Jeremy Ebobisse, Timbers vs. LA, 7.13.20
(adidas Creators Network)

Quotes & Notes | LA Galaxy 1, Portland Timbers 2 | July 13, 2020

Portland Timbers Quotes
Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese
General thoughts on the match…
“A difficult game. We knew that every game that we will play in this group is going to be tough. Every opposition brings something different that is competitive and we knew today, regardless of the fact that [LA Galaxy] had Jonathan Dos Santos out, they still were going to be a difficult match and a difficult team to play against. I think the performance of the players was excellent. The discipline in making sure that we close our spaces when we had to, but most of all when we had the ball, we were able to move it well, keep it. We had some moments in which we were in a little bit of difficulty because of the humidity. But I think the key factors were the substitutions because I think the guys that came in gave that oxygen to those that were playing already in order to make sure that we got a very good result.”

On how the Timbers seem to become stronger in tournament-style situations…
“I believe our players have experience. They understand that these types of games, the only way you can prevail is by giving everything that you have. Making sure that we’re competitive, that we’re disciplined in the things that we worked on. I think that experience that we have with [Diego] Valeri, [Sebastián Blanco], [Diego] Chara, [Larrys] Mabiala and others in this type of competition, in playoff time, they step it up and they bring with them the younger players as well. So I think today all around, it was a good performance. We can still be better in some areas, but I think overall it was a deserved win for us.”

On Yimmi Chara’s performance tonight…
[Through translator] “We know Yimmi’s quality. He’s a very important player for us and that is the reason he was brought in as a [Designated Player]. He has many skills that are going to help us to make us a better team. He will continue to be important. Today was a little bit more about management, the humidity of the game. When he entered the match in the second half, we knew he was going to perform. He actually changed the match because there was a little tiredness in the team and he gave us a lot of oxygen, more attack. He’s a very important player and I have no doubt he will continue to get used to this league.”

On how the Timber’s maintain defensive focus and motivation…
“We understood exactly the way they play. They are a difficult team, as you mentioned. They are a team that puts good crosses in. They rely on overlaps of fullbacks, being very aggressive in the wide areas to put crosses in. They did that last year with [Zlatan] Ibrahimović. They do it a little bit different right now with Chicharito. It was very important for us to make sure we doubled up on the outside to make sure that we follow the spaces and the runners in the box, especially understand the type of movement Chicharito makes. At the end I thought the guys did a very good job, as you mentioned, to make sure that we always were in the right areas, covering each other. Being smart, keeping the line together and that’s how [LA Galaxy] were able to score the goal that was offside. So credit to our defenders that we were able to keep the line very together in that moment and organized. Overall, it was a very good performance, making sure that we covered well the spaces. But even more so, to make sure we prevent the crosses and we always had players covering the back of each other and I think that was a key factor in this match because, as you mentioned, they are very good in those areas and Chicharito has made a living inside the box. So, I was very proud of the performance of my players.”

On whether he’s satisfied with the team’s performance…
“The team played a very good match. The team generated situations to create danger even more than the Galaxy. We missed that second player inside of the box and in the second half, it was much more difficult. In certain moments [LA Galaxy] attacked a lot, but we knew how to defend, and we did things properly. Unfortunately they scored, but we created a lot of opportunities. It could have been a very different score. They fought a lot but I’m very proud of our players because they performed very well tonight.”

On whether he would have rather played a different team for the first game back...
“I don’t think that choosing another opposition makes the game easier. I respect every team in MLS and every team that we have to play. For me to say that if we play another team, it would have been better, I don’t believe in that. I think we were drawn into this very difficult group. We’re ready to match up with the group to make sure that we come here to compete. I said it from the beginning. My players were eager to play, to step on the field, to go back to competition level. So we saw that today. Even when we were one man down, the guys, the effort that everyone put in was excellent. So I believe that we got into the group that we got into and we have to compete there. It is difficult. Good teams. We knew today the Galaxy is a good team. It was going to be a difficult opponent for us to face and we did a great job. Can we be better? Definitely. We can be always better. We’re never satisfied in the sense of continue to be a better team. But the performance today was a very balanced, emotional, tactically smart, knowing the moments to keep the ball. I thought that there were moments in the first half and towards the end of the second half in which we moved the ball very well and I thought the performance was one that deserved the victory.”

On Steve Clark’s penalty kick save and his reaction…
“I just saw it so it was pretty funny. I was feeling in the moment, I really had a feeling that he was going to save it. I even told [Sebastián Blanco] ‘just be ready a little bit higher. When he saves it, that he can play you the ball in behind.’ That’s the confidence that our goalkeepers give us. Not only Clark. [Aljaz] Ivacic, Jeff [Attinella], that they’re always going to give everything. That was a key moment in the game for sure. Key moment for us to save that goal from going in, keep us in the game and then in the second half, being able to create those chances that put us on top of the match. Phenomenal moment for Steve Clark.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastián Blanco
On how important it is to start with a win…
[Through translator] “This is a very important win. It has been four months, four long months without any competition or friendly matches. Mentally it was very difficult and physically. It’s very important to be able to start this way because it gives us a lot of trust and it shows how seriously we’re taking this competition and how hard we’ve been working.”

On if he has another lung based on how much he was running…
[Through translator] “Sure. In reality it was very difficult, especially in the first half because physically, it was difficult to find a rhythm. In the second half, to find that goal at the very beginning was very good because it gave the team a lot of trust and it also motivated the team to give that extra push. Now there is time to work on the mental aspect as well because a lot of times you can focus, but the legs don’t really respond the way you want them to. But today I think we played pretty smart and we played a very intelligent match.”

On Yimmi Chara’s addition to the team and his performance tonight…
[Through translator] “He is a great person and that is one of the most important traits because first of all, we like to work with good people. Yimmi, just like his brother [Diego Chara], are good people and they’re very important to the team. Not only that, but he also has a lot of experience. He’s played great tournaments around the world and he is a player that is going to come and add to the game and add to the team. Any player who does that is more than welcome in the organization.”

On his positioning defending a LA Galaxy freekick where he was behind the main Timber’s wall…
[Through translator] “Steve Clark asked him to be there. [Blanco] was afraid the ball might hit him in the hand, but fortunately enough the ball went in the opposite direction. It’s very difficult when you’re that close to the goal, but luckily it didn’t happen.”

On what coach Giovanni Savarese said to Blanco around halftime…
[Through translator] “[Giovanni Savarese] told him, he was going to get him off the game. Eight to 10 minutes after that [Blanco] was supposed to modify a little bit, but then the Timbers got a red card and the plans changed. Obviously it’s different, the motivation, when you’re winning. You’re always tired, but when you’re winning, you know it’s going to be more manageable.”

Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse
On scoring in the first game back after a very difficult number of months…
“I think you mentioned it, it’s been a challenge on and off the field given the pandemic and the racial injustice going on around this country. Those emotions and the distress you build up during these tough times sometimes they carry onto the field where you can’t find that sense of freedom and sanctity. Luckily tonight we were on message, in form given that it was our first game in four months and for me personally, my first extended minutes competitively since November. Overall, very happy with the result. I think the team played really well, fought hard when we were down against it, but ultimately our quality showed through.”

On the shirts players wore before the match…
“I think it’s important to recognize during these moments of solidarity, it’s important to make sure that solidarity isn’t superficial and you’re actually putting thought into what you’re putting out. What you saw before the game and what you saw us warm up in, both of those separate shirts were a direct result of the hard work of many people to put the logistics into action so that we could send out a strong message. Both being that Black lives have always mattered. It’s not because we’re in a global pandemic and everything is shut down and you see a video that they start mattering now. They always have. People have been yelling it and we just wanted to showcase the range in which people have been killed. The diversity of those killed as well, even some from France as well. So it’s been a tough moment but I think given the increased attention, the continued attention, and the organizational structure we’re building here amongst some of the players in the league with the support of others, we have the potential to change a lot of structural issues around us.”

On what he saw in the play to get in the right position before he scored…
“I think any game you play it’s important to make good runs in the box, to gain positional advantage. There was a little bit of chaos leading up to that. [Sebastián Blanco] dug a good ball out of a tough situation. As soon as he’s facing the box, I’m immediately positioning myself within the goal frame, hoping that it comes in my direction. In this case, I was just working on making sure the guy that was tight on me, couldn’t knock me off balance because ultimately I was so close to goal, all I needed was a redirection as you all saw. Each game presents different opportunities and I’m glad that one presented itself to me and I was able to take advantage of it.”

Notes:

  • Jeremy Ebobisse tallied his first goal of the 2020 season in the match and the 15th regular-season goal of his Timbers career.
  • Ebobisse has scored a goal in each of his three career matches against the Galaxy.
  • Sebastían Blanco recorded his first goal and assist of the 2020 season.
  • Blanco has scored 25 league goals for Portland, which is tied for 10th place on the all-time scoring list across all eras for the Timbers.
  • Blanco registered his 31st career assist for the Timbers. His 31 assists are tied for the second-most career assists in MLS play for Portland and rank as the fifth-most in all eras of the club.
  • Diego Valeri registered his first of the 2020 campaign and the 82nd of his MLS career.
  • Jaroslaw Niezgoda made his Timbers debut, entering the match as a second-half substitute.
  • Marvin Loría made his first appearance of the 2020 season, starting and logging 58 minutes in his season debut.
  • Eryk Williamson earned his first start of the 2020 season, playing 89 minutes.
  • Steve Clark stopped a penalty kick for the second time in his Timbers career. Clark's two penalty kick saves are the same amount as all other Timbers goalkeepers combined in MLS play.
  • Clark has saved six penalty kicks in MLS play since his debut in the league in 2014, which is tied for the fourth-most among MLS goalkeepers in that span. 
  • Ebobisse has played in 56 consecutive matches in all competitions, dating back to the 2018 season.  
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