Diego Valeri, Timbers vs. FCC, 7.28.20
(adidas Creators Network)

Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 1 (4) , FC Cincinnati 1 (2) | July 28, 2020

Portland Timbers Quotes
Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese

On his thoughts on the game…
“We knew that it was going to be the most difficult match we played so far. The way Cincinnati is plays it’s difficult to break them down, credit to them. We knew it was going to be tough from the beginning to the end. Nevertheless, if the first half we were very much in control, we created some moments, some dangerous moments. Second half it was a half in which it became more of a transitional match and we still were the team to try to keep the ball going forward and we found and important goal. Then the game got equal and the guys kept on fighting all the way through the end and it wasn’t easy. The last few minutes were tough, but we were able to go through against a difficult team in a match that we knew was going to be very tough."

On Steve Clark responding to his mistake in the match and his performance…
“I am a strong believer that the most important part is how people respond to situations that are difficult. Clark, if you know Clark, he’s one that bounces back right away. When we went to PKs he told me, ‘I got it, don’t worry’. So, he’s one that we know that is going to understand he could have done better in the situation before, but he came back strong and big as he did in the PKs. Situations can happen, anyone can have those moments, but that’s where you are more united and that’s why I am so proud of this group.”

On what he can do to help players not get frustrated…
“I think one of the things we did well today was not get frustrated too many times. We knew that this would be an important component of this match being very balanced emotionally, making sure that we don’t force balls into areas. I thought the team did a great job to make sure we were patient. We tried to move the ball around and tried to find the right areas to be to able to create space and try to get in behind. And yes, there were some moments when the game became a bit transitional especially toward the end of the game, but the guys were up to the fight and we got a very important result to be able to go through. And a clinical finish from [Jaroslaw] Niezgoda as well and what work from the entire team against a team that we knew was going to be very difficult today.”

On how he stayed calm after Clark made a mistake…
[through a translator] “No, not really. It is something very natural. Players make mistakes every now and then and it is very important to give them trust in difficult moments. We knew that things would happen, and he knew Steve knew the situation. We know players try their very best match after match and even after this match, the PKs, Steve showed the trust that we give him is worth it. So, I think that was wonderful.”

On Yimmi Chara being substituted in the match…
[through a translator] “He played a very good match. He found spaces we were looking for and he was dangerous. He was very mobile, and he actually caused a lot of trouble for Cincinnati. He created a lot of danger and helped a lot in possession. I think we needed two strikers, maybe someone taller like [Jaroslaw] Niezgoda and Jeremy [Ebobisse] and the way they combine. Jeremy played on the right-hand side and Niezgoda was a very positive addition to score the goal. I think Yimmi had a phenomenal match.”

On if there is a team he thinks NYCFC plays like and the quick turnaround…
[through a translator] “I think having three more days to rest is important. That’s something that could help them, but our group is doing very well physically. During the quarantine we worked physically a lot and I think we are going to go out there with our best 11. NYCFC is a very organized team and they play good soccer. They didn’t really score a lot of goals at the beginning and that didn’t really match the style they were playing and the end you can maybe tell they were a little lucky they qualified, but they have really good structure and a really good team. So, I know it’s going to be a very difficult match and we are going to be ready for it.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastián Blanco
On if he saw Jarosław Niezgoda’s run inside the box for the Timbers goal…
[Through a translator] “Yes, sure. My head was raised. This is something we’ve been working on inside the box. It’s quite difficult to filter passes when you have that many players that are tall like Cincinnati’s. I thought if I try through the ground, it would be easier. I think more than a cross, it was just a pass, an assist I would say, because I saw him and fortunately enough he was able to control the ball perfectly and then score.”

On the physical and mental challenge of the game ahead of a potential quarter final in three days…
[Through a translator] “Well it would be a mistake for us if we started thinking about the next match before finishing this one. After 70 minutes it’s really tiring to be playing and to be looking for spaces. It can be frustrating when you’re trying to stay calm, but at the same time be tired. We knew that we did a good job. I think the last 15 minutes you could tell that we were physically tired, but we’re professionals. I think we played the best we could. Now New York City FC, they have two days more to rest than us, so we’ll see how it goes.”

On if the team needed to uplift Steve Clark after conceding the equalizing goal...
[Through a translator] “If you knew Steve Clark, you would know he doesn’t need support. I love his personality. Steve knew about his mistake and he knew that he would save us. Everybody makes mistakes and there was really no need for us to go that way. He knew that at the very end he was going to be able to perform and fortunately enough we were able to score our penalty kicks too. He fixed his mistake and there was really no need for any conversation after the match.”

On what was key for Portland to progress to the quarterfinals…
[Through a translator] “We worked very hard to be honest. In previous games we were more compact, and we worked very, very hard to keep our goals [conceded] at zero. Luckily enough we performed very well offensively, and we were able to score. We were organized, we were mature and I think we were more mature than at the very beginning of the season. This game in particular was very difficult. We didn’t really know how to maintain that advantage that we had after we scored the first goal. You get really tired mentally, probably more than any other game. This is the kind of match that if you don’t focus enough, you’re out. Fortunately enough we did a good job. We know what we’re capable of and I know we’re going to continue working hard to continue forward.”

Portland Timbers forward Jaroslaw Niezgoda
On trying to break down FC Cincinnati’s defense…
“I thought Cincinnati played very low and it was a very tough game for us. As I said, Cincinnati played low and were difficult to score a goal, but finally we scored a fair goal. But one mistake and they equalized. Good for us that we won in penalties.”


  • For the second consecutive match, Jaroslaw Niezgoda scored for the Timbers.
  • Niezgoda scored three minute after entering the match against FC Cincinnati and seven minutes into Portland’s match against LAFC on July 28.
  • Sebastián Blanco delivered an assist in his fourth consecutive match. It is the first time Blanco has recorded an assist in four straight matches during his career with the Timbers.
  • Blanco has recorded 36 assists in all competitions with Portland. His four assists ranks as the second-most in the tournament.
  • Felipe Mora made his tournament debut in the match.
  • The shootout was the fifth penalty-kick shootout in a competitive match in the 45-year history of the Timbers, joining the 2007 USL Playoffs vs Atlanta Silverbacks, 2010 U.S. Open Cup third round vs Seattle, 2015 MLS knockout round vs Sporting Kansas City and 2018 MLS Cup Western Conference Semifinals vs Seattle. 
  • Portland has won all three of its shootouts in their MLS era.
  • The Timbers finished the match with a passing accuracy of 90.2 percent, which is the highest passing accuracy by the club in an MLS match, including regular season, playoffs and the MLS is Back Tournament. The club’s previous high was 88.9 percent against Sporting Kansas City on Sept. 29, 2019.