Larrys Mabiala, Timbers @ RSL, 10.14.20
(USA Today Sports Images)

Quotes & Notes | Real Salt Lake 2, Portland Timbers 1 | Oct. 14, 2020

Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese
On tonight’s match...
“Definitely a result that doesn’t relate to the match. I feel that probably a tie should have been the honest result in this game. Nevertheless, the mistakes that we made in the first half, penalized us to then have to chase the match in the second half. We had a very good second half. We created chances. We played most of the time in their field on the opposite side, and the guys worked really hard to win the game but it’s always difficult when you give up two goals by mistakes, by little things that needed to be better than you chasing the match. I’m extremely proud of the guys because they never gave up. They continued to fight, they continued to go all the way through, one of those could’ve went our way, and unfortunately it wasn’t our day today. But we put a little bit into it, and the mistakes that we made, made it more difficult as well."

On what the mood was at halftime and what the instruction was going into the second half...
“There was tranquility and understanding that we didn’t do some of the things that we needed to do. There was about 15 minutes in which we got a little bit disorganized, and they found that ball in behind us that created some problems. The first half we were a little bit too timid, and were not pressuring quick enough, we were not good with the ball. We created a few things, there was a few moments inside the box, which I have to see again, talking to Jebo [Jeremy Ebobisse] he feels that it was a clear PK. With [Felipe] Mora we got in there so we had chances, but also we conceded two goals that I think we have to look at ourselves and see that we cannot just keep open those spaces for them to be able to score that first goal. Nevertheless, I thought that we could tie the game. We put everything in the second half. We got the ball on the opposite half, we created chances, even one from Yimmi [Chara] that was a small space, if he touches the ball it is basically in the net, and a tie I think would’ve been the fair result today, and it would have been good for us as well because we’d continue to add points and away from home, a point would have been good today.”

On how they managed RSL’s attack against our left wing...
“Their balls in behind were giving us problems for a few reasons. First, is because we were a little bit deeper, and we didn’t step to be able to get to pressure the ball a little bit earlier, so we invited that ball, but even though the balls kept on coming. We just had to be a little bit more in line in the back. I think the first goal came with a ball in behind. I think the line didn’t drop quick enough, and unfortunately right there were a few situations that happened that they took advantage of. The second goal, we lost a mark, a little bit of a pick, that’s why I asked the referees if they still call that rule, in which you pick a player, but we need to be better than that. We need to make sure that we cover and handle the situation a little bit better. Then in the second half, we had a very good second half. Sometimes you’re going to have the fortune to be able to score what you need, and we lost a very important match, even though we had a very good second half. ”

On if fatigue from minimal rest days played a factor in the loss tonight...
“No doubt. That’s why you try the rotations, but sometimes when you play so many matches, it’s difficult, and we had only two days to rest. Nevertheless, even though some moments in the first half we looked tired, in the second half the guys put the work to try and equalize the match. So, it becomes a mental battle, and I think in the first half we just looked tired, we just had that in mind, that we couldn’t go. But then the second half, we lost a little bit of the fear and we were able to do much better. Two days of rest is not easy, but I think if we didn’t give up those two first goals and make those mistakes then we have a better chance at this match. So we needed to be better in those 10 to 15 minutes in which we allowed them to score those two goals.”

On the final push for first place in the Western Conference...
“First of all, we’re leaving from here not happy. We were looking to at least come out with a point, I mean three points is always what we want, but now we still have a few matches in front of us that we need to make sure that we capitalize on. We have more home matches that we’ll have to take advantage of and now we’ll see who’s going to be the eleven that come and play next weekend. At least we have an extra day to rest, which is always a good thing, but nevertheless it’s a stress that’s going to be tough and we need to be prepared.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On the team’s ability to generate set-piece opportunities tonight…
“I think we had a lot of set-piece opportunities because we got possession of the ball in their half, which allowed us to move the ball and to have more chances closer to their box. Then obviously, we got a lot of fouls and corners and we became very dangerous on it. We have Bill [Tuiloma] and Larrys [Mabiala] and Jebo [Jeremy Ebobisse] that are very good in the air. I just tried to connect with them, and I think we got our couple of times where we could score another goal. We were very close. They defended very narrow in the second half, closer to their box and that’s why we couldn’t find clear passes there. We became dangerous on long-distance kicking, crosses and set pieces. We couldn’t find the second goal and the game I think in the second half could’ve used it.”

On the team’s five-game winning streak coming to an end…
“It’s bad. It’s a bad feeling because we were not very focused the first 10-15 [minutes], they won a lot of those long balls. We were not in the game and they took advantage of it, we got punished for it and then the game was most likely on us. So, we actually lost the points about those 15-20 minutes in the first half, so it’s a bad feeling because we were very confident and we feel like we are performing. Results, sometimes doesn’t… you can’t get it, even with good performances, so we are going to be focused on the next game we have, as you know, a lot of games coming.”

On how much fatigue and the altitude were factors in the match…
“I don’t really know, but I think it was all about the game, about how we lost the duals, lost our readings of the actions in every ball and obviously, we were late in the pressure, allowing them to puts some crosses and long balls in behind. So, it was more about that. I don’t think it was about the altitude and fatigue because it could be, maybe. But we know very well this place, we know that that can’t happen against Salt Lake because you get punished if you’re not focused and as you see in the second half, we were better than them because we passed the ball, we opened the field and we created more chances.”

On the team’s feelings heading into the final three weeks of the regular season…
“We are very confident. As I said, we are very confident in our quality, in the way we are playing. I think the team is looking good and overall, we are doing more positive things to build on it and it is the last push of the season is as you know, it’s the most important. And we need fresh legs, we need everybody involved in the games. Obviously, you know that we have a lot of games coming every three days so we need to rest after the games to be as best as we can next game and it’s all about that. But I’m feeling confident, I see good levels and overall the team is very connected.”

On playing for home-field advantage and the fact that there’s less travel as a higher seed…
“Obviously, you have an advantage if you play at home because you don’t have to fly, and as you know we are flying the same day, which is not easy. So it’s a good one if we can play in our home field… if we don’t have our supporters, which is for us the most important at our stadium… but anyways, yeah if you avoid flights, every normal season, normally the Portland Timbers is the one that earns more miles, so it’s not bad for us this season to play more at home.”

Portland Timbers defender Bill Tuiloma
On his emotions of scoring the goal to cut the team’s deficit in half...
“Obviously happy, but first thing was get that second goal in and try to equalize the game and we pushed. Second half we were a lot better and we pushed, we pushed and unfortunately couldn’t get that second goal to tie the game. But always happy to score, but my first thought was to get the ball and get going and try and push for that second goal.”

On the team’s slow start in the first half…
“I mean, I put my hand up for the first goal… I put my hand up for that and it’s something I need to focus on and stay committed to and more communication from me is all.”

On the contributions from players on the roster this season…
“It’s about depth and it’s about… we’ve got the players who can do the job and I believe in every single player who steps on the field that they can do the job. We have a strong team. We have a strong chemistry throughout training and going toward up to the game and just got to focus on the next game. Obviously, we all look at the little bits of things that we need to focus on and learn from and we’ll focus on this Sunday. We are in a good spot and we just got to keep pushing.”

Notes

  • Bill Tuiloma scored his first goal of the season and the third of his Timbers career.
  • Tuiloma is the 11th different player to score a goal for Portland in MLS regular-season play in 2020.
  • All three of Tuiloma’s goals for the Timbers have been assisted by Diego Valeri.
  • Since joining Portland in 2013, Valeri has 87 total assists and 25 assists from set pieces, both of which lead MLS in that span. 
  • Valeri recorded his sixth assist of the season, which is tied for the team lead with Diego Chara.
  • Portland has scored 10 headed goals this season, which is the most in MLS.
  • The Timbers have scored 22 second-half goals this season, which is the most in MLS.
  • Portland’s 19 road goals are the most in MLS this season.
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