First two chances they got are goals. It has nothing to do with anything, other than we’ve got to do better to pick up the guy on the end of the cross. It’s just that simple. It’s hard for people to understand that because when you strip down a soccer game it’s a very cruel in terms of moments. The example I always use in basketball is how many times do guys get beat for baskets? Every play. In soccer, you get beat in one moment, one play, and you lose the game a lot of times. Sometimes you don’t make those plays. Ultimately what you want in your preparation is to put your team in more positions than the opponent. If you’ve done that then you are feeling pretty good about your performance but you are not feeling good about the result today because with three shots on goal they scored two goals.”

On the positives you can take away from the game…
“The positive is simple, again, we’ve played better than they did and the stats showed that. We had far more chances. I can’t remember a chance they had second half. The one half-chance where Keane hit it off a volley. Other than that they had nothing. That’s a positive. The negative is we lose this game and lose three points because we lose a couple of plays that really should not be given up.”

On if it’s easier to prevent those types of mistakes when you are healthier on the backline…
“No doubt. Obviously you put quality in positions to make plays. When you look at Zardes, he’s a U.S. Men’s National Team player, he pulled off a play, off the end of a pretty good run from [Emmanuel] Boateng, who is a nice young player. First goal, [Giovani] dos Santos gets a cross in and Keane pulls off the shoulder. Again, going back to how simple this game is. As a team box to box and the better you play you get in more positions, but then it’s players in moments that make plays. That’s attackers and defenders and ultimately quality in those positions in those moments is what the game comes down to.”

Portland Timbers defender Zarek Valentin
On his second career MLS goal…
“At the end of the day, it’s bittersweet. I wish we would have gotten the result today. I think we deserved a better result. They kind of got goals off of little half-chances. Once you go down early in the game, it’s tough to come back from that. I think we put a great step forward. We had them pinned back the whole second half, but if we give up two goals early in the game then it’s going to be tough to come back from that.”

On if he felt the Timbers were on the brink of tying the game in the second half…
“I did for a little bit. I felt that we had them on the ropes. We had a few good chances; Darlington had a good look. I think we crushed them in possession. They had one little half-chance with Robbie Keane. Overall, we could feel it coming. If the game was five or 10 minutes longer, we would have gotten a result.”

Portland Timbers defender Jermaine Taylor
On his overall impressions of the match…
“We dominated a lot of possession, but we never got the ball in the back of the net. We gave up a soft goal, which we could have done a lot better with. Nevertheless, we have to look at the positive side. We played well, but we never got the goal. It’s just about taking the next step forward towards the next game.” 

On taking away the positives from this match…
“I thought we created some good plays, but like I said before, we need to get the ball in the back of the net. It’s difficult because whenever a team is sitting back, organized, it’s going to be hard to break them down. I think we fought and dug deep. It’s just about getting the final end product.”

Portland Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson
On what he thinks happened after LA took a 2-0 lead…
“I think it was those two moments. A big part of defending is picking guys up in the box and making those plays. It took us a little while to get going and we didn’t make the plays we needed. The second goal was pretty unlucky with the deflection, but at the end of the day you’ve got to make those plays.”

On taking away the positives from the match…
“Definitely. To go two goals down after 10 minutes, other teams would lose that fight or desire to win, but the boys were unbelievable for the next 80 minutes. [LA] barely touched the ball. We pressed and we had chances and Zarek [Valentin] put away a good goal. We were just unlucky to get another win.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Lucas Melano
On his overall impressions of the game…
“We played very well, but we started the game with a few bad moments. The first 10 minutes weren’t good when they scored their two goals; the game is different because we were losing 2-0. We still played and scored a goal, but we couldn’t create the second goal in the second half. We can’t make the same mistakes that we made in the opening minutes of the match because the end of the match is so different. You train one way and then everything is different when you fall behind like that. This game is finished and we have another one next week.”

LA Galaxy Quotes

LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena
On the difficulties of the second half versus the first…
“It was a tough week for us. It’s our third game in a short period of time. The heat in the second half is probably 25 degrees hotter in the second half with the skies opening up, the sun out and the turf. That was difficult for our group. We had four guys who played on Wednesday. So that wasn’t easy. We knew it was going to be a little ugly and then the field got tough to play on. Give [Portland] credit. They pushed for the goal. I think our biggest mistake in the game was conceding a goal at the end of the first half. We could have been in a position to… I wouldn’t say sail through the game, but deal with it a little bit better in the second half.”

On Brian Rowe’s performance over the last few games…
“He’s been good. He’s a young goalkeeper. At 28 years old, which is still young for a goalkeeper, but young in experience. I think when Dan Kennedy got hurt and [Rowe] had this run of games, it was critically important. I think that a good turn in form for him was in Montreal where we lost the game at the end of the game. We’ve lost our three games this year, two of them in the 95th minute. He made a mistake and we stuck with him and gave him confidence. Since then he’s really taken off, I think and played quite well. He continues to grow. He’s athletic, which you can see. He’s beginning to read the game well and he’s made some big saves.”

On if his team is getting better at managing games on the road…
“Yes. You need me to tell you that? Just look at… we’re doing that. Again, we’ve played two games 95 minutes that we lost in the 95th minute that should have been 92, 93 minute games. So we’ve played basically every game on the road this year we’ve had a chance to win the game or get a point. It’s not just recently. This is the whole season, we’ve been pretty good. We’re a little unfortunate in Montreal with the mistake at the end of the game and Colorado in the 95th minute as well. This isn’t anything new. We have a good, experienced group. I think [A.J. DeLaGarza] does a tremendous job with our guys in the back. When Ashley Cole’s in there, it really helps. The experienced players. Getting Nigel [De Jong] back is going to help. We have an experienced group of guys that if we need to protect a lead, we can protect a lead. I tell you, today, you could see the guys that played on Wednesday struggled over the last 20-30 minutes and we knew that was going to happen. We hung in there and that’s the most important thing.”


LA Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe
On his growth coming into this game…
“As a goalkeeper, you don’t really dictate your game. You’re kind of are reactionary to what’s going on in front of you. I guess the nerves before a game are what you’re going to face during the game and are you going to make the saves. I think that Montreal game, having it be the last kick of the game and having the result fall on me like that, it’s definitely one of the biggest lows you can get as a goalkeeper. But the response around me from my teammates and the coaches having my back and supporting me and coming up and talking to me and just showing me that they still had confidence and still trusted me. So I think putting that behind me and moving on, just kind of getting into a good rhythm after that.”

On if the Galaxy are getting better at playing on the road…
“Of course. Mentally is the biggest difference. Once you get that confidence in a group of guys and start knowing that we’ve closed it out before, we can do this, it’s huge for us. We show a lot of grit, determination. On set pieces, getting back and defending. In the last 20 minutes they had the most position and were really coming back. We had [Robbie] Keane coming back, Gyasi [Zardes] coming back, all these guys defending for us. It was really a great team effort tonight.”

On his save one-versus-one with Fanendo Adi in the second half…
“That’s just one of the ones you try and get a good jump on. If I had been a split second too late, probably would have been a [penalty kick]. One of those ones you just kind of trust yourself and if you’re going, you’re going and turned out to be a good play. It's all reactionary. Just trying to get a good jump and hope you're able to make the play. I think he may have gotten the ball right before me and then just put it right into my stomach and I think he just fell over me.”

LA Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes
On the chemistry with players coming in and out of the team…
“The key thing is chemistry as you said, but I feel like as games go on, we’re developing a better sense for each other, as far as Robbie Keane, [Giovani dos Santos], myself and even [Emmanuel Boateng]. Just the four attacking players going forward. I thought we worked well together, especially in the first half. It’s difficult, but you use the training sessions before the game to prepare. You use those training sessions to get used to each other.”

On if the Galaxy planned to try and get an early lead…
“We wanted to definitely come out aggressive and I thought we did that. We didn’t know what the second half had in hand, but the sun came out, turf got hotter, but I thought the substitutions were phenomenal. The guys who came on, which was great and amazing and it worked well for us.”

On if the early goals helped take the pressure off the team after a long week…
“You know, getting those two goals early in the game, it plays a toll on the home team. It helps the game slow down a little bit. As you can see, [Portland] was very eager to try to move forward and get the ball in play quickly, but we tried to kill off the game. I thought the two goals in the first half were key.”

Notes:

  • Saturday’s game marked the 97th consecutive regular-season sellout for the Timbers at Providence Park.
     
  • Defender Zarek Valentin scored his first goal for the Timbers, marking his second goal in MLS and his first since July 8, 2012.
     
  • Valentin is the 11th different player to score for the Timbers this season. Only three MLS teams have had more players score in 2016 (Colorado Rapids, New York City FC, and Philadelphia Union).
     
  • With Valentin's goal, 40 different players have scored for the Portland Timbers since 2011.
     
  • Midfielder Darlington Nagbe notched his fourth assist of the season, becoming the third Timbers player this season with at least four assists, as Lucas Melano and Diego Valeri have recorded five assists apiece. Portland is one of five MLS teams to have three players with four or more assists this season.  
     
  • Nagbe became the first MLS player since Opta began recording statistics in 2011 to record a perfect passing accuracy in the final third of the field with at least 30 passes attempted. 
     
  • Since 2011, the Timbers and Galaxy have scored 54 goals in their matchups, marking the highest goal output for any matchup in MLS since 2011.
     
  • Neither team received cards during the match, marking the first time since Oct. 26, 2013, that neither team received a yellow or red card during a game against one another.
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