Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 1, Real Salt Lake 0 | Sept. 10, 2016

Portland Timbers Quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter

Overall thoughts on the match...
“I thought it was a gutsy win. We’ve had some games at home recently where we’ve had a larger margin of victory, this game it took a clean sheet. I think that’s important. It’s important to put up a clean sheet and to grind out a 1-0 result. Obviously, we should have scored a second and third goal [but] sometimes you don’t. If you don’t score it you have to buckle down and grind and put up a clean sheet and we did. I thought our guys played with a lot of heart today and gave everything in terms of the intangibles and that’s what it takes. That’s the difference in this league. In terms of talent, it’s pretty similar but it takes hunger. It takes the intangibles. It takes defending. Everyone. All 10 guys and I thought we got that today.”

On getting Darlington Nagbe back...
“He’s a big difference maker for us which is why last week I didn’t overanalyze the last game. There are times where you just have to throw a game away and you can’t overanalyze it because I knew Darlington and Alvas [Powell] would come back in and that would change a lot. But I thought, again, it wasn’t so much those two, it was the other guys performing today. That’s big. You need good performances across the board and we got that today. I thought we really played as a team. These guys gave everything they had and that’s what it’s going to take from here on out. But Darlington certainly was Darlington. [Diego] Valeri plays even better when Darlington’s there and Darlington plays better when Valeri’s there, so those two guys together, the way they come inside and find balls in pockets and rotate and help us keep possession. Then I thought Darren [Mattocks] had a really good game playing wide, looking to penetrate and being that third man running in our combination play. It wasn’t just his pace but it was his work rate, his defending, his fight. He’s a key guy for us on set pieces as well so that was kind of the reason why we went with him in this game.”

On the club’s home form...
“That's 10 wins now on the year. Our form at home has been better than ever and that’s the reason we are where we are at. Obviously we need to get the road form right. We know that but if we take care of business in the home games, we’re going to be in good shape. We know we can win on the road. We know it’s not a problem. It has been this year, the results, but we know how to win on the road. We’ve shown that the last two years but we don’t need to worry about that right now yet. We need to just win this next game at home and that was the goal, to get six points in the next 2 home games. The reason we play so well at home is we play aggressively, we play to attack, we play proactively [and] that was the goal today, just like last week. When we play that way, that’s when we’re at our best and we need to maybe take a page from our home book on the road. We tried that last week, for some reason it didn’t come off. Maybe it was having Darlington [Nagbe] and Alvas [Powell] not there but we’re at our best when we’re pressing from the front and we’re creating turnovers. We can be a good counter attacking team but we can’t be a counter attacking team for 90 minutes. We’re not good when we just sit deep for 90 minutes and you saw when we did sit a little too deep, that’s when [Real Salt Lake] gave us the most problems.  We need to keep playing on the front foot, pressing high up the pitch because when we do that, that’s when we’re at our best."

On Lucas Melano’s omission as a sub…
“Obviously we made the first [substitution] with Ned [Grabavoy] going in because we felt Ned would bring some possession. I let it run as long as we could because I felt like we were in good shape with the group that we had, the group that started. Sometimes as a coach you can make a [substitution] too early, just because you can. I thought we were in a good spot. I liked the group that we had out there.  Darren [Mattocks] was continuing to create but we knew he couldn’t play 90 because he had only played 45, being out seven weeks but he gave about 65 or so. He kept looking lively so we left him as long as we could. I was waiting the whole time because I had Ned and [Lucas] ready. If we would have given up the goal I would have gone Lucas and maybe taken out Jack [Jewsbury] and shifted Darlington [Nagbe] in. I had Ned ready as well because I also felt like if it kept going where we were up, going with Ned was better because he’s a good defender and keeps the ball for us. We weren’t getting a ton of possession. So, that was the first [substitution]. Then I kept Lucas ready after that along with [Ben] Zamanski because again you have to see how it goes and if they would have scored again, Lucas would have gone on again. I didn’t want to take [Diego] Valeri off too soon in case we needed to pull a goal back. So I waited and then obviously in stoppage time we had to go Jermaine [Taylor] for Alvas and we decided on Ben for Valeri to close it out. That’s the thought process behind it. I thought we had good patience with our subs today."

On possibility of playing a single pivot down the stretch...
“I think we can pull that out every once in a while but I think Darlington is playing awful well wide. When he plays in the middle, it’s interesting, because he ends up playing sometimes too deep and too conservative. Yea, he plays well but he plays well in any position. I’d like to play Darlington on both wings and play him everywhere. But with this group Jack Jewsbury brings set pieces, he brings leadership, he’s very good at getting the ball off the backs and helping us in the buildup and he's a smart positional player. The other thing is Jack allows us to push [Diego] Chara higher. Chara can now float around and hunt the ball and look to press. It helps our pressing because he gets higher. Then he’s very good on the counter, so once he picks up balls and runs or joins the attack he's good in that 8 role, so I think that’s been a good tactical shift. I think that’s the best way to go with this group. You can argue that all you want but this is a different team this year. We don’t have Rodney [Wallace]. We don’t have Jorge [Villafana]. Those two guys were very good defenders which helped kind of balance out a single pivot. I also think anytime you change something tactically sometimes like we did end of year you get a little bit of that initial impact and then teams start figuring it out. Which is why early in the year we went back to it and it wasn’t working. Everybody was bringing wingers in, overloading Chara. Then we don’t get Chara’s ability to go hunt the ball and float around and Darlington ends up having to come too deep to help and he never gets in the final third. These are all things we’ve talked about but we weren’t getting results out of that early in the year but who knows maybe we can still use it in certain games to throw a wrinkle in."

On Wednesday’s upcoming CCL match...
“We’re going to go and win it, that’s the goal. We understand what we need to do. Obviously the Dragon result, the draw versus Saprissa was a big result. If we win versus Saprissa and Dragon then we’re in. The very least if we beat Dragon and we get a draw in both other games, the road game and the home game, then we’re through. If we lose, obviously to Saprissa then we have to win the next two. It becomes a crucial game to pull out a win if you can because then that last game doesn’t matter if you can beat Dragon and Dragon is out. It’ll be interesting to see how they approach the game. We’re going to go there with a good plan to try and get three points so that we can maybe win against Dragon and not have to worry about the last week of the season. If it doesn’t go that way we know that we still can win the next two and get through. No matter what happens I like our chances in that last game at home regardless."

Portland Timbers forward Fanendo Adi
On his success in scoring against Real Salt Lake...
“I think I just go into the game believing I can help the team win. I thought we played very well back to front. We stepped up really high, we got the goal from a step up and I think [that] was important, but the goals sometimes just come and I was just lucky to be in the right place at the right time.”

On what he saw in the play leading up to the goal...
“Just instincts. I saw when the cross was coming and I was just there. Obviously, he could miss it and then he missed it. I was right in front of the goal but I think I could take a shot with my left foot but I wasn’t very sure of it so I had to bring it back to my right and it was a comfortable one.”

On taking a second touch in front of the goal...
“Sometimes in front of the goal you have to be very composed because you see the goal but you can miss it. So, I took my time to see where the goalie was standing and had to just kicked it in. I think it was an easy one.”

On if the team should have scored more...
“Definitely. We played well. We had a couple more chances but as the coach said, sometimes you don’t get a second [goal], but I think all together we did pretty well today.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Darren Mattocks
On his return to Providence Park after suffering an injury on July 10…
“Yeah, it was great to be back. I felt really comfortable out there. I enjoyed the game very much. The defense could tell that, I think. It was a great team performance tonight. It was what we expected, so we’ve just got to keep pushing.”

On how he was able to affect the game on both sides of the ball…
“I was really surprised that I did so well for 70 minutes. As I said, it was my first game back for two and a half months I think. So to come in and do so well, so early, I was really comfortable but we just have to keep pushing. I think the team did a fantastic job and I think everyone is bought in, not just the guys who started the game. The guys who came in and the guys who didn’t even play. Come playoff time, we’re going to need everyone and I think we showed that tonight.”

On the combination between the Timbers front four…
“I enjoy playing with those guys. I think Darlington and I have an understanding from Akron. With Valeri and Adi, we catch on pretty quickly. I think we all understand how each and every one plays, so I think it just falls naturally. I think we’ve got that family team sprit about us, so whenever we play we just look in sync, and I guess that showed tonight.”

Portland Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson
On the win against Real Salt Lake…
“Obviously it’s a big win, in terms of the points and we had to bounce back after last week. So, for me, it’s huge. It’s a step in the right direction. It’s a step in the right direction in the table and obviously as a team it’s huge.”

On the team’s defensive performance…
“It’s just a testament to the boys tonight. They were fantastic, the back four. They really didn’t give them that clear of any chances, so it made my job a lot easier. So, I think we’re finally finding a rhythm back there and I think we’ll be more consistent the further we go on, the more games we play. Tales (Steven Taylor) has been great and obviously having Ridgy (Liam Ridgewell) back has been huge.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe
On the team’s performance…
“We had a great first half, had some great opportunities in both halves. We defended pretty well overall. It was a good performance, happy to get the win and the shutout.”

On his threatening performance throughout the match…
“It was just space, you know. I try to take what they give me. There was a little space and a lot of pockets and of course the movement of (Diego) Valeri, (Fanendo) Adi and the other midfielders help as well.”

Real Salt Lake Quotes

Real Salt Lake head coach Jeff Cassar

On what Portland was able to do tonight that made the difference against Real Salt Lake…
“I think they started the game very aggressive, very direct. I thought we handled it pretty well. We knew exactly what they were going to do. [Fanendo] Adi is a handful for anyone. They have two centerbacks that deliver a very nice ball into him. So I think we were prepared for it. I think the first goal was a little bit unlucky to be fair. They shoot, it deflects off our player and Adi is in a great position to put it away. Then after that we settled down and I think it was just a battle out there. Neither team was giving much up. It had a playoff feel to it. It had the physicality of the playoffs that’s going to happen. At the end of the day, we just weren’t really sharp enough in the final third to give ourselves the opportunities. We had a couple half chances. I don’t think we were prepared to take them, mentally. We would leave here down 1-0 and come back home and take care of business there. I do like the fight our team had and the commitment was there. We were a little off tonight.”

On Chris Schuler’s return to the starting lineup…
“Pretty good. Pretty good. Again, [Portland’s] front four are very dangerous. They cause a lot of problems underneath and in behind. I thought he was pretty dang good tonight.”

On the challenges Adi presents to the Real Salt Lake defense…
“Listen, he’s a very good player and when he wants to work extremely hard, he causes problems for any defense. I do think he gets away with some stuff. But you have to give him credit for trying to. He is very physical and puts himself in good positions. It was more about position tonight to him scoring the goal rather than them breaking us down or anything like that because it deflected off our player right to him and he took it well.”

On Javier Morales’ injury…
“Right now, it’s a quad injury. I don’t know to what level, but it was a quad injury. I don’t know exactly what happened. I’m anticipating it was when he took the free kick. But I have not spoke to him since the game ended.”

On Sunny’s performance and return to the team…
“I thought he and Kyle [Beckerman] did well. I don’t think he turned the ball over very much, was in good positions defensively. We talked about being in good shape and I thought we were for the most part. It was a massive step forward for him to get back to full strength and this was his first MLS game. A pretty tough environment, pretty tough team to come back and I thought both him and Kyle did a solid job. It just makes us deeper. Obviously when people pick up injuries, you need people to step in. We have to see how [Morales] is doing in there, but getting healthy is extremely important and having depth is extremely important.”

On the confusion at the end of the game with Alvas Powell down injured and play not being stopped by the ref…
“To be honest with you, I don’t know. Obviously we’re a very classy team, but I think that whole little period wasn’t probably handled the right way. I mean, he went down, got up, got down, got up. So we’re going to play until the whistle goes, until the referee tells us what to do. There could have been a little bit of confusion there, but to be honest with you I really don’t know.”

Real Salt Lake defender Chris Schuler
On what makes Fanendo Adi so difficult to mark…
“I think first thing is physicality. He’s tall, strong, fast, and he’s intelligent. He makes good runs. He knows his strengths, plays to his strengths and he’s technical. He’s able to do stuff on the ball, makes him a well-rounded player.”

On making his return to the Real Salt Lake starting lineup…
“I definitely didn’t want to do anything stupid. I definitely wanted to take a step forward. That’s trying to play simple, trying to play fast, trying not to make any critical mistakes, not get beat on dead balls, not get caught on the ball coming out of the back. That kind of stuff. Because that’ll make it a step back. I was able to make a step forward, which is very positive. My body feels good which is honestly the most important part after playing on this turf. I feel good. Did okay. The loss was unfortunate. We gave up a goal. We’re always focused on shutouts, but generally it was a solid performance I think.”

On the growing intensity in this matchup and playing on the road against the Timbers…
“I think Portland is one of the top environments in the league. They get a lot of fans. I think they’re one of the few teams that actually plays off the fans, which is pretty cool. Playing on the road in Portland is difficult.”

Real Salt Lake forward Yura Movsisyan
On how Portland was able to stop Real Salt Lake’s service to him up front…
“They were compact. They did a good job of covering for each other and not giving us the space we usually want and need.”

On whether he thought there was a point Real Salt Lake was getting close to an equalizer and if Javier Morales made a big difference…
“Second half. Obviously [Morales] brings a lot of experience. Then we just as a team started stepping up higher, pressing up higher and dealing better with the balls we had. We didn’t lose it as much as we did in the first half.”

Notes:

  • Sunday’s game marked the 100th consecutive regular-season sellout for the Timbers at Providence Park. The club has sold out every one of its regular-season home games dating back to its first home game in MLS on April 4, 2011.
     
  • Portland has scored a goal in every home regular-season match this season, joining the Philadelphia Union as the only MLS teams to score in each of their home games this season.
     
  • Portland leads MLS in goals scored at home (32) this season.
     
  • Portland recorded its 10th win at home in 2016, which ranks tied for the most home wins in MLS with FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls. With the win, the Timbers are now just one win shy of matching their club MLS record of 11 home victories during the 2013 season.
     
  • The Timbers are unbeaten in their last eight regular-season matches against Real Salt Lake. The eight-match unbeaten run is tied for the longest streak against any MLS opponent for the Timbers, originally set against Vancouver Whitecaps FC from Aug. 20, 2011 to Oct. 6, 2013.
     
  • Forward Fanendo Adi scored his 14th goal of the season, tying him with Montreal's Ignacio Piatti for the fourth-most goals in MLS this season.
     
  • Adi has scored seven career goals against Real Salt Lake, which ties his scoring output against Seattle Sounders FC for the most goals scored by a Timbers player against a single MLS club.
     
  • Adi's four goals this season against Real Salt Lake are tied for the most goals scored by any MLS player against a single opponent.
     
  • The shutout was the fifth of the season for both Jake Gleeson and the Portland Timbers. 
     
  • The victory was Portland’s 50th at home in six MLS seasons.
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