Dario Zuparic, Timbers vs. Loons, 3.1.20
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 1, Minnesota United FC 3 | Mar. 1, 2020

Portland Timbers Quotes
Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese

General thoughts on the match…
“First of all, not the way we wanted to start the season. We have said, for the past two years, that we wanted to have a balanced schedule, to play at home. We didn’t take advantage of playing at home. We played a phenomenal first half. Phenomenal first half. But this is, right now, the way this team is and I need to work more. I need to make sure that we’re able to do better because to give up two goals in the second half, after we were 1-1, it’s not what we wanted. Especially in what we showed in the first half, which we were completely dominant in the match. Created many chances. Had opportunities and it’s all on us. I think we gave the game away. Credit to [Minnesota] because they worked more than we did in the second half. They found the reward that they wanted and that they worked for in the second half. Again, we cannot be this team of two halves. We need to make sure that we are a little more consistent. The first half is the team we need to be but it needs to be complete in the match.”

On dealing with Minnesota’s transitional attack…
“Did you see it in the first half? Any counter? Exactly. So what do you fix? Stay disciplined. Stay disciplined in what we work and the things we needed to do and if we stay disciplined, and if we do the things that we have to do, then you don’t see those things. So what we have to do is make sure that things are a little bit more organized in those moments. Again, it’s my responsibility to make sure that those things don’t happen the way they happened in the second half.”

On playing a home game in March after two seasons that started with extended road games…
“It was an exciting moment for us to play at home, to be here. I think maybe we took it for granted. I think it’s something that I can think of because we were very excited for this match, to make sure we got a good result. We didn’t want to start the season like this. It’s unfortunate because we showed an incredible first half. Very dominant in so many ways. We put in place the things that we wanted to see. Ultimately, the result is the real value of what happened in the match. Even though we did many good things in the first half, we didn’t capitalize.”

On if Minnesota took advantage of unbalanced attacks from the Timbers to counter attack…
“Just an unbalanced team that allowed moments to the other team to be able to be dangerous. Created those moments in which you have to sacrifice defensively and you leave things to hope. Sometimes hope is not enough. Those moments, we need to be in control the way we did in the first half. It was unfortunate because, as I said, the team did very, very well. In the second half, unfortunately, we allowed those moments and then the game changed completely because now when you have to go and search the game and look for the game you open yourself to the situations we saw in the second half.”

On Felipe Mora’s performance…
“Very good. I think he gave us what we needed. Looked lively. He was constantly showing up and being dangerous. All around I think he had a very good game and he’s a very clever player. I thought he was a very important component in some of the success we had today.”

On the physicality that Minnesota brought to the game…
“It’s part of the game. I know that some people say that it is not part of it. It is part of the game and sometimes teams are going to use it against you. We don’t want to play that way. We want to play, you know, the best soccer that fans can enjoy. But it’s part of the game and they did it. They knew how to do it in the right moments and sometimes unfortunately that part of the game, when you do it at the right times, it was successful for them. There were a couple moments that unfortunately they were aggressive and we need to play with it. That sometimes is part of the game. We need to know how to be able to balance those moments and make sure that we don’t find them too many. Then it’s the responsibility of the referee to make sure that he keeps those things in control. Sometimes they do a better job than others, but at the end of the day, it’s part of the game.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On the performance of the team…
“Disappointed about the result. It was not what we wanted. It’s not the best start, but as you say it’s a long season. We have a game next weekend at home. We have another opportunity there. We will scout today’s game and see how it was, the positives and what we have to fix to manage the game and win.”

On the difference between the first and second half…
“In the second half they had success with the counter. They felt very comfortable in what they came to do. They were trying to score on a counter or a corner kick, and in the second half they were successful. So, that was the difference between the first and the second half. Then, being down in the result we had to push and it’s not easy when they have confidence with the result and sit back. We have to be better in how we manage those moments where we are creating and trying to reduce the danger on counters.”

On scoring in the first home game in front of the Timbers Army…
“It’s always special. It was a big responsibility taking the PK because it was an important moment of the game. Happy to have that moment. It’s always special for me to score in front of our crowd, but sadly it didn’t work to win the game and that’s the most important for me.” 

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Chara
General thoughts on the match…
“It was hard. I think we [played] a very good first half and then in the second half I think we made a lot of mistakes in the back. I think in those difficult moments, Minnesota scored three goals.”

On when the Timbers were pushing for a goal in the second half…
“A little bit because on the second goal that Minnesota scored, we were attacking. I think we need to be better in those situations in transition by maybe [committing] some fouls. We have this week to work and try to do better in the next game.”

On the perspective that there are a lot of games to play during the regular season…
“It’s a long season and we know that. I think we need to be better in the next games and now I think we need to work hard and be ready for the next game.”

On the feeling of playing with his brother Yimmi Chara…
“It was special and amazing to hear the crowd cheer for us and the first team. It was an amazing feeling.”

On walking out of the tunnel with Yimmi at the before the start of the match…
“It’s a great feeling. We were talking about that two days ago on how it would feel in that moment to walk into the stadium with the fans and crowd. It was an amazing feeling.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Yimmi Chara
On his impressions about his first match at Providence Park…
“I feel very happy because I really wanted to play my first official match here at Providence Park. The fans were great and made me feel at ease right away. Unfortunately we did not get the result we expected, but I still think the team played a good match.”

On his feelings about his performance against Minnesota…
“Personally, I felt great, very comfortable. The result tonight tells you that you need to work hard every day to improve and be better. I can already tell that this is a very demanding and physical tournament and you can only be successful if you are at your best.”

On the dynamics of playing along Diego Chara…
“We felt great. It’s a partnership you have to work on day by day. That is one of the things we have been doing during training sessions and it’s something we want to also do on the field during games. It’s a work in progress, but we will continue to do the best we can.” 

Minnesota United FC head coach Adrian Heath
General thoughts on the match...
“I thought we started a little bit slow. Our ball retention wasn’t the best first 10-15 minutes and we weathered a couple of opportunities from them. But after I thought, once we weathered the storm, I thought we were more than capable of catching them on the break, on the counter-attack, and I did say to them if we don’t concede any more, we can win this game.”

On his expectations of Kevin Molino and Ethan Finlay...
“It was a great ball from Ethan, a really good header down, you know heading it down makes it difficult for the keeper. Pleased for Kev [Kevin Molino] because he’s worked real hard in preseason, trying to get him back into thinking about scoring goals. Trust me, it’s never an easy place to come and play football, especially on the opening day when everybody’s full of everything because it’s the opening day of the season. So, delighted for the players, all the hard work they put in preseason actually showed with our defensive shape at times. I thought they were excellent.”

On his first win here at Providence Park in four years...
“I think it is, is it? Just as I said, I’m pleased for about, what do you have, a couple of hundred people up in the corner there of Minnesota fans so it was great to give them something to cheer. I thank them for the support and now we dust ourselves down, go again on Monday and let’s see where we are next week at San Jose.”

On Ethan Finlay’s performance...
“His energy levels were terrific but that’s what we know we got with Ethan. He’s put a bit of quality in for a great bit of movement from Luis [Amarilla], he looks to run in near post, balls off the back shoulder, all the stuff that we were talking about, his movement, and as I say, pleased for him, pleased for Kev [Kevin Molino] and no I’m just pleased for the group.”

On Luis Amarilla’s missed opportunity in the first half...
“He’ll be disappointed with the one from the corner in the first half. And if you look we had two or three really other good opportunities as well. Keeper made a great save from Robin Lod, which would’ve took us to 2-1 back up again. But overall, delighted with everything. Delighted with the application of the guys to stick to the game plan and work really hard. So a good start.”

On coming back from Portland’s equalizer...
“The shape was really good all night you know, they got really quality players, they spent an awful lot of money putting together this group of players together, Portland. So we knew we were going to have to withstand 10-15 at a time of defending in our box and when we did, when we needed it, Boxie [Michael Boxall], Ike [Opara], Romain [Metanire] and Chase [Gaspar], they stood up and I thought we were worthy winners in the end actually.”

On Tyler Miller’s performance...
“Great presence coming in between bodies to come and take crosses. As I say, delighted for everyone.”

Minnesota United FC midfielder Ethan Finlay
General thoughts on the match...
“Great team win tonight. We were able to weather the storm the first 15 minutes, settle down I think and we knew what this game was going to be about. It’s early in the season, things aren’t always the prettiest sometimes and I think we had some sloppy moments maybe in the first half and then we kind of figured it out and started to really settle in and really took advantage on the counter-attack and we’re very clinical so really happy with the start from all phases.”

On if this is what Adrian Heath expects from he and Kevin Molino…
“I mean yeah, two and two, two assists for me and two goals for him, a great start to our 2020 campaign. So yeah we’re just getting going. Luis [Amarilla] one of 25 in the books here so a really nice night for all the guys along the front line.”

Minnesota United FC midfielder Kevin Molino
On the team’s second-half performance...
“After a difficult first half, all credit to them, I think we fought hard and stuck together as a team. You know Portland is a very good team at home, they have a lot of quality, the fans get involved in the game and of course [it was] difficult the first 15 minutes but we weathered the storm and we got a goal and we rallied together as a team.”

On if this is what Adrian Heath wants from him and Ethan Finlay…
“I felt good all preseason, I put in a lot of work and now it’s the result of the work that I put in through preseason and you know all credit to the team, not just me and Ethan, it was a team performance defensively, midfield and attacking and we’re happy for the win.”

On his first goal…
“It was anticipation thinking that the ball was going to come back to me and I followed up and take my time and scored for the team.”

On his second goal of the match…
“Good combination with the team and I take my time and score a goal.”

Notes:

  • Yimmi Chara, Felipe Mora and Dario Zuparic each made their MLS debuts in the match for the Timbers.
  • Diego and Yimmi Chara became the 15th set of brothers to play on the same team at the same time in MLS history.
  • Diego and Yimmi are the fourth set of brothers to play for the Timbers in all eras of the club, joining Brian and Bruce Gant, Dell and Grant Herreid and Josh and Shawn Saunders.
  • Diego Valeri scored his 77th regular-season goal for the Timbers. The goal was his 19th career penalty-kick goal, which is tied for the six-most in league history with Federico Higuain.
  • Valeri has scored six goals in season openers for Portland, tallying goals in 2020, 2019, 2017, 2016 and 2013.
  • With this goal, Valeri became the first Timbers player ever to score in eight different seasons.
  • Jeremy Ebobisse appeared in his 54th consecutive match in all competitions, which is the third-longest active streak among MLS players.
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