MLS Cup Playoffs Quotes & Notes | Seattle Sounders FC 3 (2), Portland Timbers 2 (4) | AET | Nov. 8, 2018

Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese
On how he is feeling after the match…
“More than what I’m feeling is how exciting the game was for everybody that came to watch. I felt it didn’t disappoint. Seattle and Portland brought the rivalry to this match and it was incredible. There were moments when they scored that it looked like it was going to be difficult for us. It went back and forth, back and forth, all the way to PK's. I think it delivered a very good match.”

On the team’s ability to keep bouncing back…
“We believed in ourselves. We believed we could achieve great things together. The guys fought the entire match against a very good team. A team that wanted to give us everything they had today and I am just very proud of the performance of our team.”

On the character of the team during the shootout…
“A lot of personality, character. What I told them is, ‘Just enjoy it. Go there and have fun. Take responsibility.’ And everybody wanted to take a PK, so that was fantastic.”

On the team’s mood postgame…
“It’s incredible. We brought every player who is on the roster. Everybody is here. Everybody is very content. Now we have to continue to work. Today was a very special day and now we have to make sure we continue to work.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Chara
On the importance of a tough game like this one…
“It was very important because the team did a very good job to win.”

On how this game ranks in the Portland vs. Seattle rivalry…
“We know playing against Seattle is very important for the fans and for us too. It’s the moment of the season in the semifinals. To beat Seattle is an amazing feeling.”

On how proud he is of this group at this moment…
“Really proud. I think all the players are doing a great job. Everyone is ready to play and we showed that today.”

Portland Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella
On bouncing back after Seattle’s first goal…

“I think I’m the biggest Sebastian Blanco fan for that goal. Obviously you want to do everything you can to help the team and when you make a mistake like that it hurts. But being a goalie you have to shake it off because you always know there is another one coming. All the credit to the guys, they responded so well for me. I’m just very grateful for the way it turned out.”

On the confidence of the team heading into penalties…
“I think it was good. We battled so hard. It was such a tough game. The atmosphere was crazy. We battled so hard. It almost felt like it was meant to be our night. The guys stepped up and nailed most of their penalties and I thought they did a really good job.“

On Osvaldo Alonso’s penalty kick…
“I just tried to read him and fortunately I got a good read on it and got two hands to it and was able to make a pretty comfortable save.”

On if it was emotionally exhausting…
“It was a bit of a roller coaster. Ending on a high, we feel really good. Everyone is really pumped.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastián Blanco
On his goal to tie the match…

“We were not creating many chances and when I saw that I had an opportunity, I took a shot. Luckily, the ball went in and that goal gave us life again. I saw that the goalkeeper couldn’t see me and that he couldn’t see the ball. Thanks to God the ball went in.”

On his defensive efforts throughout the match…
“I think I defended very well throughout the match. I made a couple of mistakes that could have cost us the match. In soccer it’s important to overcome adversity. Now, in the penalty kicks I knew we had to be confident. I am very happy about the victory and about the fact that we made it to the conference final.”

On the difficulty of defending against Seattle tonight…
“I am a professional. I have been playing soccer for 13 years. I am aware about the fact that sometimes you are going to make mistakes, but the game continues after any mistake and you have to capitalize on any opportunities to make it back into the match.”

Portland Timbers forward Dairon Asprilla (Translated)
Overall thoughts on the match…
“First of all, I want to thank God for the victory. It means a lot for us after all the hard work we had to put in. It’s very important to win a match in such way because it gives us even more confidence for what’s coming ahead.”

On scoring a goal during the match, as well as the definitive penalty kick…
“It makes very, very happy. I was waiting for an opportunity, just like many other teammates. It was a very special moment. I think if you try to do everything with love, things work out for you.”

On defeating Portland’s biggest rival…
“We haven’t won anything yet. Now we have to be humble because there is still much more ahead of us.”

On his thoughts when walking to take the definitive penalty kick…
“It was definitely a special moment. I faced the same situation in 2015 but today I lived it in a different way because I had to close the round. I am very happy. I thought a lot about my family and everything I have gone through. But thanks to God we came on top tonight.”

Seattle Sounders FC head coach Brian Schmetzer
On his emotions throughout extra time and penalties…
“Obviously, we’re down now. So, the end result was not good. But, certainly there were moments of joy and euphoria – happiness, thinking you had the game in control and then it’s snatched away from you. It’s always challenging. It’s always hard. I think one constant from all the ups and downs was, again, the mentality of that group, the fight of that group. When it went low, they picked themselves up. During the highs, you could just tell. You could just see on the field that they were in that moment. At the end of the day, Portland is going through.”

On what he says to his players after a loss like this…
“Not a lot. I’m actually at a loss for words because they put everything into the game. So, you can’t fault them for effort, you can’t fault them for tactics, you can’t fault them for sticking together. They never quit. So, you just thank them for all of the effort and all of the work that they put in throughout the whole season. You just try to get them to individually take away all of the good things they had during the season.”

Seattle Sounders FC forward Will Bruin
On the match…
“It’s going to sting for a while personally, but that’s how it goes in playoffs. Sometimes you get punished on mistakes. For their goal in overtime, I lost the ball and that’s how they got it and put a cross in and scored. I’ll take this one extra hard.”  

Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei
On his feelings post-match…
“We’re obviously disappointed to no longer be in the playoffs and to have a chance to add some trophies. We played a good game. I’m proud of the guys. They put in a lot of effort this game. They put a lot of effort in this season. It was a long and grueling season, so for us to find ourselves in the playoffs was a nice thing. It was really good and it required a lot of effort on everybody’s part. I think today, again, we showed a lot of heart. We showed that we care. Resilience. We didn’t give up. That’s been a trademark of this team, but at the end someone has to win. Obviously, we would have liked it to be us, but they also played a good game. It’s probably, for a neutral fan, a very good game to watch. For us it’s going to sting a little bit but I’m proud of the guys just the same.”

On mutual respect with opposition after the match…
“I think there’s always been respect between the players. We understand the rivalry is a real thing and I think that’s why today, too, there’s a lot of heart, a lot of soul poured into this game on both sides. It was a pleasure to be a part of that. I think this is going to go down as one of the feistiest and probably best games to watch in our rivalry in history. There’s definitely respect there. It sucks to come out at the bottom in the end, but I’m proud of our guys. They had a good series as well and they are going to go through. It is what it is.”

Notes:

  • The Timbers advanced to the Western Conference Championship for the third time (2013, 2015, 2018) in the last six seasons.
  • Portland has knocked Seattle out of the playoffs three times in the club’s history across all eras (1975, 2013, 2018).
  • In 15 MLS playoff matches, the Timbers have posted a record of 7-4-4 with 25 goals scored. Their goals-per-game average of 1.67 is fourth-highest among all MLS teams.
  • Since MLS returned to the two-conference playoff format, the 2018 Timbers are just the second Western Conference team to score two or more goals in each of their first three matches of a single postseason. The only other Western Conference team to accomplish this was the 2013 Timbers.
  • The penalty-kick shootout was the fourth in a competitive match in all eras of the club, joining 2007 USL Playoffs vs. Atlanta Silverbacks, 2010 U.S. Open Cup third round vs. Seattle and 2015 MLS Knockout Round vs. Sporting Kansas City.
  • Valeri recorded the seventh assist of his MLS postseason career. His seven assists are the most playoff assists of any active MLS player.
  • In Valeri’s last eight playoff games, he has three goals and six assists.
  • For the second consecutive matches, Sebastián Blanco scored for Portland. The goal was Blanco's third against Seattle this season. 
  • Blanco is the first Timbers player to score multiple playoff goals against Sounders FC.
  • Dairon Asprilla scored his third career playoff goal for Portland. Asprilla ranks second for most playoff goals by a Timbers player in all eras of the club.
  • Asprilla is one of two Timbers players to score in three different postseasons for the club, having scored in 2015, 2017 and 2018, joining Valeri.
  • Asprilla also delivered an assist in the match. It was Asprilla’s fourth career assist in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • Andrés Flores made his MLS Cup Playoffs debut in the match.
  • Alvas Powell made his 2018 postseason debut, appearing in his ninth career playoff match for the Timbers.
  • The match was the 104th meeting overall between the Timbers and Sounders, dating back to 1975. It marked the ninth playoff match between the two clubs and the fourth postseason meeting in MLS era.

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