Sights, sounds and quotes from Timbers Leg-one 2-1 victory over Sounders

The Seattle Sounders scored the opening goal Sunday afternoon at Providence Park  but took a  2-1 defeat as the Portland Timbers scored two goals in a 12 minute span in game one of the two-game  Western Conference Semifinals series.  Game two will be Thursday night ( 7:30 p.m. PT)  at CenturyLink Field.

 

 

 

 

QUOTES

Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese
On conceding first and fighting back to get the win…
“First of all, we knew it was going to be a difficult game. It’s always a difficult game against Seattle. That’s why it’s a derby. We started sluggish in some ways, the first few minutes, and they found a goal on a play in which Ruidiaz took advantage of the space and I think that was a wake-up call. From that point on I think we took the entire first half. We were able to get the two goals and to be able to be ahead and we had some other chances. Then in the second half, it was an up-and-down game. It was an open game, chances for them, chances for us. A little bit more open than I would like, but I thought the guys worked very hard and I’m proud of them because they gave everything on the field again today.”

On how he feels about the 2-1 score line heading into Thursday…
“We won. That’s the important thing. We think about anything else later. Now we will go there [to Seattle]. We will plan on what will be the lineup. We needed the win today and we found the win that we needed.”

On the performance of Diego Valeri in the game and the playoffs so far…
“He showed his quality today again. Two assists. One in the first half – great pass behind the space for Jebo [Jeremy Ebobisse], and in the second just a tremendous play of sacrifice. Going and believing in the fact that he was going to get to the ball. He got there twice and the rebound got to Seba [Sebastián Blanco] and he finished in a great way. For us, important and the performance of Valeri once again was very positive for the team.”

On defending Raul Ruidiaz and the challenges he presents…
“He a talented striker. We know he is dangerous. He makes very good movements in spaces. He’s the type of forward that even though sometimes he doesn’t get that much of the play, he finds the right moments to find the space to be dangerous. He showed it right there on the first goal. I thought we handled a lot of the situations well. We made some things a little bit more predictable, especially in the first half. And then in the second half it was a lot of sacrifice because the game opened up and it was much better. I thought the guys handled Ruidiaz really well, except for the one moment of the goal.”

Raul Ruidiaz points to supporters
Sounder forward Raul Ruidiaz ( SoundersFC)

On the changes he made when Cristian Roldan came out of the game…
“It’s tough for them. He’s a good player. Not only is he good player, he brings a lot of energy to their team. So it was tough for them to lose not only him but [Chad] Marshall as well. They realized in the second half they were dangerous and they opened up the game mostly on their left side, our right side, they tried to build up three-against-two situations and leave [Nouhou] Tolo free in order for Zarek [Valentin] to make some decisions. We adjusted well. Things we are going to encounter. They are good team. A difficult team. For me the most important part is we did a lot of things very well today.”

On Bill Tuiloma’s performance…

“He played very well. We knew already Bill could do the job. [Julio] Cascante could step in and do the job. [Modou] Jadama if he had to play he could do the job. We believe in our players. Our players have been working very hard this season. To make sure when they get the opportunity they take advantage of it. Tuiloma had a great match today as well.”

On the importance of not accumulating any yellow cards…

“I think today, have to say Ted [referee Ted Unkel] did a very good job to manage the game. To manage the fouls and make sure that the game was even and make sure that it became a very fair match. Credit to Ted because I think he did fantastic job today.”

On facing a quick turnaround…

“We have to enjoy this one first because it was a win, it was a good win and they worked very hard. Now we will start planning and start watching video from tonight and make sure we understand how the guys are feeling. It’s impossible to recover everyone and make them be at their best form. It’s unfortunate that we have to play on a Thursday, but these are the conditions and we have to be ready to battle. Our team usually in hard moments becomes even stronger, so this is a good thing for us.”

On how good the victory feels…
“It feels good because we needed the win. We needed to leave our stadium with a win. Of course we don’t want a team to score here, especially in the series. But this is what we found, this is the situation. This is how the game went and the important thing is that we got the win and we need to be ready now to perform to there and give them a very good match and try to go through.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastián Blanco

On the meaning of defeating Seattle at home…

“I am very happy, but very tired, too. It was a very tough game, but it’s normal, it’s a derby and a semifinal. We won the first game and this is important. Now we need to rest and play the next game in Seattle very hard.”

On the team’s notable reaction after Seattle scored…

“It’s normal. It’s the spirit and mentality. We played a semifinal at home against our rival. I think the team had a very good spirit and mentality. We won this game and played very good. Now we need to be smart for the next game.”

On scoring the winning goal…

“I feel very happy, but it was the team’s spirit that helped us achieve the victory. Today we played a derby at home, in front of our people and that pushes you to overcome adversity. We come from a long week after playing against Dallas. We felt a little tired today, but we played with our heart.”

Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse
On getting the win over Seattle Sounders FC in the first leg…

“It was important to win at home in front of our fans and get a slight advantage heading into Seattle, because everyone knows how difficult it is to get a result up there. That being said, we have a lot of experience playing up in Seattle. We’re going to go up there, and hopefully get out with a result.”

On his opening goal of the match…
“It was pretty instantaneous. As soon as I saw Diego [Valeri] play the ball in behind, I quickly peeked over my shoulder and I saw [Stefan] Frei rushing out and I knew the angle would be close for me to go around him; so I decided to chip him and it worked out perfectly.”

On atmosphere of the match playing against Seattle…
“It was definitely a little overwhelming at first, just knowing how much it means to the club, the fans and us as players, but I was able to calm my nerves early on in the game with a few simple touches. From there, I was able to keep my composure on the finish. It’s an important win for everyone involved and we’re really happy about that, but we know there’s a long way to go.”

On heading into the second leg at Seattle with a 2-1 aggregate advantage…
“First and foremost, we have to recover and take care of our bodies because it’s going to be a difficult game up there. There’ll be a lot of running and a lot of dirty work we’re going to have to do to make sure that we get the result. Seattle knows that they’re down and they’re going to push for a result. They’re not going to sit back and wait for us to take the game to them. They’re going to have to come out and win the game. We need to weather that storm, and make the most of our opportunities.”

Portland Timbers defender Bill Tuiloma
On helping the team earn the win in his first career playoff start…
“It felt great. It was a big win from the team. We get to go up to Seattle and do it again. I think the performance from the players was really good.”

On playing in the rivalry against Seattle…
“It was amazing. Playing Seattle at home, in the playoffs, is a big game for us. I kept calm and played my game. Having the players beside me and the trust they had in me just made it a lot easier. Having [Liam] Ridgewell, a player with a lot of experience, really helped me as well.”

Seattle Sounders FC head coach Brian Schmetzer
General thoughts after the match…

“Exciting game. Exciting game for our traveling fans. Exciting game for the home fans. Obviously it wasn’t the result we wanted but at the end of the day, we got a road goal. That always helps. That’s something to put in your pocket for later. But we understand that we have to win the game on Thursday. Those are the facts. I thought the team put everything into it. You could almost say they put a lot into it in the second half. I thought we were in control of large parts of that second half. Created some chances, almost to a fault. We could have stayed at 2-1 and said ‘Okay let’s go home at 2-1.’” But I thought we did a good job trying to get that second goal and like I said, we were close on a couple occasions.”

On the injuries to Cristian Roldan and Chad Marshall…
“It’s not a ligament tear for Chad. He’s a tough kid. He’ll be back. Cristian had a right hip flexor on the penalty. That’s where it came from, but he’ll be fine too. We’ll assess them when we get to Seattle, but I’ll update you guys then.”

Chad Marshall looks for an open man
Sounders Chad Marshall looks for an open man downfield.( SoundersFC)

On any adjustments at halftime…
“We knew [Portland] were going to come out and put a lot of energy into the game, so we discussed more possession. They had some guys playing the long diagonal balls, change the point of attack, which was effective for them. Obviously the two goals came from individual plays that we could have done a little better on, but I’ve got to give them some credit. We made some adjustments in our mentality and how we established possession in their half of the field. I thought it worked. We were able to establish good possession in their half for some considerable time in the second half.”

On subbing in Waylon Francis for Cristian Roldan…
“Harry [Shipp] wasn’t quite 90-minute fit. He’s just coming back. [Waylon] Francis was a choice for sure. That one was based on a little more experience. Waylon has played many, many more MLS games, so we decided that. But we talked everything through. We talked [Jordy] Delem, everybody that was on the bench. [Will] Bruin, changing to a 4-4-2, changing the lineup. We discussed all of that.”

On Harry Shipp’s performance late in the second half…
“Yeah. Came on, laid that ball to Victor [Rodriguez]. I have to watch the tape. I don’t know if Victor could have taken one extra touch or whatever. Harry’s a good player. Finds little pockets of space and helped us keep possession that last little bit.”

On Cristian Roldan returning to the field after being assessed by the training staff…
“If he could continue. You have to give the players in a playoff game. There’s adrenaline, they try to do whatever they could to keep him on the field. That’s just basically a testament to Cristian not wanting to come off the field. In the end he couldn’t continue.”

On the psychological effect losing two starters early in the match had on the team…
“That’s why you have a big roster. Roster full of good players. Roman [Torres] came on and did a good job. Waylon came on and did a good job. They were steady. It’s tough to lose two of your starters, but we will continue. We didn’t give up any goals in the second half. It was a little dysfunctional when they came off, but we gutted through it.”

On subbing out Waylon Francis after bringing him on as a sub early in the game…
“That’s a tough one. Waylon and I are going to talk about that because no player ever wants to do that. But look, Waylon wasn’t 90-minute fit either. So sometimes the team comes first. I could have taken Victor off, could have taken another player off, but that was my choice. Waylon is a good team guy. I will definitely settle that with him. No issues there.”

On Roman Torres’ performance…
“Good. It was fine. That’s the benefit of having three starting-level centerbacks on the team.”

On heading back to Seattle for the second leg…
“We lay out the realities. We have to win. But now we can win 1-0, 2-0. That little bit is in our favor, but we have to go out and score a goal and try to win the game. Same as we played down here. These game are always tough. Every game this year was settled by one goal. Hopefully we’ll have the one goal on our side up in Seattle.”

On what improvements he wants to see ahead of the second leg…
“I’d have to watch the film just to make sure, but my initial thoughts are just when we create our chances, we be clinical. I thought we had the balance of possession right in the second half, so continue with that. Then just make sure we’re solid defensively because [Sebastian] Blanco and [Diego] Valeri they showed their quality again. Just need to make sure we fine tune things defensively as well.”

On anything Portland did defensively that was a surprise…
“No. No. Pretty much a Seattle-Portland game.”

Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Osvaldo Alonso
General thoughts on the match…

“Disappointed, but I thought we scored an away goal which is very important for us. Now we’re at home and find a way to win.”

On the differences between the first and second halves…
“I think we controlled more of the tempo in the second half and more of the ball. We didn’t get a goal, but it’s halftime. Now we go home and play our game.”

On the physicality of the match…
“Yeah. Whenever we play against Portland it’s going to be like that, so you have to prepare for battles. You have to be ready.”

On adjustments made at halftime…
“2-1 is nothing. We have the game in our hands. We have to go out and score another goal, but we didn’t. So now we focus on the next game. Have to prepare for a battle.”

On responding to losing both Cristian Roldan and Chad Marshall in the first half…
“You never expect an injury and having to make two subs so quickly. I hope they can be better for the next game. If not, we have a lot of players that can come on and do it for them. We have to prepare for Thursday night.”

Seattle Sounders FC defender Kelvin Leerdam
General thoughts on the match…

“I think it’s a result with perspective. We go home. We’re strong at home. Our fans will give us the extra push we need like they always do. I’m positive about the second half we played. We created some half chances, but we dominated the ball and I think if we can do the same thing we did in the second half, tire them out, we can get a good result. I’m very confident.”

On the two goals Seattle conceded…
“We were out of shape these two goals. One we had a free kick and we gave it away too easily. The other one, was a goal kick from [Stefan Frei] I think and we shouldn’t be beaten behind our defense. We all need to take responsibility. I’m looking at myself, then at the team. We could all do something better.”

On how the team responded after conceding…
“The first half, they had some free kicks and some corner kicks close to our box, but once we get out of the locker room, even with the injuries we dealt with, we have very good players. I think when we went out in the second half, we controlled the game. Of course they got some chances, but I’m very positive about what we showed in the second half. Hopefully we can take that to our home game and I believe we can finish it off. We’ve had so many setbacks this season, this is nothing for us. We’re going to go home and do the best we can.”

On the injuries to Chad Marshall and Cristian Roldan…
“It’s tough. It’s tough for everybody. Chad is very steady in the defense, but Roman [Torres] came on and did very well, did his job, what everyone knows him for. Cristian is a guy I have a good relationship with in front of me. Since we have been playing together, my game has been better and I think he benefits also from my game. I think we’ve been a good couple. I think Waylon did a good job when he came in, playing in a position he normally doesn’t play. Roman did a very good job. It stayed 2-1 and we had possibilities to score a second goal. But I said we need to go home and the guys that are going to come in, they need to help us get to the next round.”

On the physicality of the match…
“It’s a rivalry match. It’s a playoff game, it’s a rivalry match. I think everybody was ready for that. The last game we played here was also a physical game, so nobody was surprised by that. That’s how these games are supposed to be.”

 

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