Here's some of what the Portland Timbers had to say tonight after their 2-0 loss at Seattle:
Caleb Porter – Portland Timbers Head Coach(On the match…) “I think a lot of it had to do with fatigue, especially in the second half. In the first half, it was very even and they had very few chances. We made it a tight game, which is what you need to do when you’re playing on the road against a team like the Seattle Sounders. There’s a reason why they’re 38 points at the top of the table – they’re a very good team. I thought we made it a game, kept things very tight, but especially in the second half, I thought fatigue kicked in. They’re attackers were fresh versus our defenders, who played 120 minutes on Wednesday. Now they’re defenders played 120 minutes, too, but I thought some of our attacking guys just lacked some of that pop, especially when we needed a goal. The first goal was the difference and obviously the second goal is attributed to us trying to push and we went to three in the back – we have to gamble to try and level the game. So really that goal and a lot of the other chances had to do with us having to push our line and go a little bit more aggressive to chase the game. You could see that (Obafemi) Martins, (Clint) Dempsey – these guys were fresh. When Martins came on and paired with Dempsey, they gave us a lot of problems. I think our back line just looked like they were tired and you can’t be tired running against Dempsey and Martins. And Dempsey proved why he’s one of the best players in our country and scored a couple of goals in the World Cup. At the end of the day, you have to credit Seattle. Again, that’s why they’re at the top of the table. But I thought we made it a game. We did a lot of things well, especially in the first half, but ultimately we wore down in the second half. Those 120 minutes on our guys’ legs on Wednesday really caught up with us, and with the injuries we had on the back line, we couldn’t rotate, and you could see that a little bit. So we have to move on. This is a game where if we would’ve gotten three points, it would’ve helped, but there are more important games ahead – the swing playoff teams. Those potential six-point swings against teams around us are more important than this game, although it would’ve been nice to get a point or more, but we’ve got to move on. Right now recovery is key. We had a very long week and gave a lot physically and emotionally, but have to recover and get back to work and get ready for Colorado. That game is going to be very critical.” (On the defense…) “It was just fatigue. The guys were tired going against Martins and Dempsey, who are very good players. I thought we contained them very well. You look at the first half and what did they get? They got a few shots from distance, a few crosses, but they didn’t get loose at all. Second half, up until the first goal, they weren’t getting a ton of looks. They got a few, but it was still pretty tight. Obviously the goal they scored then it was a whole different game. It’s fatigue, we don’t have depth, we couldn’t rotate and we played a lot of guys who’d played 120 minutes (on Wednesday) and that caught up with us against a very good team – a team with good attackers.” (On how to keep the team moving forward…) “I think it’s easy. We need to stay focused on what we need to do. These guys don’t get frustrated. They file it away and move on. We know what we need to do – we had a meeting before this game and we know where we’re at. We need to keep our eye on the table, because that’s most important, but we also need to be aware of points that we need to get and certain games as well. At this stage, you move on and focus on the next game. There’s a lot to still look forward to. We’re still in the running here. In certain games, with those teams that are around us, we can’t give those teams points. We need to gain ground.” (On the turnaround this week …) “You saw this week that we didn’t have the capacity so I think it caught up with us a little bit mostly because the fresh legs they had up front – (Marco) Pappa, Dempsey and Martins. I thought those three guys looked fresh and gave us some problems. We now have five days and had three days last time. It’s been a long week. We need to recover. We don’t need to rotate. We have five days and that’s plenty of time to rest and get ready for Colorado.” (On the fans…) “I’d like to give a shout out to the traveling supporters and I’m sorry that they go home back to Portland without any joy and no points. I’m really, really pleased that they came and I thought they were tremendous tonight, the Timbers Army.” (On keeping momentum after the World Cup…) “Our supporters are always up for it, they always have their ‘A’ game, so it’s our job to make sure we do our part on the field. We have seven home games left and we have a target that we’re trying to get to. We know what we need to do and we’ve got plenty of games to do it. We’ve seen the table and it’s a bit like Pulp Fiction – everybody is killing everybody – so I’m not sure what the line is going to be with regards to the points that get you in. You can’t worry about that – you just have to focus on every game trying to get three points, and if you don’t, try and get the next one. We can still get to a very high target with the amount of games we have left, if you do the math. Win eight or nine games, we’re right there, close to 50 points, and I think that perhaps you won’t need 50, but we’ll see. We’re going to focus on trying to win every game – that’s all we can do. But the seven home games, in particular, are crucial. The non-conference games you can gamble a little bit. You want to go for three (points) in those. But the pivotal games are the games against the Colorado’s, the Vancouver’s, the Dallas’, the San Jose’s, the Chivas’ – those are the games where you can’t give up points and we need to make up ground.” Will Johnson – Timbers Midfielder(On what happened in the second half...) “We had heavy legs from Wednesday obviously. They brought in Obafemi Martins—good player, I thought he changed the game. It really gave us a lot of problems when him and [Clint] Dempsey went up top. It was a tough matchup, so we did our best to contain them, but eventually they broke us down.”
(On what Martins did that gave them so much trouble…) “It was just his movement. When it was just Dempsey coming back in the midfield, we could track him. Jack [Jewsbury] and I did a really good job of that for 60-70 minutes, but once they brought in Martins and there were two of them floating back in there, we were outnumbered and they were able to get some combinations off and get more looks than they were throughout the first 60 minutes. But that’s what you would expect from guys of that quality coming in the game.”
(On whether the game on Wednesday played in role in their performance in the second half…) “I think we were covered well enough, but they put us under a lot of pressure. And obviously going forward, we’re a better attacking team than we showed tonight. We were quite poor going forward. We didn’t create a whole lot, and that’s also credit to them. They’re a very, very good team, and they’re first place for a reason. It’s a combination of factors. There’s no one thing that you can blame tonight on. We’ve just got to move on quickly.”
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(On Dempsey’s goal…) “It’s a broken play. On a set piece like that, you’ve got to stay with the guy and clear the lines. Obviously guys are scrambling, trying to make plays, everything happens so quickly, it’s hard when you’re trying to clear your line to stay with your guy. And obviously we fell asleep for one minute – not even – one second and a guy scuffs a shot into the ground and Dempsey is wide open on the back post. It’s just kind of how it’s gone for us this year, but like I said, we’ve got to pick ourselves up quickly and move on.” Steve Zakuani – Timbers Forward(On his jersey exchange with Osvaldo Alonso and giving his cleats away to a fan…) “Coming back here, I’ve seen a lot of familiar faces, so my boots went to a little kid in the stands, who’s been watching soccer ever since day one, and I switched shirts with [Osvaldo] Alonso. He’s a good friend of mine. We’ve known each other for a few years now, so we had planned ahead of time to switch shirts and we did that. It was good to be back, but obviously I’m disappointed with the result.” (On how the team stands after this match…) “It’s a lot. I mean, we knew how important these last 16 games were. We didn’t expect to win 16 games. We knew maybe there’d be a couple of losses in there, this could be one of them, and you know, there’s no secret – we have to win some games. Now it’s on to the next game, it’s back at home, try to pick up three points, but we’ll take the positives from tonight. The first half, especially the first 25-30 minutes, I thought we were the better team. Maybe if we’d scored in that period, we’d win the game. Let’s not take away from them, they’re a good team. There’s a reason they’re at the top and once they got that first goal, I think it pushed them on. It’s not a game that I think we were outclassed or out-played. We could have won the game tonight, so we’ll take those positives and in these next 15 games now, we keep pushing and trying to turn as many of them into wins as possible. The goal is to make the playoffs. We’re not out of the playoffs, but we have with some urgency now I guess.” (On whether he thinks injuries have anything to do with the team’s struggles…) “No. No, no, no. Through the course of the season, you know that there will be games that you have suspensions, you have injuries, things come up, and that’s why you have such a deep squad, a deep roster. The guys who were out there can do the job. As I said, I felt we did lose our way a little bit in the second half. For the first half, we were – we matched them for the first half and I think we actually were the better team for the first part of the first half. It’s not easy to come in here and do that in this environment, but we did. Again, it’s a game where we just take the game for what it is. We lost to a better team on the night, in the end, and we have to regroup for the game on Friday and also remember that at this point, it’s about getting into the playoffs and we can still do that. We have to hold on to that hope.” (On what positive moments he’ll take from the week in Seattle…) “I think our performances were – again, I think the first half we did well; we had a game plan, we stuck to it, and I’m happy with that. I’m happy with my performance; I think maybe a couple of my shots I wish could have fallen, but they didn’t, but overall it’s positive. It’s what you try to do as an offensive player. I think off the pitch, just reconnecting with some of the people who I was with for five years. You don’t just forget them. It was a long time. I had some special words from Sigi [Schmid]. Obviously, you know, I played for him for a long time and he had some kind things to say. Things like that. The GM, Adrian Hanauer, I spoke to him, and obviously the players who I speak to. With DeAndre [Yedlin] I had some words, and Clint [Dempsey], Lamar [Neagle] and Ozzie. I remember those, you know, because those are friends. I know we’re competing right now, and we always want to beat the Sounders, but once the whistle blows, they’re my friends and people I have a lot of respect for, and I do wish them the best, just not against us, obviously.”