Bill Tuiloma #2, Timbers @ TFC, 4.27.19
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Quotes & Notes | Toronto FC 1, Portland Timbers 2 | Apr. 27, 2019

Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese
On how he feels after two straight wins…

“It feels good for sure especially because this is our team. This is the Portland Timbers that we know. With the spirit, with the mentality, with the heart, with the sacrifice within the field. The first half, it was very good because we kept the ball, we created chances. In the second half towards the end it was about sacrifice and making sure we didn’t concede anything, and the guys did a very good job today.”

On containing Alejandro Pozuelo…
“He’s a talented player. A very good player. Time and space, we had to take it away from him, and I thought our guys did a great job to make sure that he didn’t have that much space and time to be able to play the way he plays. And especially also cover the spaces in behind to not give him any opportunities to put balls in to players that then found the spaces in behind. So I thought the two things that we tried to do the guys executed in a very good way.”

On closing out the game..
“That we are finding again the mentality that shows in our team. That’s the character of our team. The DNA of our team. And again I think three weeks the guys have stepped up the level and today was a very difficult victory against a very good team in a difficult stadium and the guys put everything in to make sure we got the win we were looking for.”

On the team going from Columbus to Toronto and staying on the road…
“We knew it was going to be difficult to be away from the family all this week, it’s been about 10 days. And the guys, they felt they need to make it worth it to make sure that at least the sacrifice to be away had to be for some value and they showed it today.”

Portland Timbers defender Bill Tuiloma
On how good it feels to get the win…
“It feels good. It feels great. It’s awesome. The team battled until the end. We gave it our all. Everyone knew what we need to do on the field and we knew what Toronto was going to give us and it was a great team effort.”

On his goal…
“We knew they had zonal players and they have like three marking and I saw Larrys [Mabiala] go near post, so I waited for the right time to go and it went just over Larrys head and I was there to clean it up and put it in the goal. Yeah it was crazy.”

On the team’s defensive performance defending Pozuelo…
“Watching videos of Toronto, he’s one of their best players and everything goes through him. I told them on the field, ‘keep compact in the middle, don’t allow spaces to open for them to get the ball to him,’ and we did that job really well. We made him go out wide and defended well. We kept composed and stayed in our positions and the outcome came out really good for us.” 

Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse
On his thoughts on the game…
“I think it was a tenacious performance from the guys. Obviously to go down 1-0 early in the game, we could have put our heads down. With last week and this week, we’ve seen a little bit more tenacity and togetherness within the group that pushed us to Bill’s [Tuiloma] screamer and to another goal in the second half.”

On his goal…
“I just remember making kind of a near post run to get a ball on the ground at first and Seba [Sebastián Blanco] didn’t play it, so I just recycled and tried to get to the center of the goal and by that point Seba played a ball to me a ball that he’s played to me a dozen times already, so I knew as soon as I came off his foot I just needed to be in the right spot to finish it.”

On the team defense…
“We’ve known that we’ve conceded a lot of goals at the beginning of the season and that comes from the whole team, not just the backline or the midfielders. So from the top down we wanted to be as compact and as hard to beat as possible. We conceded off a set piece, which is disappointing, but didn’t conceded too many chances from open play, which is important and everyone was defending until the final minute.”

Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney
What do you think the difference was out there today…
“I thought in simple terms we were disconnected most of the day and in between things. They were far better connected than we were. In simple terms there are a lot of little details that might go into that in some ways. They were more cohesive as a group, both on the defending side and then on the attacking side when they won it than we were. Because of that they were able, I thought, to control the game. Too many careless losses of possession. You lose possession carelessly between your lines you’re always going to be in recovery defensively because if you want to be a possession-oriented team, in order to possess you need to open up the space, but if you turn over the ball carelessly, then you’re exposed. That doesn’t mean that they’re going to score in those transitions but you’re going to be in recovery and you’re not going to be in control as much. And I thought we had too many of those as well. I counted, I think I saw seven lost back passes in the first half. If you lose back passes, you’re going to have a bad day. We were disconnected in that way, we were disconnected in some of our possessions. It’s one thing to pass the ball around and keep possession. It’s another thing to take a possession and turn it into a real attack and in order to turn something into a real attack you have to have people who are moving in coordination with each other to manipulate the defending positions of the opposition to move, create space, get behind them. I thought a lot of things were a little bit individual and too slow to have any real bite to it. To be fair, at the end of the game when were down a goal and pushing for one was the first time, I thought we actually skipped past people. We tried to switch the ball from one side to another. We tried to put the ball behind their line. We put some things in front of the goal. We actually made them have to come up with a play or two. You expose yourself a little bit during that process but at the same time there is a collective purpose of what we are trying to do which is get behind the opposition. Get into dangerous areas. Sometimes I think through all of our possession we had recently, some of that has turned into too much possession for the sake of possession, and not enough possession for the sake of creating an opportunity and scoring a goal. We have to find that balance better because I think when we are losing balls between lines and without any venom in our attack then we’re going to be vulnerable for things in the transition and we’ll be vulnerable to the opposition.”

Toronto FC goalkeeper Quentin Westberg
What was the breaking point of the game…
“Whoever we play we always want to get points out of games. We have to give the Timbers credit as they were clinical in both their finishes. We need to work on some stuff as well despite being very gifted throughout the field with a lot of quality in our squad. If it was just as easy as standing on the field and getting points, we would all play soccer.”

Did Portland play like a team in desperation for points…
“I didn’t think so. I felt like they played like a composed team. We didn’t create enough trouble for them and force their offensive players to defend.”

Toronto FC defender Justin Morrow
Did you feel there was a disconnection…
“I felt we didn’t execute on either end of the field. Portland came in on a stretch where they are not playing at home and scrapping for points and we just didn’t do good enough.”

Notes:

  • The win marked the first time the Timbers won in Toronto, and marked the first time in the all-time series between the two teams that the road team emerged victorious.
  • Portland recorded back-to-back road wins for the first time since Oct. 14-18, 2015.
  • Bill Tuiloma tallied his first goal of the season and the second of his MLS career.
  • Tuiloma is the third defender to score for the Timbers this season, which is the most among MLS teams.
  • Tuiloma became the seventh player to score a goal for Portland in 2019.
  • Tuiloma’s goal came just two minutes after Toronto’s goal. It was the quickest response by the Timbers in a match since Aug. 12, 2017, which was also against Toronto.
  • Diego Valeri recorded two assists in the match bringing his season total to six assists. His six assists are tied for the most in MLS this season.
  • Jeremy Ebobisse scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season, scoring in consecutive matches for the first time in his MLS career.
  • Valeri now has 71 assists for his MLS career, which moves him into 17th place all-time in MLS history.
  • Sebastián Blanco notched his fourth assist of the season – all of which have come in the last three matches.
  • For the first time in his MLS career, Blanco has delivered an assist in three consecutive matches.  
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