Team huddle, Timbers vs. KC, 4.15.17
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 0, Sporting Kansas City 1 | Apr. 15, 2017

Portland Timbers Quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter

On his evaluation of the game…
“I think the game went kind of how we thought it would go. When you are playing KC, it’s not going to be this pretty game with flow and rhythm. We knew playing them, because we’ve seen it in a lot of other games, that’s not the way the game goes. Obviously if you can get ahold of the ball a little bit more, certainly I did think we were a little bit, at times, sloppy with possession, but it’s a little bit more credit to them and how they play and how tight they get to you. So you’ve got to figure out other ways because you can’t always pass the ball up the field and have a game where there is rhythm and flow. Ultimately, you have to give them credit. They are a good team. Every game has different challenges. We knew the challenges we would have in this game in terms of breaking down the opponent and I thought there were times we could have done better in getting around them wide. A couple of times I thought we were in a good spot to break through and score, but we just weren’t able to find that final ball or that final cross. It’s an even game. If you look at the shots were even, the possession was even. But they obviously found a goal and we credit them. What I will say though was it was the perfect ref for how they played today, the perfect ref. With a different day with a different ref, it’s a lot different game with the fouls that are called and all that. But that’s a part of every game as well. The officials. The conditions. We've got to find ways to wins games when things aren’t going our way. Part of that is putting the game on our terms. Part of that is finding a way to win, no matter what. Part of that is managing the emotions of what’s happening in the game and keeping your composure. We have another opponent coming up next week that is going to be similar from the standpoint of they want to chop up the rhythm. They want to get a lot of body contact all the time. Every team is different. Every opponent is different. Every game is different. We have to find ways to win games when we are not able to get rhythm. When we are not able to get as much control as we want. But that’s a very good team. This game will help us. We will learn from it and, like I said, we have a chance next weekend to show that we’ve learned some lessons in this type of soccer game.”

On what the team needed to do to break down KC’s midfield…
“Obviously with their three holding mids basically flattening out and with their back four that block of seven and their wingers getting tucked in too, it’s basically a block of nine. Definitely when we gave up the goal it was a block of nine. That’s a lot of numbers. You watch the highest level games in the world when a team puts that type of numbers it’s not easy. You have to get width to pull apart those two lines. You have to try to get in the layers. You have to get your outside backs forward. Like I said, it was pretty even in terms of the chance creation. Both teams pretty even in possession. We played a good team. A very good team. We’ve got to find ways to win these types of games, it’s that simple. And how do you win this type of game? You keep your composure. You find a bit of quality. You score off a set piece. You’ve got to find that precision in the final third. There’s no magic formula how you do that. More width obviously. You get more width then maybe you find more gaps central. I just didn’t think we found quite enough."

On the close games historically between Portland and KC…
"Yes, I think last year we beat them 3-0 the last time we played them here prior to this game. But, yes I think it’s been pretty even, back and forth. Usually 1-0 either way. They’ve gotten us a few times more than that and we’ve gotten them a few times more than that. I think when you just have two good teams that are evenly matched then it becomes a tighter game. Especially when you have two teams that aren’t going to give an inch. They are organized. They get tight to you. They are strong mentally. I think I said it on the broadcast at halftime, it’s going to be a one-goal game either way and it’s going to probably come from a mistake. We made a mistake. We gave up a goal. Other than that it was a pretty even game. But we have to learn from the conditions of this game. The way it played out. The emotion of the game, and we have to keep our composure better and find that bit of quality to unlock them."

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On his thoughts on the match…
“It wasn’t the result we wanted and it wasn’t the game we wanted to play. It was tough. There was a lot of fight, and a little bit of soccer. We tried to push in the last 30 minutes, after their goal, and we couldn’t find the goal to tie the game. They played well in the second half and we couldn’t find a goal, and that was the difference.”

On finding chances to score in a game where there aren’t many…
“Try to score with a couple of the chances you have because that’s the secret of soccer. If we would score one out of the [chances] we created, the game would change. We couldn’t and it was a big one in this game. In the second half, they scored and we couldn’t. In a game as even as this one was that’s the difference.”

On whether or not the confidence of the team is down…
“No. Besides the result, we are confident in our quality and unity. Obviously it wasn’t the result we want, but it’s a long season. We’re going to fight. We have a long way to work.”

Portland Timbers forward Fanendo Adi
Overall thoughts on the match…
“It was just an up and down game. We didn’t have the flow of the game. Kansas City came in with a pretty good plan to press very high. I think that’s what they did, but we gave up some balls and the goal came out of nowhere. They took advantage of some mistakes and credit to them. They came to play their own type of game. They didn’t let us play our football.”

On dealing with the choppiness of the match…
“It was a very choppy game. They came to interrupt, destroy and just commit fouls. We had a lot of fouls, but they weren’t called. Credit to them. That was their game plan, and they executed it. Of course for us we wanted to play, but we didn’t have the opportunity to play. We needed to adjust a little bit in the second half, but it was still choppy up and down. We’ll learn from it. We believe the next game is going to be pretty much the same, but it’s good we had the test today.”

Sporting Kansas City Quotes

Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes

General thoughts on the match…
“I thought we played very well. I thought from the opening whistle we came to play. We worked really hard and also thought we were very intelligent in the game. We managed the moments of the game really, really well. There’s no doubt. It’s good because we play in a very similar environment in our place and it helps you understand that with the crowd, it can make the game very emotional. I thought our guys managed the game really, really well and that’s not an easy thing to do over the course of 90 minutes playing away from home. Getting a shutout was huge. Tim [Melia] made a huge save off that shot from [Darlington] Nagbe.”

On slowing down Portland’s attack…
“I never really think of it that way. I understand the question. I get it. I look at it like this: I said this all week long, [Portland] is the best team going forward in the league right now. They execute. We know that they’re coming in arguably the best team in the league. So for us to come in here, it was going to be a massive game and we walk away with a massive three points. But make no mistake about it, we came to play. We didn’t just sit back or whatever. We also managed the moments of the game and when I talk about that, I mean the time, the score of the game, all those types of things. I think we did a really good job.”

On the success of Sporting Kansas City’s defense…
“Everyone always talks about the goalkeeper and the backline, don’t get me wrong, they’re doing well. But it’s really a team idea. When we don’t have the ball, how do we win it back? How do we stay organized, how do we not unbalance ourselves. I thought our commitment was excellent. I also thought, late in the game, it’s normal. You’re away from home, you’re winning and the other team is now going to send numbers forward. At that moment, you’re going to have to use your instincts and I thought, at those moments instinctively, I thought we were very good. We made very good decisions. And again, we didn’t lose ourselves. This is a game where emotion could have really gotten the best of you. I thought we handled ourselves well in those moments. It’s a good step early on in the season, but we got a lot of games to go.”

Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler
General thoughts on the match…
“It was a hard-fought match. Two teams that were playing well at the moment. We’re happy to get three points. Portland’s a very good team and this is a tough place to play. Like I said, we’re happy with the work we put in tonight, but at the same time, we’re ready to move on and get back home and get ready for the next opponent.”

On managing the end of the game with a lot of emotion from the home side…
“We just dealt with it. Tim [Melia] made a really big save for us like we expect him to do. We know that when you go on road and you play a good team in a hostile environment that it’s not going to be perfect. There’s going to be periods in the game where you’re going to have to come up with some plays on the defensive end and fortunately we were able to do that tonight.”

Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer
On the play leading up to his goal…
“It was a fantastic ball from Jimmy Medranda. He just managed to get himself on the end of it and whipped it across and I just redirected it into the corner.”
On managing the end of the game as Portland pushed numbers forward…
“We defended fantastically. We were just good as a group. We were very solid. Our keeper made some fantastic saves. He [Tim Melia] was class tonight. I think we just played well as a team and I think we deserved to win tonight.”

On if there is a rivalry building between Sporting Kansas City and Portland…
“Yeah. Portland is a very good side, so they’re going to have a good atmosphere here so it’s always a fun place to play, even as an away player. It’s going to be a battle. We have respect for them. They’re a good side. We got the better of them tonight but I’m sure we have many big battles down the line with them.”

Notes:

  • Saturday’s game marked the 111th consecutive sellout for the Timbers at Providence Park.
  • Despite the result, the Timbers still lead MLS in goals (16), while ranking tied for the most points (13). 
  • Portland was held scoreless for the first time in 22 home matches at Providence Park, dating back to the 2015 campaign.
  • For the first time, Providence Park played host to a same-day doubleheader with Portland Thorns FC and the Timbers. It is the sixth U.S. venue to ever host a professional women's soccer club match and an MLS match in the same day. The Timbers (21,144) and Thorns FC (16,145) combined to draw 37,289 fans at Providence Park in the first doubleheader featuring the two clubs.
  • Diego Valeri was credited with four chances created in the match, twice as many as the next highest player. 
  • Valeri has now played exactly 10,000 regular-season minutes for Portland. He is the fourth Timbers player to reach that milestone in MLS, joining teammates Darlington Nagbe and Diego Chara and recently-retired midfielder Jack Jewsbury. 
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