Quote Sheet

Real Salt Lake 0-2 Portland Timbers

Providence Park; Portland, Oregon

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Interim Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni

On the result:

“I think both of their goals were a bit fortuitous. It was a clearance that didn’t go beyond our 18, it was hit back in almost like a rebound goal. Then obviously their second goal was the same where it hits the post and then hits Ochoa’s back. I think if we get that one back where Clark makes that save on Dami [Kreilach], it's a new game, it breathes life into the group and the outcome could’ve been different. Again, I speak about this game in moments. When you can find ways to overcome those moments that can threaten, you give yourself a chance. Overall, they picked up more second balls in the middle of the field which really led to a lot of their counter attacks and they played direct. They asked a lot of questions of our back line, which was the idea that we had coming into this game. In the first half we didn’t threaten their back line enough. Then we go out in the second half and I think we did a really good job of doing that and getting a couple of corner kicks and really growing into the game. Tonight wasn’t our night, but I couldn’t be more proud of this group for the commitment and the work that they have been able to put forth during this run in the playoffs.”

On his message to the team after the match:

“It’s a very difficult moment, but I think when you are standing on the sidelines, as a coach you surrender to all of the work that you put forth. Their execution and their belief in each other and the plan, I couldn’t be more proud of being a part of this group. Nobody gave us a shot when this season started and nobody gave us a shot when the playoffs started either. To have the mental toughness to overcome the perception of who we are is fantastic. You can always look at things from either perspective, but I couldn't be more proud of the effort and the commitment of this group that I was able to lead.”

Midfielder Damir Kreilach

On the match:

“At the end of the day, we wanted to keep them at zero for as long as possible, unfortunately it was an unlucky goal that we conceded. Then we recognized that we’re in the same situation that we were in at KC. We know that we are going to stay in the game, we need one goal to turn the game around, but unfortunately at 1-0 we didn’t score with a couple of good shots and then there was the second unlucky goal that we conceded. I would say the most important thing is that everyone of us can see ourselves in the mirror and know that we gave everything. We put forth hard work and gave everything and this is why we have to be proud of all of us.”

On the season overall:

“This team is something special. It was 11 months ago when we started preseason, a month earlier than it should be. We were training on our own. We put so much hard work in to prove all of the things that we did this year. Not so many people believed in us, because they didn’t understand the quality that we had in our team. This year we had ups and downs, which is a normal thing, but every time we came in front of the wall, we broke it. Because of that I would point, not just to the team, but to the coaching staff, the medical staff, media staff, our fans, the whole organization was on the same page this season. This is why the team had such a good run. Unfortunately we didn’t go all the way through, but those moments, like the moment tonight, in the future could pull you down or you can learn from them and those moments can pull you up. We learned so much from this experience, from this game today as well, and next season we are going to prove again what we proved this year.”

On what Portland did to hold off an RSL comeback:

“KC and Portland are two completely different teams when you compare them, but I think overall the most important thing was that we gave everything. After 1-0, we maybe should have been more direct. Either we try to pass the ball to each other to keep possession or maybe we should play more long balls to put pressure on them and make them run back and then from there try to create chances. At the end of the day this is exactly how they scored their first goal, with a long ball and then the bounce and then they scored the goal. Second one was the same thing, a long ball and then they played one pass and the guy was in the 18-yard box. Overall it was a good performance, but unfortunately we didn’t score our chances that we had at 1-0 and at the end of the day, I think Portland deserved to win tonight unfortunately.”

On his takeaways from this match and the season:

“I think the main point is what we realized about five games ago, that we are a really good defensive team. If everyone is on the same page and if everyone fights for every single inch on the field, then it is so hard to score on us. We proved this in the last game of the season against KC, against Seattle and then against KC again. Then unfortunately we didn’t tonight, but we have to take this part of the game with us into next season because as long as you give yourself a chance to win the game, if that means keeping zero in the back, then we are in a good spot. Now it's on us to keep building, to believe in ourselves and come back stronger next year.”