Portland Timbers defenders Larrys Mabiala and Bill Tuiloma were made available to local media after the team’s practice on Wednesday. Timbers.com asked each player the same, four questions, getting their perspective on the team’s start and how Portland can move forward.
Q: On any of your previous teams, have you ever been in this type of situation before?
Tuiloma has played in his native New Zealand, France, and in Major League Soccer. Mabiala started his career in Paris, spent a short amount of time in England, and had five years in Turkey before coming to the U.S.
Bill Tuiloma: Yes, similar, in France with Marseille. We had a little spell where we weren’t doing so well.
Then again, we bounced back, and I know we can do that with the Portland Timbers. We’ve got the players, here. We’ve got the technique. We’ve got the players who can play football. I know we can change that. We can change that around, really quick.
I believe in them, and everyone believes in each other, as a chemistry and as a team, as well.
Larrys Mabiala: In terms of results, yes. I’ve already been in this situation, but not in the amount of the goals conceded, which is the most difficult thing to swallow. Because you can lose by one goal, one or two goals, but we are losing by a big amount. We are performing very poorly.
It’s tough, but I’ve been through these kinds of situations, (and) I’ve always, so far, been able to rebound. I hope it’s going to be the same this year.
Q: For a fan that hasn’t followed every detail of the season, how would you explain how the Timbers got to this point?
Mabiala: It’s hard for a Timbers fan to understand, and it’s hard for ourselves to understand.
I think that we are working very well, but unfortunately the work and the amount of work we’re put into the preseason and the beginning of the season is not what we’ve shown on the field, on weekends. Yeah, it’s hard.
My opinion is (it’s) mostly because we are less united than what we used to before. Last year, especially. Even if we were not the best team soccer-wise, we were not playing the most pleasant soccer in the league, we knew what we had to do all together.
Always, the solution that we found came through the collective. All together.
Tuiloma: I would say don’t worry. We’ll come back. I know for sure we’ll come back. As a team, one hundred percent. I know it’s going to happen.
Q: And what needs to happen now for this team to start moving forward?
Tuiloma: Work together. Work as a team. Be better for one another. Do that extra run. Do that extra pass. Run for someone that’s not in his position. I know we can do that. We’ll go forward, from now on.
Mabiala: This year, we are little bit more spread out, trying to find solutions by ourselves. We expose the team a lot. That’s where you see a lot of weaknesses. The most important is to stay united at every point.
Q: And finally, from your point of view, how concerned should a Timbers fan be, right now?
Mabiala: Of course, when you are a real fan of the Timbers, you have to be concerned about the situation. As well, for us players, it’s very difficult to face it. But at the end of the day, we are putting a lot of work to rebound, in this situation.
I always believe that hard work pays off. I’m definitely sure that we will rebound and do better. They have to be concerned, yes, as we are, too. I think things are going to be alright very soon.
Tuiloma: They shouldn’t be concerned, at all. Because like I said, I believe in this team. We’ve got the players to win games. Let’s go forward from here. Yeah, don’t be concerned, at all.