Julio Cascante, Timbers vs. LA, 9.2.20
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 2, LA Galaxy 3 | Sept. 2, 2020

Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese
General thoughts on the match…
“A game that I think we should have come out with more. As we mentioned last game against [Real Salt Lake], it was a game in which we found goals, we could have won the game, but we didn’t have the performance that we wanted today. The team, first of all, that started the game, how many players that wanted to play, they showed themselves in a good way. Very proud of the way the guys fought at the beginning. A lot of the guys got the minutes that we needed to give them and then when we made some substitutions in the second half I thought the way the players came in was with an unbelievable attitude and we should have gotten more from this game. With the [LA Galaxy] also, we have to give them credit. They were very good in transition. They were good in finding spaces in some moments and they hurt us in particular moments. Definitely areas where we need to be better. I think with the team that we put in today, I was very pleased with the performance. At the end, many of the guys that came in, just came in with an unbelievable attitude and I think they deserved more. Definitely a goal that I think, watching it, looks like it’s definitely a goal. So, I think definitely the result should have been at least 3-3.”

On how the younger players performed today…
“I felt the young guys that came in did a very good job. The majority of them. Some definitely showed some moments in which they can do some things a little bit better. Overall a very good performance and I have to say that I’m proud of the way the guys came in and used their minutes. Unfortunately, we gave up those goals in particular times. Definitely, as I said, the Galaxy found some moments to be very dangerous, but I think we did enough also, with the guys that came in in the second half, to come out of this match with something more. I thought it became a very transitional game. A back-and-forth, back-and-forth game. Unfortunately I think, as I said before, it was a goal that should have been, most likely, allowed and I think then we should have gotten a little bit more in this game.”

On what explanation the referees gave him on Jeremy Ebobisse’s disallowed goal…
“No, listen, if the VAR doesn’t help, it is difficult for the referees to make a decision. It’s the one on top that has to make the decision, but also…usually they keep telling us that in moments that are very critical and close, the flag shouldn’t be up. So, I don’t understand why the linesman left the flag up when we hear all the time, in moments that there are three, four feet of offside, they don’t lift the flags up. I’m sure that if it would have been that way, it would have stayed as a goal. I believe VAR was the only one making this decision and not the referee.”

On Marvin Loría’s performance…
“He tried to find those spaces because of the pressure from LA Galaxy. We had Loría sometimes coming into the middle to try and find the ball there, but also in some moments as we told him the second half, he needed to make the runs in behind the fullbacks to try to find more of the space going forward. So, it was more of a movement that we tried to find in order to make sure that he was a little bit more available. Then in the second half the movement changed to be a little bit more in behind and I think he became a little bit more dangerous in those moments because in the first half, he couldn’t find that space inside that we wanted him to find. Nevertheless, he had a good performance and had very good moments.”

On the Timbers conceding three goals tonight…
“Of course let’s start with the fact that we’re not happy we conceded so many goals. But I think today we saw a lineup that was more about giving minutes to the guys to make sure that we can count on those players, that we have them. That way we also have a team with a lot of energy for a big game that we’re going to have this weekend. I think the guys did a great job. The good moments. That we gave up the space at the top of the box, we didn’t follow the runners, and then the second goal was a goal in which we reacted a little bit slow. It happens sometimes, but overall, I liked the energy that the team had. The way they played. Then when we put a couple of guys inside, we did a very good job to get back into the game. As I said before, I think we could have gotten a little bit more. Again, we don’t want to concede so many goals, but the way we play at home, we try to be more open. We try to be a team that tries to be more upfront and pressure a little higher. It comes with some consequences sometimes. We’ll continue to work and I’m sure, with the attitude I saw today, there’s going to be a lot more games that we’re going to win.”

On Yimmi Chara’s performance…
“I thought he was a very important player coming into the match like [Diego] Valeri, like [Sebastián Blanco], like Eryk [Williamson]. I think all the players that came into the second half gave us a lot of lightness. They came with a lot of energy and good movement. We kept finding a lot more spaces. As I said before, the game became a little more transitional. Also, we had to risk home in the last few minutes to make sure that we can find the result we wanted, putting a lot more players offensively. Credit to [Andy] Polo as well because he was moving in different positions. Overall, I think the guys that came in, including Yimmi, did a fantastic job to come and bring the energy. It’s good to have him back again. Now, little-by-little, we have to make sure that he gets more minutes and that he gets to the place that we want. That way he can be able to play matches fully as soon as he’s going to be able to do so. But today, the 20 minutes that he played were very good for us.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On being the third player in league history to have 80 goals and 80 assists in MLS regular season play...
“In a personal aspect, it is a big satisfaction to achieve that stat. It says how hard I work for this club and trying to put Portland Timbers in the spot of prestige that it deserves, the club and our supporters. On the individual side, I’m very satisfied about that, it’s something that is not every day, it takes a lot of time and a lot of games, but as I said, it is a feeling of satisfaction and obviously gratitude to my family.”

On what made the Galaxy successful and how the Timbers could’ve been better...
“We were not able to manage the game, we couldn’t put the score in the second half on our side, they scored the second goal really quick in the second half which changed a lot of the game, and we had to gamble a little bit. We created some disorder and even when we got the first goal, they scored the third so quick, and then obviously the game gets opened, and a lot of disorder in the game. At the end I would say that in the second half we found the chances, crossbar for Seba [Sebastián Blanco], Jebo [Jeremy Ebobisse] with a chance, which in my view was not offside, so we found a way to create the chances, but we’ve got to work a lot to prevent in order to not concede so many goals. But that was the way of the game, they did a pretty good job being behind the ball as they found the second goal, and they got their result, they got some chances too, mostly on counters and lost balls. I will say that the positive side of this game is the reaction of the team, we almost get a point, and that’s it, we have to move forward, tomorrow we scout the game a little bit better, and prepare for the next game.”

On the home field advantage without fans …
“We still expect to get results. Obviously, it’s not the same without our supporters, that’s for sure, but the expectation of getting points at home is still there. This is the MLS, in a long season you have these moments, We have achieved a big goal which was the MLS Is Back Tournament, and now we have this three game run which we couldn’t get the results that we wanted. This is a long season, we have an important game coming, and we know that it’s a long way until our big goal, which is to make the playoffs.”

On the unfamiliar starting lineup and their buildup play...
“Any play on this roster is capable to be a starter, and I think the guys did pretty well overall, the game was tough about the result and Galaxy is having a good moment, is having that moment of the season where they become an efficient team. They score the goals in the right moment, and then they are able to get results. With that being said I think the team in the first half created some good chances, obviously you need more minutes to understand each other, but even in the defense and in the attack the team had the game there. In the second half, obviously with the Pavón [Cristian Pavón] goal, they change the game, and we start to gamble more, and in that kind of game you can see an organization and a team that plays with calmness. So that’s what happened and that’s what the game showed until then.”

Portland Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella
On his journey getting back on the field...
“The process has been long. First off, it's good to see you guys, it's good to talk to you guys again, it's been a long time, but the process has been long, there's definitely a lot of ups and downs, especially to get cleared when the pandemic hit. So to get cleared when that happened and just kind of the roller coaster that the rehab process is, of course there's those days that you had those doubts, and you wonder if you're gonna get back out there again, and of course there's really difficult days. I'm really fortunate I have incredible family that kept me motivated, the staff here, I’ve got to give a quick shout out to Matt Weston, he worked with me every day to make sure I made it back to the field and to think that it was something that was able to happen tonight, and all the hard work that not only myself, but when somebody comes back from an injury like that it's such a group effort of the club, of the family,  it takes a lot of people. It was just a really special moment to make it back after everything we've been through. And then that first goal, to be honest, the first three or four minutes, they kind of came at me like a little bit of a freight train, I hadn’t played since the pandemic and everything, there hasn’t been Timbers 2 games and I wasn't able to participate in preseason, so I hadn't played a 90 minutes since the last time I saw you guys which I think was like 14 months ago or so. So to get that first save in the first two minutes, it was a really quick wake up call, and then to have those two or three corners back to back, it was one of those moments where the game invited me back in in a really quick fashion. It was good for me to make a save to get myself feeling comfortable again, and after those two or three corners I felt like I was able to settle in, and you know to be honest I felt like I was back home. It just felt comfortable again and you know it kind of felt like my ride along.”

On his reaction to getting the start...
“I’ve learned with Gio, you know this is my third season with him now, I’ve learned that he manages every game differently, and I know that if you put in the work in training, and you’re doing honest work and doing the work in training, then you have the opportunity to get your number called. You don’t know when it's gonna come, you don’t know when you’re gonna get your opportunity, but I know for me I’ve been waiting so long, that I was gonna be ready for it, and I felt like I was ready for tonight. When I found out I was starting, it was at training yesterday towards the end, and from that moment on I called my parents, told my wife, and just got in the game mode. Like I said, it was great to be back out there, and of course for me it was a really exciting moment.”

On what the Timbers need to do to concede less…
“We’re in a little bit of a tough spot right now with giving up goals, but just to give that first group a quick shout out, I thought that they played really well. I thought that as a group we played really well, and it’s a group that not a lot of names that outside of the organization people really recognize, but in Orlando that group was putting in a ton of work, and this is an opportunity for all of us that were on the field tonight to get rewarded for that work. Unfortunately, it didn’t go our way, but I think that the guys that played did such a great job and worked so hard. Unfortunately, we weren't rewarded for it, but that’s soccer and that’s life. I think that first goal just caught us sleeping a little bit. If you look at the first goal and the second goal, they just kind of got behind us, and they have good players and when they’re in and around the box they’re going to be able to finish, especially on that second goal, it takes that little deflection and that’s the kind of the luck that those good players have. Maybe we could do a better job of getting tighter in the box once they get behind our back line, making sure that we tighten up and we make the chances a little bit harder, so they’re not getting those open looks. At the end of the day it's something we’ll watch film on, it's not for lack of work and it's not for lack of trying to figure it out, this is one of the hardest working groups I’ve been around, so we'll get it right. Quick turnaround Sunday versus Seattle and I know we'll be looking forward to it.”

On how he felt being back on the field...
“It was really special, to be honest part of the motivation has been, I had a son that was born right when this whole thing started happening this year. For my son to be in the stands and able to be in Providence Park, at a game that I was playing and they're sitting out there in a suite with my wife and my daughter, to kiss my daughter goodbye, to kiss my son goodbye, kiss my wife goodbye and head out to play a game, it was something that I wasn't sure was gonna happen. I really wasn't sure it was gonna happen this year, and the way to soccer is of course, you never know where the road is gonna take you. For it to happen in Providence park, a place that's so special to me...unfortunately the way I envisioned it would be a victory lap, holding my daughter’s hand, and holding my son in the other arm and kind of presenting my son to the Timbers Army, I guess kind of like the Lion King. But for me it was a really special moment and it's something that I'll remember as one of the best moments of my career for the rest of my life.”

Notes

  • With his goal, Diego Valeri became the third player in MLS history to record 80 goals and 80 assists in regular-season play, joining Landon Donovan and Jaime Moreno.
  • Valeri recorded his team-leading fourth goal of the regular season in the match.
  • Valeri scored as a substitute for the third time in his MLS, with the previous two goals coming in the 2013 season.
  • Valeri is one of three MLS players (Chris Wondolowski, Carlos Vela) to have scored seven or more goals against the Galaxy since the beginning of the 2013 season.
  • Felipe Mora tallied his second goal of the season, scoring for a second straight game.
  • Mora is the third Timbers player to score in consecutive regular-season matches this season along with Jeremy Ebobisse and Valeri.
  • Sebastián Blanco registered his team-leading fifth assist of the regular season and his seventh assists in all competitions. His five assists are tied for second-most in MLS.
  • In Portland’s last 10 matches since MLS returned to play in July, Blanco has four goals and seven assists in all competitions.
  • Yimmi Chara recorded his first career assist with the Timbers. Chara is the 61st Timbers player to tally an assist for the club in an MLS match.
  • Jeff Attinella made his season debut in the match, marking his first appearance with the team since June 26, 2019, in a road match against the Montreal Impact.
  • Pablo Bonilla made his Providence Park debut in the match.
  • Julio Cascante made his season debut in the match, starting and logging 90 minutes.
  • Renzo Zambrano and Tomás Conechny earned their first starts of the 2020 season in the match.
  • Portland has scored in the 13 consecutive matches in all competitions against the Galaxy, which established a club record for most consecutive matches with a goal against a single opponent. 
  • Ebobisse played in his 65th consecutive match in all competitions, which is the second-longest streak among all outfield players in MLS.
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