Aljaz Ivacic, Timbers @ SJ, 9.19.20
(ISI Photos)

Quotes & Notes | San Jose Earthquakes 1, Portland Timbers 6 | Sept. 19, 2020

Portland Timbers Quotes

Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese
On tonight’s match...
“I thought it was a tremendous performance. Besides the goals, the way the team worked hard to make sure that they cover every space, that they follow everything that we asked them to do. Being able to practice on a regular field before we traveled yesterday was very important for us, and today was a great performance. So very proud of the guys, and San Jose is always a difficult team, you have to work very hard, you have to create your spaces, but today we were able to have the fluidity that we didn’t have on the previous match and we were able to find good moments to then find the goals that give us the tranquility to get the three points.”

On the off ball movement tonight compared to Wednesday’s...
“We were able to practice the movements, which we couldn’t do before in the indoor facility. We were able to get more fluidity in what we were looking for. I thought that our possession, the build up from the back, we had patience when you went to find the right moment to dribble, then to create the moments in behind with good movements that on the other day we didn’t do as well. I mentioned after last game as well, the fact that we have three players that never played before together, [Felipe] Mora, [Jaroslaw] Niezgoda and Yimmi [Chara], so it was normal that sometimes the fluidity wasn’t there the way it was tonight because they started to get used to it, and then we have the chance to be able to practice before yesterday. So I’m truly proud of the performance and a very good play from the guys to execute the plan that we asked them to.”

On tonight’s game plan...
“This is their style of play. It’s very genuine. It’s very their own. It is something that you have to make sure that you do certain things the right way if you want to find space, otherwise it becomes difficult because they won’t allow that. They pressure you everywhere. So it’s tough. What we were able to do well today that we didn’t do as well the other day. Nevertheless, we still created good chances the other day to win the game. Today we have patience to build up, move players a little bit higher, make sure that we find more space in the buildup, find the right movement to be able to get one of our players free in order to find space. Then the movements that we had on top were excellent. The different things that we asked the players to do, they did and we found good moments to be able to generate opportunities, and today we’re a little bit sharper to be able to put the ball in the back of the net, and it was a very strong win. But you can never stop when you play San Jose. You will have to from beginning to end give all that you have, and then you have to execute the plan as the guys did today.”

On how it feels to return to Portland with this win...
“I’m just very proud of the players because as I said, they play with heart to play well, and the other day as well, I said it too, we fought hard, we tried to get a win, unfortunately things didn’t work out in the best possible way for us to leave here with three points, but we knew that if we improved in some areas and we put the same work ethic, we could find a little bit more, and today we did. Every time that you find three points, anywhere, home or away, it is the tranquility of the match that is the most important, and in the fact that you still continue to go to a path that the players get confidence, and you can continue to build. It’s always better to build up from this type of performance, and today was very important for us to get three points here.” 

On Diego Valeri’s impact on the offense...
“First of all, I think we’ve seen a Diego that still has the capability to be able to play at the highest level. His movements are very sharp. His qualities still intact, and he’s taking care of himself in the best possible way to provide these types of performances. We still have to rotate. We still have to do certain things as we did this week to make sure that we play some players. We rotated today and it’s great to see players like [Aljaz] Ivacic and players like Tomás [Conechny] that are getting their chance to come and play because we want to make sure that we see these type of players as well to get minutes, and that way they can get confident for when we’re going need them as well. [Marco] Farfan playing as a right back did a fantastic job today, so I think there is a lot of positives besides the three points and besides the result. I think individual performances were great, and [Diego] Valeri had a tremendous performance today and his fluidity and his movements were part of the good movements that everybody had today. 

On starting Aljaz Ivacic and what he sees in him... 
“I think it’s important we do our work in the facility and we try to make sure that everybody gets to a level that is competitive. That everyone is ready to be able to jump onto the field and they can perform on a high level. In this case, Guillermo Valencia, our goalkeeping coach has done a tremendous job to have all the three goalkeepers in a great standard and a great level and we saw that today in how secure Ivacic was, how confident he was when he played, and he had a great performance, very secure. He had a moment in which he saved two shots in a matter of seconds that could’ve changed the game a little bit. So you need this from your players, and then if you’re going to talk about Tomás Conechny, he had a little bit of pain in the shoulder and had to come out, but he was also having a very good performance at the beginning. So this is great when you see everyone working hard in the roster, to make sure that they give you minutes, that they’re pushing each other to try to play, and that we can make rotations and the level stays high.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On the difference between tonight’s performance versus Wednesday’s against San Jose…
“Today I think we… after last game we could scout better the game to see what we could improve facing this game. We tried to use the width better with our wingers, trying to occupy the spaces inside like a surprise, and then obviously we were more aggressive in the attack. We created more chances and then even in the first half we could score more goals and at the end, we were very efficient in the moments where we needed, solid in the set pieces and then conceded only one goal so that was the big, big difference at the end. But what’d I say, I think we performed really well, that’s why we win like this.”

On how great this performance will feel heading back home to Portland…
“It’s been a tough week, as you know. But gladly Gio [head coach Giovanni Savarese] gave us a day off tomorrow so we are going to rest well today. We know that we have a game coming soon, but it’s going to be very important for us mentally to be disconnected a little bit, to disconnect and get out some stress and prepare the next game and obviously enjoying with the family and being back in Portland and resting for the next game.”

On Yimmi Chara's recent form and integration into the team...
“I’m very happy that he’s back on the field. Obviously, as you know, sadly we have lost Seba [Sebastián Blanco] for the rest of the season and Yimmi was injured and he’s back and we all know the quality that Yimmi has and as the team plays better, we will see the best of Yimmi. So that’s what I think and, in the last couple of games, he has been pretty active because the team is performing well. It makes me happy. When you are new in a team, you need to integrate, you need time to adapt and the whole team is helping Yimmi to be happy on the field and as he’s happy on the field, he will perform and score goals and create chances and we’ll see the best of him so I’m very happy about it.”

On the team’s aggression on offense from the beginning of the match...
“I think last game we couldn't create as much and I think it was something that we needed to improve facing this game and we did it really well. As I said, you’ve seen the width, moving to the spaces, everybody involved in the possession and even in the first half where we just scored two goals because the goals came from set-pieces sometimes, but the good thing is we created a lot and we were very efficient in the second half. You never know when the goals are going to come and how, but as you say, we improved from last game creating more chances, being more unpredictable to attack and at the end, we performed well and we scored our goals and win the game.”

Portland Timbers defender Julio Cascante
On his first MLS goal and the celebration that followed...
“Well, I’m so happy, my first goal in this team since I came. I think it’s very important. That gives me definitely a lot of confidence. And then of course, what the group did tonight was amazing. It was a very good soccer game. We did all to deserve this win and that’s what I think is the most important tonight. And of course the celebration for me, my baby’s coming soon so me and my wife, we are so excited and happy and well, I cannot explain to you how I feel right now.”

On the performance of goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic and the team's defense...
“I think we need to be more secure about… it doesn’t matter who plays. The team needs to look the same. If Dario [Zuparic] plays, he will do a great job like he did in the last game. If I play, I will have to do the best to maintain that confidence. If Bill [Tuiloma] plays, the same thing. If Larrys [Mabiala] plays, it’s the same thing. So I think, we are doing that. The last game unfortunately we didn’t win but I think we did a great job. Tonight, of course, it was unbelievable. We are happy. We are happy but we’re not satisfied because I know that the team thinks that we can be better and we haven’t been that well in the last games, but tonight I think it’s a huge breath to keep going and see what’s next. And well, my first goal here, how I say this, it’s amazing. I feel so proud to be in this team and being my first goal in the MLS with Portland Timbers makes it more special.” 

Notes

  • The six goals are the most scored by the Timbers in an MLS match.
  • The six goals are the most scored in a road match in all eras of the club (1975-).
  • Since the club's founding in 1975, it is the sixth time the Timbers have scored six goals in a competitive match. Portland did it four times as a USL club and once in the CONCACAF Champions League.
  • Diego Valeri scored two goals in the match for his ninth regular-season brace for the Timbers. Valeri has 11 multi-goal games in all competitions for the Timbers, which ranks as the second-most in club history.
  • Valeri has scored a team-leading six goals this season, which is tied for fifth-most in MLS in 2020.
  • Jeremy Ebobisse registered the game-winning goal in the win. The goal was his fifth of the 2020 regular season
  • Ebobisse has tallied eight headed goals since the beginning of the 2019 MLS regular season, which is the most in MLS in that span. Kei Kamara and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have seven headed goals during that span.
  • Ebobisse appeared in his 70th consecutive match across all competitions for the Timbers dating back to Sept. 8, 2018. The club record for most consecutive appearances across all competitions is 72.
  • Jaroslaw Niezgoda scored his third regular season goal for the Timbers. In all competitions, Niezgoda has scored four times for the club.
  • Yimmi Chara scored his second goal for the Timbers, scoring in his second consecutive match.
  • Niezgoda and Chara's goals both came as substitutes. It is the first time the Timbers have ever had two substitutes score in the same MLS regular season match.
  • Julio Cascante scored his first MLS goal in the match. It was Cascante's second goal in all competitions for the Timbers as he also scored in the U.S. Open Cup in 2018.
  • Goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic made his MLS debut in the match, making three saves. Ivacic is the first Slovenian player in Timbers history.
  • Jorge Villafaña tallied his second assist of the regular season.
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