Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 2, New York Red Bulls 0 | Aug. 18, 2017

Portland Timbers Quotes
Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
On tonight’s performance…
“I thought it was very gritty. Obviously it wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing type of game, but we knew it was going to be with the way that they play. They basically just match you and get a lot of body contact and obviously we were going to press as well. It was two teams that wanted to press and possess and play in the front half. It created a little of a direct game. These are soccer games that happen like that in this league especially when you are playing a team like that who isn’t going to give an inch. It reminds me of playing a KC type of game. You have to grind and dig out second balls and win duels. You have to pick your moments to get forward. They are a difficult team to play and they didn’t play a few of their top guys, they showed just how deep they are. I’m happy with the result. We grinded for it. It’s great to get a clean sheet. I think the guys we’ve all talked about how we need to close out games, well, we closed out the game and found a way. Forget the football and the pretty, the this and that, we showed today as a team that we can be mature and closeout a game and get three points. As you get into the latter stages of the season that’s what it’s about.”

On his concerns about not being able to put together a consistent backline down the stretch…
“I’d like to talk about how good the back four was today and the fact that we got clean sheet and then I will talk about tomorrow or the next day and what we are going to do to deal with the back four. But I think the back four as a whole on our team deserves a little bit of positivity for defending well today and getting a clean sheet. We went with Roy [Miller] and Zarek [Valentin] because I had evidence that that they were the back four to get the job done. We won in Vancouver with that back four. We played extremely well at Houston with that back four. So that’s why I went back to it, so it’s great to see them deliver again and put up a clean sheet and defend well.”

On goalkeeper Jeff Attinella’s performance…
“Again, we won the game because of the team and the individuals made plays. And I talked about that a little bit last week. We always have to play as team. We have to defend as a team. We have to attack as a team. But you need the individuals in the boxes to make plays to win games and we got that today and that was the difference. That was the only difference. Jeff Attinella made a play. Our backs made plays on crosses. Diego Valeri made another play. I mean the technique on that goal was world-class technique. So that’s the difference. So that’s what I was wanting to see out of this team. And in this league that’s what it’s about because in this league every game is pretty tight, pretty even. The margins are very slim. Fine lines. Comes down to boxes and the moments and that’s why we won the game. Great for Jeff to get that save. He played well. He looked lively all game. It’s great that Valeri is continuing to score goals. We are going to need it more.”

On the continued high-level performance of Diego Valeri…
“I think it’s just what we need. What we need from our top players. Every team that wins in this league has guys that score goals. Whether it’s Giovinco or Clint Dempsey or whether it’s [Jozy] Altidore or David Villa or Bradley Wright-Phillips. I was sure happy he wasn’t on the starting sheet because I watched this guy all week leading into the game and I kept coming to the office going every cross that comes into the box somehow finds his head and finds the six inches in the corner. So that’s what top players do. They find those goals. Obviously Robbie Keane did that for LA when they won the championship. We are getting it from our guys and that’s what we need.”

On if this run of results is the team’s best run of form…
“Yeah and I’ve actually been saying it for eight or nine games if you take out the RSL where we got two red cards I think we’ve performed extremely well as a whole, but we just haven’t been getting those little moments like I said today was the difference. We need that moving forward to push us over the edge. And that’s why I think we will build on this. We will gain more from grinding out this game and not being like LA was a game where we were comfy. In this game we weren’t comfy. In some of the other games where we weren’t comfy we gave up the goal and today we finally got the breakthrough where it was tight, we’re down a man even, and we got plays out of guys. Plays to stop the goal and plays to make the second goal. In the past years, that’s been a trademark of our team. We’re good late in games. We usually find the next goal. We don’t concede. We found a way to grind it out. When we won the championship we did it with defending. I was disappointed up to this point that we haven’t shown more of that mettle and grit and that ability to grind out a game. So yeah I think we are in good form. We are still not 100 percent healthy in regards to the top group, so that’s a positive too because I think there is still another level in this team that we can go to,"

On Jeremy Ebobisse’s first home start…
“I thought we had a tough time getting up the pitch. A big part of that is New York. The way that they play and they match you. We prepared for that all week, trying to bypass that pressure and get guys in channels. The number nine with Jeremy and Darren we talked about that and we worked on it. Sometimes it’s in behind them and sometimes it’s into them where they hold and I think early in the game Jeremy did well. He got in behind a few times. I think he just faded as the game went on. Part of the physicality probably got to him. It was a very physical game. I thought he worked hard. I thought he put in a good shift. I was glad to get him another start because he is a good, young talented player and it’s good to get him another start. I think he will continue to get better.”

On the continued growth of Sebastian Blanco…
“What I love about Blanco and it’s one of the main reasons we signed him is because he plays for the team. He works for the team. He does the little things for the team. He’s a very honest guy. You don’t always get that in a DP. Sometimes they want to play for themselves, but with Blanco he’s working and he’s fighting and he’s scrapping and he’ll play a role and he’ll also bring some quality to the team. So I think he’s doing what we thought he would and I thought he had an excellent game today even though he didn’t get on the scoresheet he did a lot of little things to help our team today.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On scoring the opening goal of the match…
”I’m very happy about the result. The first goal was a throw in. Darren [Mattocks] fought for it, and Diego [Chara]… I don’t know how he read it. He made a run and a great cross. The quality was unbelievable. I was looking at him and I knew he was going to play that ball. I just tried to make a movement and finished it.”

On the quality of the goal…
“It was a nice goal. There was quality there. We needed that. In that moment, they were pressing us really well in a very aggressive way. We knew it, we fought for it and we got the result.”

On playing in a very physical match…
“Being focused. We knew that it was that kind of game against the Red Bulls. They played a couple of days ago and it wasn’t easy for them to be playing in that rhythm for 90 minutes. After the red card, it was a different game, but we tried to play in the same way, trying to get breakaways, and we did it in the last part of the game.”

On the importance of getting the win after last week’s loss on the road…
“It’s really nice. The performance in the first half was really good in the way we wanted to play. The points at this time of the year are very important. The Western Conference is tight. We're sitting at the top of the table with a couple of more games, but we have to keep working.”

On closing out the match…
“It took a lot of effort from every single guy on the field. We had to, at some point, play in a different way because we don’t want to always be fighting. We want the ball. We defended really well and I think the guys on defense did a really good job.”

Portland Timbers defender Lawrence Olum
On what it took to earn the victory tonight…
“It just took a lot of effort and a lot of grind from everyone – that’s all it came down to tonight. Everybody gave it their all, and we got the three points.”

On what it was like to face the Red Bulls…
“It was pretty physical. The ref let a lot of the play keep going, and I think tonight the boys were up for the challenge. They brought theirs, we brought ours, and we came out on top.”

On closing out the match with a shutout…
“It just shows that things happen in the game. It just took everybody’s awareness to know what moment we are in the game. We needed to lock it down. The second goal helped a lot. It was just a lot of effort from the guys today.”

Portland Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella
On his thoughts after tonight’s win…
“I think it was a really important win. Obviously we needed three points, but to get a good response like that, after giving up four in Toronto, to get a clean sheet feels great and I think it’s good momentum to go for this final stretch of the season. We’ll enjoy it tonight, but we’ve got a big one on Wednesday, so we’ve got to turn our focus to Colorado.”

On the feeling of earning a log slice after the shutout…
“It’s surprisingly heavy. I wanted it. I wanted it bad. I thought I was going to get it in my first home game against Vancouver, but I’m glad I can get one now. Now I’m officially a Timber.”

On the save late in the match on Sal Zizzo’s header…
“When the cross came in at first, I thought I could go get it. When I realized that it had a pretty good bend to it and it was turning out, I just tried to backpedal, get set and just react to the save. Luckily, the header went in my wingspan. It’s just one of those things where you practice it all the time, reaction saves, and I was lucky enough to get a hand on it.”

New York Red Bulls quotes
New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch

Thoughts on the game…
“I’m really proud of our group. Thought we played really well, had the game on our terms and looked like our team playing so many new guys, to have them all understand their roles and play so well in a really tough place to play against a good team, a good attacking team that we kept at bay for most of the game, I love this team. This team has a lot to it, this team is deep and a lot of good things happening with our group right now. We had a great week. It’s obviously disappointing when you play that well and don’t get the result, but you have to look at it in terms of the big picture and feel really good about it.”

On new faces in the lineup…
“[Fidel] Escobar really grew into the game. He was dominant, he was dominant in the back. He took care of 1v1 situations with [Jeremy] Ebobisse and with [Darren] Mattocks and he was dominant. Dilly Duka I thought was quite good, he understood what we are trying to do, he understood our tactics. Found the game in a lot of ways. The last one is Vincent [Bezecourt]. I think he’s got a lot of good qualities, thought he worked hard, thought he fit in the midfield really well. He put some attacking plays together. I thought we were unlucky, we were really unlucky not to come out with more in this game. Really, really proud of our team.”

New York Red Bulls midfielder Felipe
Thoughts on the game…
“I thought in the first half we stayed compact, we created a couple of chances, we didn’t give up much. Very positive for the team. We played a lot of young guys, guys that played their first game and very impressive the way the team reacted and the way we played, especially in the second half – I thought we were dominant and they just had the chance and they scored. I think we were very, very close and unlucky to not get that one goal with Sal [Zizzo] and Fidel [Escobar] on the free kick. Overall, even though we lost this game, we should feel very positive. We have a really deep team and know we can call on any guy in this room.”

New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles
Thoughts on the game…
“Going into this game we knew we were going to have to rest certain starters. As we trained yesterday and did tactical work, we look to the guys on the field and this is a great group. There’s a lot of confidence and belief in each guy, it doesn’t matter who steps in there, we knew and really believe that person is going to do their job. I felt like today, that was the case. We had the lion’s share of the game, they came out in the first 15 minutes and even then, guys handled the pressure, observed the energy and allowed the game to open up. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get a goal, [Jeff] Attinella made a really good save on Sal’s [Zizzo] header and we just missed a little bit. I think there’s a lot of positives from this performance that we’re going to be able to take into the next game.”

On Fidel Escobar’s first start…
“Excellent, excellent. Since he’s been here it’s only been a brief time, but we see so much potential and his ceiling is very high. For a guy that has to learn a new system, come to a new environment he’s done a great job. That’s why when we put him on the lineup sheet today, it was absolute belief that he was going to be good and everyone was able to see the kind of things we’ve been able to see in training today. He was confident, he was good on the ball, he won his headers, he’s only going to get better, which is exciting for this organization.”

Notes:

  • Friday’s game marked the 120th consecutive sellout for the Timbers at Providence Park.
  • The Timbers made 33 tackles in the match, the second-most the club has ever made in an MLS game. Portland previously recorded 34 tackles against Real Salt Lake on April 30, 2011.
  • The Timbers have scored in 13 consecutive matches, which is the longest active streak in MLS. 
  • Portland has scored 62 goals at home since the beginning of the 2016 season, tied for most in MLS with New York City FC. 
  • Portland is unbeaten in its last eight matches that have been played on a Friday (5-0-3), winning all three Friday night matches this season. 
  • Diego Valeri scored the 51st goal of his Timbers career, tying him with Fanendo Adi for most goals in the history of the club, dating back to 1975.
  • Valeri tied his career high for goals in a season with 14, becoming the second Timbers player to have consecutive seasons with 14 or more goals across all eras (since 1975), joining Adi. 
  • Valeri has scored in four consecutive matches, tying him for the second longest streak in MLS this season. 
  • Valeri also delivered his ninth assist of the season and the 51st of his Portland career. Valeri’s combined goals and assists total of 102 since joining the league in 2013 is the most of any player in MLS in that five-year span.
  • Darren Mattocks scored his second goal of the season. 
  • Diego Chara recorded an assist for the second consecutive match. Chara's 16 career assists are the third-most in the club's MLS era. 
  • Goalkeeper Jeff Attinella recorded his first clean sheet as a member of the Timbers and the sixth in his MLS career, with Attinella making an important point-blank save in the 89th minute to help preserve the clean sheet. 
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