Diego Chara, Timbers @ Union, 5.25.19
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | Philadelphia Union 1, Portland Timbers 3 | May 25, 2019

Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese
Overall thoughts on the match…

“The guys were great. We had a rough start; we had to change some things to make sure that we closed some spaces. The guys adapted right away to what we needed. And then in the second half we sacrificed, they brought some difficult things in our back, but we defended well, and we were clinical in our moments going forward. We were good on the ball, to move the ball around, and we had some players like Valeri, Fernandez, Blanco, Chara, and others that really raised the level. So very important win for us, and now finally we are able to go back home.”

On what he saw from Philadelphia…
“They are a difficult team. In the first half, they’re playing one way, and then all of a sudden at halftime you have a change of system, and you have a player like Ilsinho coming in, [and he] is very crafty, very good on the ball, and created some dangerous moments. We defended well, we knew how to come back and close spaces, and then maybe sometimes you have to have a little luck on your side, but we were clinical tonight. We suffered in the right way to be able to defend the way we wanted.”

On how team has evolved over last two months…
“I think the past 6-7 games, the team just changed gears. We have been just facing every team in a different way, the quality has been really good. I think once we go into the field with a good fight, we were able to achieve good things.”

On looking forward to the first home game after a record 12-game road trip to start the season…
“We’ve been delayed to say anything about it, but now we definitely can talk, because it’s the next game coming. We have to look at it with a lot of balance, being calm. It’s exciting, it’s great, we’re content, we can’t wait to be there. But it’s important that we stay focused in what we need to do, stay focused in our plan, and enjoy the moment. It’s been long, but we’re finally going to be able to be back home.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On the team being clinical and the importance of win
“It’s really important before we start our games at home. After our start, it’s a good amount of points we’ve collected now on the road. And now we have to use this momentum going forward at home. And I agree we were clinical today. We had our moments, we were very efficient. They had a good start to the second half, but we were very efficient and won the game.”

On the importance of his late goal that iced the game…
“I think it was very important, every goal is important. The third one just finished the game. They were pushing hard, we had a couple chances, but we needed that third goal that ended the game. I think Seba (Sebastián Blanco) set it up really well, and I just finished.”

On playing with Brian Fernandez, and his adaptation thus far…
“It’s a lot of fun. I think he is very happy to be here, and he wants to show that on the field. He’s ready to play games at home, he wants to see our crowd. It’s not easy, but he’s doing his job really well, moving well in the attack, being clinical in those moments. We are trying to get around him well, and get him balls to have more chances.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Chara
On the importance of the defense to get the win…
“It was very important for us. I think in the critical moments we had in the first half and the second half, the team did a really good job. And on the attacking side, we were effective and I think that was the key part in this game.”

On Brian Fernandez and his importance in the attack…
“I think he is a clever player for us. I think he today he two opportunities and he scored and he did his role. And after that from the attacking side, Diego Valeri, [Sebastián] Blanco and Jeremy [Ebobisse], I think everyone did a really good job.”

On returning to Providence Park after all the road games…
“It definitely was hard, 12 games away, but we have the confidence and the opportunity to play at Providence Park again and it’s going to be special for us.”

On playing against a team like Los Angeles FC in the home opener…
“We are really excited. I think it is a great challenge in the first home game of the season. Like I said before, it’s going to be a special game.”

Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin
Opening statements…

“Overall, rough night. I thought we actually started the game very well, first 25 minutes was strong. We had a couple mistakes, self-inflicted mistakes and lost our footing a little bit and got punished by a quality opponent. It’s a difficult lesson; I thought we pushed in the second half in a really good way. At 2-1, had enough chances to get the second goal, just wasn’t our night in terms of finishing up plays. We won’t allow things to get negative at this point, we’ve done a lot of good hard work, the players emptied their tank. It’s still a very exciting group, just made a couple mistakes in key moments tonight and got punished. It’s our first loss in seven games, it’s hard, we’ll learn from it, but we have a quick turnaround which is a good thing, and we have Colorado [Rapids] at home on Wednesday, so I’m fully confident that we’ll have a very strong response from the group. This feels tough, and we’re disappointed, but some nights when there is quality in the final third, you get punished and tonight was one of those nights.”

On if teams are more physical with Brenden Aaronson…
Yeah, he does a good job of putting defenders off balance, he gets away from them and I thought he still had a very good first half. They are going to be physical with him. They are going to kick him and foul him, but I think it is still a growing situation and a learning experience for each and every time he goes on the field. Listen, Diego Chara is the best defensive midfielder our league has and I think you saw that tonight. He is so important to everything the Timbers do. He allows the others to be free on the break and in transition. Brenden [Aaronson] played against one of the top number sixes in the league and I thought he still found really good pockets of space, did a good job turning, and made the defense uncomfortable. It is another night where he learns a little bit more and again this is a hard result for us, but I still think we will be better and learn from it. We will watch the tape, we know the mistakes that we made and we got punished for them. There is room for improvement.”

Philadelphia Union forward Kacper Przybylko
On his thoughts of the match…

“It feels like last week. We lost two points last week and today was the same. I also take it on my back that we lost the game today because I had a second great chance. I took it very risky, but the first ball that went in was lucky and unlucky on the second chance.”

On Portland Timber’s performance…
Compliments to Portland. They punished us; they did it well in scoring the goals, so they deserve the three points. We don’t deserve it because we didn’t score.”

Notes:

  • The Timbers are 4-1-1 in their last six road matches. It is the third time in Portland’s MLS history that the club has won four or more away matches over the span of six road games.
  • Portland’s four road wins are tied for the third-most road wins the club has had in a single season, behind only the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
  • The Timbers scored three or more goals in an away match for the third time this season, which is tied for the most in MLS In 2019.
  • Portland has recorded four consecutive wins against the Union, outscoring Philadelphia 11-3 in those matches.
  • Brian Fernandez scored two goals in his first start for the Timbers. Fernandez is the first Portland player to have a brace in his first MLS start for the club.
  • Fernandez is the second Timbers player to score in each of his first two MLS matches with the club, joining Gastón Fernández.
  • Diego Valeri scored his third goal of the season in the match.
  • Andy Polo notched his first assist of the season and the third of his Timbers career.
  • Valeri recorded his seventh of assist of the season, which is tied for second-most in MLS. With the assist against the Union, Valeri has 72 career MLS assists.
  • Valeri has tallied seven or more assists in each of his seven seasons with the Timbers.
  • Diego Chara recorded his second assist of the season, increasing his career total to 19 assists, which ranks as ninth-most in clubs history across all eras.
  • Sebastián Blanco delivered his sixth assist of the season, tying him for fourth-most in MLS in 2019.
  • Blanco now has 25 assists for his Timbers career and becomes the seventh Timbers player across all eras of the club to have 25 or more assists.
  • Eryk Williamson made his MLS debut, entering the match as a second-half substitute.
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