Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 1, Seattle Sounders FC 0 | May 13, 2018

Portland Timbers quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese

On why midfielder Sebastián Blanco pulled out a mask for his goal celebration…
“He’s Chucky. That’s what they call him in Argentina, so that’s why he put it on.”

On getting the win over Cascadia-rival Seattle Sounders FC…
“It feels great, but we knew it was going to be difficult – as it was. They’re tough. These kind of games are battles. I’m very proud of how the guys continued to battle, how the guys continued to be disciplined, how they worked hard throughout the entire match and how they found a way at the end to be able to get the result that we wanted. But it took a lot of discipline and it was great. I’m just very proud of the effort that everyone put into the game.”

On what Seattle did early on in the match and what the team did to break through and get the goal…
“I thought that they were organized, especially in the middle. They didn’t allow us to be able to play too many balls through. They did a good job to make sure they closed down [Fanendo] Adi and they only gave us space wide sometimes, but they defended very well. When they had the ball, they tried to penetrate through the middle in the first half. They found some space, but not too many times. In the second half, they looked to play and attack a little more on their wide left and our right and they found a little success. But in the end, I felt we handled things towards the end of the match it was great and it was a great result for us.”

On his game plan coming into the match and how it played out…
“First of all, we thought they would come with five in the back to be a little bit more conservative, but also looking to be explosive in the counter – to find spaces and to move forward quickly. That’s why when we had the ball, we had to be smart – that if we lost the ball in some areas we had to cover spaces right away that way they wouldn’t find the counters, which I felt we did for the majority of the match very, very well. I thought that was the plan from their part. For us, it was a matter of staying disciplined – just wait for our moment, and at the end Blanco scored an amazing goal.”

On the weather conditions factoring in his decision making…
“It was a very hot football game, so it was difficult. The temperature was very high, and at the end we had to make some substitutions because some players here and there started to look tired. Playing at this time is tough, but at the end I’m very proud of the effort they put in.”

On the physicality in the match…
“These are derbies. These are clasicos, as we call it. In every derby they’re physical and they’re a battle. You have a plan in place, but then it takes over the other plan. The important thing is that we matched up. They came strong, but we came strong as well and at the end it was great to be able to get a win.”

On Sebastián Blanco’s run of form…
“His style of life off the field has been fantastic – his nutrition, the way he takes care of himself is great. He has prepared very well to give more this season and I think the team is helping as well with [Diego] Valeri, with Adi and with everyone around him. Blanco helped Valeri and Adi and I think that that’s the most important part. It’s the mentality of helping each other offensively when we have the ball as well as defensively.”

On what it was like to experience his first match between Portland and Seattle…
“We’re very fortunate in the United States to have this derby here. These games are what allow this sport to grow even more and today was fantastic. From the fans [of both teams], to the game, to the battle that we saw – it was a fantastic experience.”

On the team’s defensive effort over the last three games…
“The effort of the collective group – how well they cover each other, how well they are organizing, how hard they’re working to make sure we’re defending well. When someone makes a mistake, someone is right behind helping and I think that’s fantastic. I have to give a lot of credit, not only to the defenders, but as well as the offensive players that are working very hard defensively to make things more difficult for teams.”

On keeping his emotions in check in a rivalry match…
“It’s passion. Once you hear the referee’s whistle, and then you realize what happens in the end. It’s beautiful to experience this because I think this is unique. It’s fantastic and this is what will allow this sport to grow.”

On how proud he is of the team with how they’ve been progressing over the last month…
“I’m very proud. There’s been progression game after game, practice after practice and I couldn’t be more proud of the effort. We have more guys battling to play, that want to participate, that want to be there, so I’m very proud of the effort today.”


Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastián Blanco
On why he celebrated his goal with a Chucky mask…
“It’s my nickname in Argentina. When I started to play for Lanús, they gave me this name because I’m small. My wife wanted me to use it in some game and I think today was an amazing moment.”

On if he planned his celebration…
“Yes. I scored, we won 1-0 in the 100th game against Seattle. I think it was perfect.”

On how it felt to score the game-winning goal…
“It’s amazing because I think I didn’t play a good game, to be honest, but we tried all the time to penetrate. We scored the goal in the last five minutes and it’s amazing for us.”

On the feeling after the win in a rivalry match…
“It’s always important to win this game. It’s a derby. It’s a different game versus other teams. It’s a different game in MLS. We played well in some moments and bad in some, but I think we dominated the whole game.”

On the team’s four-game winning streak…
“In this team, there is a confidence. We know with big changes that they’re difficult and we need time, but now we are better. We’re compact, helping our teammates and I think we changed the attitude with every game.”

Portland Timbers defender Liam Ridgewell
On his thoughts after the match…

“It was a very tough match. The heat played a part in it. It was tough to move the ball quickly on a dry surface. They defended very well. We knew they were going to come out like that because they had a tough win during the week away at Toronto and a big win, but we stayed patient. We kept the ball moving. In the second half, we put them under a little bit more pressure and finally the deadlock broke.”

On the team’s third shutout in a row…
“I spoke to the whole back four during the week. We pride ourselves on keeping a clean sheet. We don’t look at a goal ratio, we look at clean sheets. The year we won the championship, Nat [Borchers] and I put out a marker of 15 clean sheets that year. It’s just been a big effort from everyone to keep solid, to keep compact, to cover each other and to work hard for each other. It’s not rocket science and it’s been great that the boys have bought into it and it’s paying off.”

On getting the win over Seattle in the 100th match…
“It’s massive. I’ve spoken about it before… I didn’t get the rivalry too much because of the distance, but I certainly knew about it after the first match I played in and I certainly know it now. It’s been a big rivalry, one that both teams love to play in. The players love to play in and one that the fans love it as well. It’s great that we’ve been able to win the 100th one and certainly at home. It’s a big one for us. Big game, big result, but still a lot of games to play this season and ones that we need to be picking up on.

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
General thoughts on the match…

“Great. It was an important game and very special. We performed really well. I think we dominated the game most of the time. We scored and it was hard because they defended with a lot of people. I think we were patient. We were patient until we broke them down.”

On what has changed for the team that has led to four straight wins…
“Our results. I think the results change because we kept improving things that we think make us better. From the game against Chicago probably we deserved more. That’s good. It’s about the effort and the work we are doing. Because we always trust and have confidence in this team. Now the results are showing the effort we are making.”

On Sebastián Blanco’s mask celebration…
“He was looking for it. We all know Sebastián. He is that kind of guy, and we love that. Most important is that he scored a great goal. Very important for us. That’s very important for us to win this game, get three points.”

On defensive adjustments that have led to three straight clean sheets…
“Probably because we are giving less space to our rival. Trying to be more compact a little bit deeper. Everybody is make an effort to keep that clean sheet or trying to be more aggressive in some places. A big difference is in the last few games we scored first so it’s better to manage the game.”

Portland Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella
On earning a third-straight clean sheet…

“I think defensively we’re very organized. The guys in front of me have been doing a great job battling to win those balls. It’s just about seeing these games out. In the games before, with Chicago and Orlando, we were in position to do the same thing, but for one reason or another we didn’t see it out. In these, it’s a pride thing and taking pride in getting a shutout. Everyone is battling through it and now it’s turning fun. It’s a lot of fun to do this so we’re going to try and keep it rolling.”

On his toughest moment in the match…
“In the beginning of the second half, when you haven’t done anything for a little bit, then you get a shot right away, that was the first one I saw. When he’s coming down and the way it skips off the turf, it’s never easy. That was definitely a difficult moment, but the way they’re dumping in balls and the way they’re just trying to make it a little bit ugly and battle, those are never easy moments for a goalie, but like I said, the guys in front of me did a good job and I think we did a good job controlling the box.”

On if he tries to be more active when not having to make a lot of saves…
“No. Today was just about trying to conserve energy honestly. It was pretty brutal out there in terms of how hot it was. So it’s just about trying to stay mentally switched on and limiting as much movement as possible, but trying to be smart about where I’m going.”

Seattle Sounders FC quotes

Seattle Sounders FC head coach Brian Schmetzer

General thoughts following the 1-0 loss…

“There are a lot of them. It’s a tough loss. Tough pill to swallow. Because, again I think the guys put everything into the game. The goal is a well crafted goal. I’ll give [Portland] some credit. [Sebastian] Blanco had a good finish. But, I thought there were some times in the game where we had the upper hand. Second half was back and forth and it’s disappointing. Disappointing to lose, disappointing to lose that late in the game, disappointing to lose to Portland. Simple as that.”

On if Seattle can still build on momentum following the win over Toronto…
“If you’re asking me… okay our week was a draw, a win, a loss. It’s an average week. We don’t want to be average. We want to be a championship-calibre team. So that actually drives us to be better. That’s what it does. We’re not going to sit here and feel sorry for ourselves just because we lost one game. Simple as that.”

On losing Kim Kee-Hee in the second half…
“That hurt. You can’t remove two guys off the backline and expect there to be a ton of cohesion. Kim was having a good game, but Jordan McCrary came on and did a good job. [Jordy] Delem slipped back there, so they were capable replacements but you never want to take two changes on your backline.”

On playing five at the back…
“We were tough to beat whether we’re five at the back, four at the back the last stretch of games. I’ll go back to Sporting KC when we played four at the back. The team has a pulse, a life. They can sense it. They know. We weren’t played off the park here.”

On what happened to Nouhou Tolo…
“When I find out, I’ll let you know.”

On Waylon Francis staying in Seattle…
“Waylon Francis was my decision to leave him at home.”

On Kim’s medical status…
“He has stitches in his head and he’s fine. He’s a tough kid. He will play against [Real Salt Lake].”

On Will Bruin’s status…
“That’s a tricky one. Those heel bruises. You run on your feet. That was a loss. That was a blow. Will probably relishes playing in games like this. That was a big loss for us. He tried to train on Saturday before we left and he couldn’t train. Couldn’t run. Couldn’t push off.”

On the message to the players ahead of the game…
“We had the ball inside their box a couple times. Our set-pieces, can we be dangerous? We gotta find ways to manufacture goals. There was a lot of things we discusses. At halftime, some of the adjustments we made were good. I think we found possession higher up the field. We’re just going to keep working on it. It is what it is. Have to be a little more goal-dangerous. Gotta figure out how to do that.”

On what allowed Portland to score the late winner…
“Guys gotta come in...Young guys that come in have to make impacts in the game. The learning curve for young Mr. Handwalla [Bwana] and Mr. [Henry] Wingo is, they’re young, fresh and hungry. They gotta come and try and make a difference in the game. Now, that’s not saying they’re at fault for the goal. That’s not what I’m saying. Games change sometimes when you influence as a sub. McCrary came on and did a good job. He got down the left. He’s not a left-sided player, but he was good in attack. He pushed them back a little bit. I needed those two kids to give us that one little extra edge to help us create some chances and maybe score the goal ourselves. Then at the end of the day, like I said, you gotta give [Portland] some credit because the goal they scored was a good goal.”

Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Cristian Roldan
General thoughts on the match…

“Tough one to swallow. Felt that we defended fairly well for a long time. It’s a good team. They hit you on a mistake and unfortunately for my sake, I needed to do a little bit better there. But I’ll take the blame and you live and you learn. You take this little punch and you remember it and take it for the next game.”

Thoughts on the start to the second half and what was said at halftime…
“I think we figured it out. Portland adjusted after about 10-15 minutes, but down the left side we were flying. That chance that Nouhou [Tolo] had and then we were keeping possession. First half we didn’t seem to have any type of rhythm to the game. It would have been nice to capitalize on one or two when we had that momentum.”

On this result following the win in Toronto…
“1-1-1. Something that we don’t pride ourselves on. We wish we were 3-0. It’s the reality of this sport, reality of this league. You feel like you deserve a point or deserve a win and all of a sudden it can change in one moment. Unfortunately that was what happened today. Like I said, you live and you learn from these moments. You gather experience and don’t let it happen again kind of thing.”

Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei
General thoughts on the match…

“Tough result. I thought we actually played a decent game. Kept them at bay and frustrated them for the most part of the game. Then about middle of second half we started defending a little too much for my liking and weren’t able to release pressure. That would have been needed to maybe keep the ball for a little bit. Keep it away from our goal and give our defenders a little bit of rest. We weren’t able to achieve that and ultimately cracked, which is unfortunate. Like I said, I think the guys put in a good shift. Tough, tough week for us in terms of traveling and everything, but would have been really nice to end that spell with what I would say is a deserved point. Going home empty handed sucks.”

On the two changes to the defense during the match…
“It’s tough. It’s difficult because they are important players. Nouhou [Tolo] and Kim [Kee-Hee] as well. Maybe substitutions we could have used later in the game to give us a bit of a spark up top to potentially get a little more possession up top. So when you’re forced into substitutions, it makes it difficult. The guys that came on, Jordan [McCrary] did well and the other guys as well. Like I said, I didn’t think it was for lack of effort. Worked our butts off, but again, there’s a balance. You can’t just defend at all times. We talked the previous two years when we had good defensive spells, we talked about bend but don’t break. But if you keep bending without releasing a little bit of pressure, at some point you’re going to snap. Today was one of those moments where we needed just a couple spells of decompressing and it never came. Unfortunately it resulted in a goal for them.”

On stifling Diego Valeri…
“It’s difficult to keep him quiet. He’s one of the best players in the league. He’ll find ways. It’s just a matter of trying to make it as difficult as possible. He’s smart. Perfect example is when they’re coming on the counter and he breaks on us. I think it was Alex [Roldan] who took a really good tactical foul in the middle. Those are important plays because like I said, if you give him too many chances, or you give him any chances, he usually punishes you. We had our eye on him and made sure to not give him too much. Didn’t really matter.”

Notes:

  • Sunday’s game marked the 128th consecutive sellout for the Timbers at Providence Park.
  • A total of 66 goals have been scored between Portland and Seattle in MLS matches between the two clubs, which is the second-most among all MLS fixtures since 2011. 
  • Portland has won four consecutive matches for the second time in their MLS history, matching a four-game streak from 2015.
  • Portland allowed five shots in Sunday’s match, which is the second-fewest ever allowed by the club in an MLS match. 
  • The Timbers have recorded three consecutive shutout victories for the first time in their MLS era and the first time across all eras (since 1975) since a four-game shutout streak in the 2007 campaign (June 28-July 13, 2007). 
  • Sebastián Blanco scored his team-high fifth goal of the season.
  • Blanco's goal was in the 86th minute, which is the latest game-winning goal for Portland against Seattle since July 14, 2004. 
  • Blanco is the 63rd different Portland player to score against Seattle in a competitive match across all eras (since 1975). 
  • Samuel Armenteros recorded his first assist as a Timbers player. 
  • Diego Valeri played his 157th regular-season match for the Timbers, which ties him for the fourth-most games played in club history with Jack Jewsbury. 
  • Fanendo Adi played his 120th regular-season match for the Timbers, which ties him for the 12th-most games in club history with Rodney Wallace.
  • Andy Polo, Cristhian Paredes, Andres Flores, and Samuel Armenteros each made their first appearances in the Timbers/Sounders FC rivalry.
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