Giovanni Savarese, Timbers @ RSL, 5.4.19
(USA Today Sports Images)

Quotes & Notes | Real Salt Lake 1, Portland Timbers 2 | May 4, 2019

Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese
On how this win feels…
“It feels good again, but we wouldn’t be able to accomplish this without the work of the players; they did a great job. They really put their heart into the match. Even though sometimes we could have been a little bit better with the ball, I thought that the guys just worked very hard to make sure we made it very difficult for RSL today. It’s an important win for us, in a difficult place, and I’m very content with the performance of the guys.”

On the team’s defensive performance…
“We were difficult to break down. I thought, especially in the first half, [RSL] had a lot of difficulty finding spaces in between the lines. I thought the guys were ready to close the spaces and I thought also the reactions to make sure that we got back quickly in the spaces behind was very good. In some moments keeping the high line and offsides, the movements of their strikers, it was also very good in the first half. I think in the second half it became a little more difficult. I think also the guys got a little bit tired, but overall the work was fantastic tonight.”

On the importance of the reaction after Real Salt Lake scored…
“It’s a different mentality that this group has now. After we spoke and sat down, we focused on the things that we needed to do and today was great. And besides that [Diego] Valeri and Seba [Sebastián Blanco] found the moments to be able to give us the two goals that gave us oxygen to make sure that we continued to do the things that we did very well today.”

On the luxury of having multiple quality goalkeepers to rely upon…
“It’s great to have two goalkeepers that do very well. I think Steve Clark did a great job today. The PK was an important moment for us in the game, but Jeff [Attinella] has done those types of things also, so I’m very lucky to have two great goalkeepers right now competing all the time to try to play.”

Portland Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark
On the team’s current run of form, with three straight road victories...
“I think that it took us a while to get going here. Playing on the road every weekend it’s difficult, but now we are a bunch of road dogs. I feel like, specifically, when we are talking defensively, our shape, and you saw how many offsides they had, our backline has been fantastic. And I like to get on the ball out there and I think some of that fluidity on the ball has helped us as well.”

On the importance of Mabiala and Tuiloma…
“They are just on point every game and you see our line – it’s almost back to where it was on the playoffs. So I think it took us a few games to really figure out where we are at, and I am also really enjoying playing some sweeper ’keeper, because the line is a little higher and I have some room to move back there and that’s what I love to do.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On the importance of the win...
"It was really important. We are using momentum to get these points back because we lost a lot of points at the start of the season. And it's really important on the road and we had good performances. So that's the most important for us; to keep building from those performances and then the points will come."

On the team's defensive performance...
"I think, collectively, we are defending more compact and maybe a little deeper some moments of the games, most likely when we cannot possess the ball for a long period of time. Not allowing them to get crosses is important and being be more focused gives us confidence to keep defending in that way. Then, obviously today with a very good save by Steve [Clark], that gave us confidence too."

On his on-field relationship with Sebastian Blanco...
"For me, it's very important. You always want that kind of relationship with great players. We know each other really well; we have been playing a lot of years, a lot of games together, and we understand each other very well. All the relationships, we want to put in to the benefit of the team. Today, luckily, we scored a couple goals, we connected well too. We didn't have a lot of chances, but we were very efficient."

On finishing up the team's extended stretch of road games and getting back to Providence Park...
"One at a time. Obviously we are expecting that first game in June at home, but you know, one at a time. Vancouver won this weekend and they are coming with some confidence too. So it's not an easy game. And as I said before, we'll keep building with our performances and we know that we can beat whoever we play."

Notes:

  • Portland is 5-1-1 in its last seven matches at Rio Tinto Stadium. Those five wins are the most at any away venue for the Timbers since the club joined MLS in 2011.
  • The Timbers have scored 18 goals in MLS regular-season matches at Rio Tinto Stadium, which is the most goals Portland has scored in any away venue.
  • The Timbers have won three consecutive road matches for the third time in MLS play and the first time since the 2015 season.
  • With two goals, Portland has scored multiple goals in three consecutive road matches for the fifth time in MLS play.
  • Diego Valeri is the ninth player in MLS history to score 70 or more goals and have 70 or more assists.
  • Sebastián Blanco scored his second goal of the season and the 20th of his Timbers career.
  • Blanco is the sixth player in Timbers history, across all eras, to have 20 or more goals and 20 or more assists for the club. He joins Valeri, Darlington Nagbe, Dale Mitchell, John Bain and Clyde Best.
  • Blanco has scored or tallied assist in four straight matches for the second time in his career with Portland.
  • Steve Clark is the third Timbers goalkeeper to save a penalty kick in the club’s MLS era, joining Jeff Attinella and Andrew Weber.
  • Clark now has five penalty saves in his MLS career. Since his league debut in 2014, Clark is one of six goalkeepers to have five or more penalty-kick saves.
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