Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 3, Orlando City SC 0 | Sept. 24, 2017

Portland Timbers Quotes
Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter

On the team’s performance…
“I thought it was really comprehensive. Started very strong – the first two chances, those were good chances in the first 10 minutes. That was pleasing. The mentality to start aggressive. You always want to see that out of your team and you saw that from a psychological standpoint, a real hunger and intensity. That’s a little thing but a big thing. I thought in terms of style of play, the way we played on the ball was excellent. We penetrated a lot as well. So possession I agree means nothing other than resting on the ball, but possession with purpose, with penetration. It was probably our best game in terms of penetration and getting in behind a back four. I was really pleased with that. Defensively it was also excellent. We wanted to manage their crosses in the box and I thought we limited the crosses that they had. I haven’t looked at the analytics yet, but it seemed like they didn’t have as many crosses as they probably would have liked and the ones they did get in I thought we defended excellent. Our center backs, our outside backs chipped in as well. It was a good performance. Real pleased. Obviously clean sheet, score three goals. If I’m nit-picking I would have liked to see us playing with a bit more killer instinct and go for the jugular a little sooner in that second half. But we got the third goal and managed the game from there on out.”

On the progress of Darren Mattocks in the lineup and getting in behind the defense…
“The first goal obviously he created. Again, he doesn’t get credit for that on the scoresheet similar to the Seattle PK that he created. The pressure as well, some of those little things, and that’s his game. We’ve tried to define that to where he’s playing to his strengths. And his strengths are he covers a lot of ground, he’s quick, he closes space, he presses well. In looking to run behind and stretch, that’s where he can be dangerous, threatening the back four. I thought that was his best game. Obviously he set up the first goal with the PK and then he scored the second. He should have had a few others, but those will fall. The good news is that he is getting chances. I thought they had no answer for him.”

On the confidence level of Diego Valeri and his goal-scoring streak…
“I think anytime guys are scoring goals at the rate he is it’s a confidence thing. He’s been riding this wave. He’s always scored goals. He’s always played well, but he’s ridden a tidal wave of confidence and we hope it continues. I think any goal scorer will tell you when you are confident things seem to slow down. He’s certainly making it look easy right now.”

On what he asked Diego Chara to do in the match and what he saw out of him…
“I’m a big believer in the partnerships in teams, and Darlington [Nagbe] and he have a great partnership. And with [Dairon] Asprilla playing as well as he’s playing we’ve been able to move D into the middle. Obviously earlier in the year it was working with D wide and [David] Guzman and Chara with the outside backs providing the width. Right now with wingers we are playing we don’t need as much width that allows us to keep more balance in our back four, which is a big reason why I think we are getting more clean sheets and defending better. We’ve got a very good attack. Sometimes it’s counterintuitive to play outside backs that don’t get forward. Guys that are more passers, but we don’t really need our outside backs to be bombing forward. We are going to score goals. We are going to create goals. I think our balance has been much improved with Roy [Miller] and Zarek [Valentin]. With the way we crafted the plan we were going to get those guys on the ball to start our attack. Not to bomb them forward, but to pull out the wide guys and to get that diamond sliding across the pitch. You saw we gave them a lot of trouble switching play and circulating the ball and that’s what you want to do against a diamond is make that diamond work. Make that diamond cover the pitch. I thought Zarek and Roy made good decisions when they get on the ball.”

On the progression of Darren Mattocks in Portland…
“There’s no secret I’m a big fan of Darren Mattocks. I won a national championship with him. He scored 20 goals in that year that we won it. He played up top with Darlington. He’s just electric. His pace. When he went to Vancouver he was very good that first year. Then gradually his minutes were less and less. Part of that was he was injured quite a bit. And I think same thing here. The role that he played was reduced in a lot of ways because one, we have a good player in [Fanendo] Adi and two, he’s been injured a lot. And I think also my goal in getting him was a little bit to work him back into form because he had been sitting for a couple years. So it was a little bit of a rehab project in some ways, to just get him back to the form and confident. To get him doing the things that he’s good at and playing in a way I know he’s capable of. It’s not been perfect, but obviously getting him games and getting him confident has allowed him to get back to the form that he’s capable of and that form when he started in this league was one of the best number nines in the league.”

On Nagbe playing as a six being a natural consequence of playing with Chara or by design…
“In terms of playing out of the back we knew that they would split their two forwards on our center backs and then they had Giles Barnes picking up the furthest midfielder. Typically that’s Chara, but we wanted to rotate Chara and D and have D play deeper which allowed Chara to play in that next layer. Also, it allows Chara to step up and press and be more mobile and we asked him to do a job on Yotun [Orlando midfielder Yoshimar Yotun] because in looking at their team and how they get into a rhythm a lot of it was through him. He was the highest touches in the last several games. That allowed Chara to choke out the possession through Yotun and D played a little deeper and it really helped us get into a rhythm.”

On Valeri’s confidence and its effect on the team and the MVP talk…
“I’ve said it a lot – big players on big teams produce. The teams that are doing well, look at the table, they’ve all got guys that are producing and so when you score goals you win games. The good teams have players on those teams that score goals. As far as the MVP race, I don’t think about it. I’m obviously biased, so of course at the end of the year when the voting happens I’m going to want him to win. He’s not thinking about it. I’m not thinking about it. The best thing we can do is keep winning games.”

On the team’s experience with Derrick Tellez…
“Listen…it's touching, special. We promised him the win before the game in the locker room and I walked out of it going, ‘man I hope we win.’ [Laughs] Because it would have gone from ‘Make-A-Wish’ to ‘Break-A-Wish’. [Laughs] Fortunately we made the wish and we got him the win and he was part of our team all week. I think it’s great when you can do that. We’ve got a great group of guys that have a lot of character, have big hearts and are family guys. I don’t like knuckleheads on my team. I like good guys and we’ve got a good group of guys that value life outside of soccer and I think that this is a great experience to have him here with us and to bring him a little joy. And what a statement that he picked the Timbers, being part of our team for his wish. There are a lot of things you could wish for but for him to choose our team and be a part of that, that’s pretty touching.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On tonight’s win…

“It was good. I’m happy about the performance. We played well. From the first minute, we pressed high, kept the ball and created chances. The game opened up [late in the match]. I’m very happy about that.”

On leading MLS in goals scored after recording his 19th and 20th goals of the season tonight…
“I’m happy about it. You never expect that before the season starts, but it goes like that. I’m happy to help the team with goals. I’m doing my role in the team.”

On why he has scored so many goals this season…
“I don’t know. It’s teamwork. We created a lot of chances today and it’s about that. It’s about the quality of this team.”

On how he felt when he heard the Timbers Army chant M-V-P after he scored…
“I’m very thankful for it, as always. The support they gave us, it’s amazing every game. We just want to fight to give them trophies. I’m happy about that personally and it’s an honor, but I know they deserve trophies.”

On what was working for the team tonight…
“I think the game opened up after the second goal. That allowed us to manage the ball better and the position with that situation where they had to step a little bit higher. We were able to find spaces much more when they got their red card. I think the game [went] as we thought and I’m happy about the performance.”

On whether or not the team is playing the best it has all year…
“We’ve played good games. We’re playing the same way and getting stronger at home, in this part of the season, which is important. Obviously, we need everybody involved. We have a couple of guys [injured] so we need the whole group, but we’re in a good position.”

On the feeling of having Derrick Tellez around the team all week…
“It was an amazing week for us having Derrick here training. The locker room is happy that we gave him a win.”

Portland Timbers forward Darren Mattocks
On his performance tonight and his progression …

“On my day, that’s what people are used to from me. It’s very good to have this performance. It’s good to remind yourself what you’re capable of doing. Even though I know what I can do, it doesn’t always show, and tonight was a perfect example of what I’m capable of doing. It’s just for me to become consistent. That has been my issue in the past, based on injuries or not getting enough playing time. It’s been on and off. I think I’m in a good rhythm. I think I’ve played four or five games in a row. I’m creating chances for guys and I’m finally doing it for myself. Hopefully I can keep it going. For me, consistency is the biggest thing. That’s why Caleb [Porter] brought me here, because he knows what I’m capable of doing. I played for him in college and to be back playing for him is fun. The biggest thing is not to get ahead of myself but to continue on this performance tonight. He knows what I’m capable of. It’s just for me to be more consistent. Once I get the consistency going then I think it’s going to get really good for me.”

On being able to run at Orlando’s defense…
”This is the kind of game I love. For me, it’s making runs and when guys are finding passes. It’s amazing. Credit to these guys. I made the run and they found the pass. It’s a striker’s dream. It’s just for me now to put away those chances. It was a pretty good start tonight, so hopefully we can continue this progression. The main goal and focus right now is to finish top of the [Western Conference standings] to get home-field advantage.”

On what Mattocks saw when Dairon Asprilla assisted his goal tonight…
“That was [put] on the platter. I owe him a couple of dinners for that. He and [Diego] Chara did all of the work with the through ball and I ran in behind. I did the easy part. I just had to put it in the back of the net. Whether it’s easy or not, as a striker, you’ve got to be in the right spot and I was there so that’s good.”

Portland Timbers defender Liam Ridgewell
On the win tonight…
“Obviously a good win and a good way to start off the three home games towards the end of the season and hopefully we can that form up.”

On playing the full 90 minutes tonight…
“It’s nice. It’s been a long, hard season for myself. It’s nice to be back out there, nice to be keeping clean sheets and nice to be winning games as well. Personally, it’s good for me.”

On having Derrick Tellez around the team all week…
“It was fantastic. It’s certainly special for us. Being footballers, you don’t get to meet many people of Derrick’s caliber. He gets to come in and spend time with us, which is fantastic and we love to do it. For us, to be able to make his wish and be a part of the team was a real one for all of us. We took him in the changing room tonight and walked out with us as well. Hopefully, we made his wish and made his day. He made our day by getting us a win. It was a real pleasure.”

Orlando City SC quotes

Orlando City SC head coach Jason Kreis
On the changes he needs to make ahead of the next few games at home…

“I think the chances for us to make the playoffs now… We felt we had to win all of our remaining matches. So I think the chances look really grim, but that doesn’t change the fact that we’ll put out our best team and we go for three points every match. It’s important the players recognize what’s at stake now.”

On what his team could have done differently to limit the Portland attack…
“Yeah. I think that for whatever reason, in my opinion, our guys didn’t show up to compete tonight. There’s been very rare occasions this year that I’ve felt that strongly about that situation, but tonight was definitely one of them. Incredible to me, incredible, especially after the last couple of performances we’ve had and the work the guys have put in that they came into what I think was arguably the most important game of the season tonight and didn’t give their best.”

On what his team could have done to create more chances offensively…
“Well I think it’s important not to have any ejections and be a man down. In that situation it’s tough. I also think that the decision that went against us for the penalty kick was a difficult one to deal with as well. You’re playing away and down a goal fairly early, it’s always going to be a difficult night against a very good Portland team.”

Orlando City SC defender Scott Sutter
General thoughts on the match…
“Obviously very disappointed. We came here wanting, obviously, to get a result. We were out to win the game and the only good thing that I guess that came out of the game is we only lost 3-0. It’s disappointing we didn’t get the result we wanted, but if you look at the performance, it’s just clear they were better from start to finish in every aspect of the game. So it’s very, very disappointing.”

On the team reacting to losing two players to red cards in the game…
“Again, you go into the half and the best thing about it is you’re only down 2-0. You get a goal and there’s everything to play for. We wanted to come out all guns blazing and everyone was well up for it going into the second half. Then you get a red card in the 46th minute, it throws that completely off. We tried. We ran, but they were good with the ball. We couldn’t really get close to them. They had their chances and it was, like I said, we were just chasing the game.”

Orlando City SC defender Seb Hines
General thoughts on the match…
“Disappointed obviously. We’ve come in here and we were starting to get confidence back with some of our results. Then to come here and lose 3-0, everyone in the changing room is disappointed.”

Notes:

  • Sunday’s game marked the 122nd consecutive sellout for the Timbers at Providence Park.
  • The Timbers have won four consecutive home matches, scoring 10 goals while conceding just two.
  • Portland has scored 53 goals this season, six more than any other team in the Western Conference.
  • Five-year-old goalkeeper Derrick Tellez was included in the gameday roster for the first time with the Timbers. Tellez was signed by Portland to a one-game contract earlier this week, fulfilling his wish to be a professional soccer player with the Timbers through Make-A-Wish® Oregon.
  • The Timbers have scored in 18 consecutive matches, which is the longest active streak in MLS. 
  • Portland has scored 12 goals between the 31st and 45th minutes of matches this season, the most in MLS.
  • The Timbers attempted 10 shots on target in the match, the most by the team since June 29, 2015 against Seattle Sounders FC. 
  • The match was Portland's largest victory in a shutout since a 3-0 win over Sporting Kansas City on Aug. 7, 2016.
  • The shutout marked Portland’s fifth clean sheet in 2017 and their third in their last six matches.
  • As an MLS team, Portland is 8-1-5 in September home games. 
  • Orlando City SC is the 21st different club the Timbers have defeated in a regular season match. Portland has defeated every team in MLS except Atlanta United FC, who battled the Timbers to a 1-1 draw earlier this season.
  • Diego Valeri scored for a ninth consecutive match extending his MLS record for the most consecutive matches with a goal. 
  • Valeri scored his 19th and 20th goals of the season, setting the MLS record for goals by a midfielder in a single season. Valeri now leads the race for the MLS Golden Boot, one goal ahead of New York City FC striker David Villa. 
  • Valeri's 20 goals set a Timbers all-era record for goals in a season.
  • The brace was Valeri's fourth multi-goal match this season, equaling his total in his first four seasons in Portland. 
  • Darren Mattocks scored his third goal of the season. In Portland's last three home matches, Mattocks has two goals and an assist. 
  • Mattocks became the first Timbers player to have six or more shots on goal in a single MLS match. Mattocks is the third MLS player to have six shots on goal in a match this season, joining David Villa and Sebastian Giovinco. 
  • Mattocks has earned three penalty kicks this season, ranking tied for the third-most in MLS this season. 
  • Dairon Asprilla recorded his fourth assist of the season. Asprilla has had assists in consecutive matches for the first time in the regular season in his Timbers career.
  • Diego Chara recorded his third assist of the season, which is the most by the midfielder in a single season since 2014. 
  • Darlington Nagbe completed 68 of his 69 passes attempted (98.6 percent). Nagbe is the only midfielder in the league to record a 98 percent passing accuracy in two games or more this season minimum 20 passes). 
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