Quote Sheet: RSL 2-1 Portland Timbers

Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis

On the effects of RSL’s early goal:

“I think scoring early was good for us. We’ve done a pretty good job of it. That was important, as well as the switch to Plata for the second goal – the game-winner.  Again, the first goal was huge for us.”

On GK Nick Rimando’s performance:

“I’ve got to figure out what he’s eating, and eat the same thing.”

On allowing a late goal for the third match in a row:

“It was disappointing that we couldn’t close out that game without being scored against at the end of the match. There has to be some mistakes that we need to work on again.  Maybe we were a bit looser, because we had a two-goal lead, but I doubt it. I bet we’re making similar mistakes.”

On how the team uses FW Joao Plata

“I feel really awkward about this, because Joao has played really, really well for about six weeks. Really, he’s done just about everything we’ve asked him to do. He deserves to be starting a lot more matches than he has in the last six weeks, but what he has done is come off the bench and provide a spark every time he comes on.  He’s been really effective in that role. I want to make sure that role is valued, because it is really important, obviously to have him come on and change games – he scored the game-winner.”

On how the team will prepare for the Open Cup final against D.C. United:

“I’ve been thinking a lot about this today. We’ve had a lot of really momentous occasions here in this building in the past several years – a lot of big games that we looked forward to, that we talked about.  Oftentimes, we may have felt that all we had to do was show up and we’d win – this would be the same type of match. We’ll be playing against a D.C. United team that has struggled this year, we’ll be in our building, we’ll be the favorites, and we’ll see if we can do what we’ve never done before: Win one of these things.”

On the performance of RSL’s back line, with the return of DF’s Chris Wingert, Tony Beltran and Carlos Salcedo:

“I thought that our three back guys – and Borchers – really played well tonight. I also think that [DF Carlos Salcedo] is starting to show how important he can be – he’s out for a few matches, we struggled, and he comes back in and we get another win.”

On the Portland Timbers:

“I honestly want to make sure that everyone knows my opinion: Portland is a very, very good team. I think they caused us lots of problems – they were in and around our penalty box lots of times. If the ball goes a foot left, a foot right, or if a bounce goes their way, I think they score multiple goals on us. I already had a ton of respect for them – I’m looking forward to three more matches against them.”

Real Salt Lake GK Nick Rimando

On RSL making it to the Open Cup Final:

“It’s huge for the club. It’s huge for the team. We really deserve something like this. The guys have been playing really hard and putting in a lot of work in the trainings this year. We’d been coming up short a couple of times in the years past, so it’s good to get back to a final. It’s not done yet. Our goal wasn’t to get to the final, it’s to win it. A lot of work still to be done, I think we could be sharper in this game, but those games you just go to win them and get to the final and give you the opportunity to raise a trophy and we need that.”

On being scored on shortly after the save:

“It’s tough you know. I read him perfectly and made the save. Of course the bounce goes right to him. Who does he jump over? I don’t even know. He jumped over two of our defenders, so it’s tough but that’s the way the ball bounces sometimes. He did a great job to get up and head the ball to the back of the net. It gave them hope for sure those last couple of minutes, but give credit to the guys who stuck in there and continued to close out the game.”

On Portland Captain and former RSL MF Will Johnson:

“He’s done great there. He’s really turned that club around and it’s good to see him. When we’re across those lines it’s no friends really, but a lot of respect for him and what he’s done there and obviously for his game. I’m happy to see him, but happy that they’re not going to the finals.”

Real Salt Lake DF Nat Borchers

On his thoughts on the game:

“We just said that we wanted to come out and be aggressive and do what we usually do at home, but we executed this time. I think that those first 10 minutes you could just see that we had the ball on their end of the field, and had some great opportunities and we got a goal out of it. That really changed the game.”

On the emphasis put onto this tournament:

“I feel like we take it seriously every year, it’s just sometimes, again, we haven’t executed well in the first round. In this tournament you either lose in the first round, or you go all the way. There’s no in between. You don’t get anything for losing the semifinals and the quarterfinals. The finals is where it’s at.”

On the feel of tonight’s game:

“It felt huge. The way that everybody stepped up tonight. I thought we were really good defensively for one thing, and you know, the last few games we haven’t been as good and sharp in the back… I think we were a little bit nervous on the ball in the first half, but the second half we really knocked it and we really found a lot of space and got in behind them.”

On Plata’s game:

“He’s been amazing. When he played [for] Toronto, I personally wasn’t very impressed, but you know he’s stepped up his game and that was a massive, massive goal in the second half.”

On the upcoming games against Portland:

“We watched some game tape of them and I was really impressed with the way they move the ball, the way we counter with Chara, Nagbe, Valeri and Johnson, I mean all of those guys can attack and hit you on the fly. I thought that we did a good job of limiting their opportunities getting behind us, but it’s going to be really tough going on the road and playing in Portland against them. They’re a really good team.”

Real Salt Lake DF Chris Wingert

On reaching the final of the Open Cup:

Pretty big. We knew there was a lot riding on it. I think I tried personally to focus on the game and not worry about what it meant and all of the extra stuff with us possibly hosting the final and all that. That stuff is not going help you get the result that you want. You know we were a long way from the final. That was a tough game and they had a tough team. It was a lot on us communicating and working.  The guys worked their butts off tonight and that second goal is huge in the end as you can see. In the end that’s how you finish teams off in the end. The good teams do that and fortunately we were able to get the second. It is going to be a couple tough games against them. You know they’ve got a good squad.”

On if he learned anything about the Timbers tonight:

“They are tough to deal with. After we scored the first goal, which, of course, was great, naturally they are going to push a little bit. Unfortunately, we became a little bit more defensive in a sense that we had time on the ball and sometimes we were able to knock a bunch of passes together and do a good job, but other times we weren’t and that’s when we started to hurt ourselves. They have so much movement between their midfield really where they are kind of playing five guys and they’re just all interchanging and making runs through and they’re all quality players and tough to deal with.”

Thoughts on playing against Will Johnson and his shot on Rimando:

“I was caught up and they played it through to Jean-Baptiste who was in behind and played a good ball to Will. The ball was in the air so it wasn’t too easy, but he got a decent piece of it and Rimando made a good save. You know it was good to see him. First time I’ve seen him in a while. I hope he’s ok, not sure what happened to him. I talked to him after the match to tell him good luck. He actually got me in the ankle good in the first half.”

Real Salt Lake FW Joao Plata

On what he saw when he scored the goal:

“There was a good play between everybody. I feel really happy about it but it is important the team gets the three points, or just the final. We did it and we are happy and we need to focus on the next game.”

Thoughts on coming off the bench:

“Of course it is hard because you need to try to be fast and persistent when everybody is running. It’s good because we win and need to focus on the next game.”

Portland Timbers

Portland Timbers Head Coach Caleb Porter

On what he told the team after the result:

“Well obviously I told them that we’re disappointed. We wanted to go further. If we got through this game we could win the Open Cup, obviously I like our chances going back [to Portland] and winning. It’s tough. You have to come and play one of the best teams in the league on their home field, that’s a tall order. You know, we’re disappointed, but at the end of the day we have everything to play for in the league and this game, this loss doesn’t change that. We’ve made it further than we’ve ever made it. You know, we’re still not satisfied. They wanted to win it, but you have to keep it in perspective. And another thing is, you know listen, if we weren’t playing as well as we were, in the boxes -from box to box- you know I’d be concerned. Possession doesn’t win you games, shots don’t win you games, but if you look at those trends and the stats of how we’re playing our games and the flow of the games, there are not major issues, not major things to be alarmed with. Then I told them the things that we do need to correct and that’s in the box that we’re better. You know the final third, we certainly had enough chances in that game. We had 13 shots, they had nine. They had two goals. We have 13 and score one. We were in as many positions as they were to score just as many goals as they did. It’s just they finished theirs and we didn’t. We finished one, they finished two. So we need guys to individually step up there. And defensively, we need to make sure on their nine shots that they don’t get two goals. That’s the difference. Honestly if we were getting dominated by teams in games by multiple goals and that’s what happened last year, we’d be really concerned because there’s no light at the end of the tunnel and you know your team is not good enough. Clearly with the way that we’re playing, with regards to the flow of the game, and the fact that we’re typically in the positions to score goals and put the opponents in less positions to score goals that means we have chances to win games that we play. But we won’t win the games unless we make plays in the boxes, plain and simple. In games recently where we have not been as good as we need to with our backs attacking and our backs defending.”

On the team’s response to the opening goal:

“I thought we got a little rattled by it, but then we recovered. In the end, we have to come in here and play Salt Lake, the best possession team in the league - we’re a close second - but we’re 60-40 in possession. So clearly we did more in the game than they did. It was 13 shots to nine, and [those] things tell a positive story, but none of us are looking for the moral victory. We’re looking for the victory. And yet, there are some guys that if we make a few more plays, we’re the ones winning two to one. So it’s that simple. If we weren’t getting shots, if we weren’t controlling games, if we were losing games by multiple goals, if we were getting dominated, those are all things that happened last year. They’re not happening this year. At the end of the day, we want to be in the playoffs, we want to have a chance at the Supporters’ Shield, we’ve got to start making plays in the boxes, plain and simple.”

On what the team can do moving forward:

“We’re learning to win. What I think is happening is that we’ve had success, people are talking about us, we know we’re a good team. We know we can take the field and have a chance to win against anybody, but in some ways maybe we’ve gotten overconfident. In some ways maybe we need a little dose of reality a few times to know that we’re a good team, and we can take the field and have a chance against anybody and win games. But we won’t win games if we don’t start games with a more humble [outlook], more aggressiveness. We can’t be waiting to go down a goal. Against good teams you’re not going to be able to do that, especially two goals, which is obviously what San Jose and in this game we got two goals. In both games, we pulled a goal back, but we’re not going to pull two goals back against good teams late. It’s unrealistic to think that.”

On why the team lost:

“No it wasn’t nerves. If anything, it’s confidence. So last year was nervousness, and again I think we’re learning to consistently manage this and be a winning team game in and game out, and understand we’re a good team, but not so good that we can walk out on the field and stroll out there and just play. You know I think the group was ready, physically they were ready, they were motivated, they knew what was at stake, but in some ways they had a bit, too much, of confidence, and we got burned by it. Listen at the end, you could see there in the second half [it was] good. We were getting more of the ball. To do that against Salt Lake, I don’t know if that happens very often to Salt Lake, but we’re in it to win games. We’re not in it to possess the ball. We’re not in it to get more shots. We’re in it to win games.”

On Will Johnson’s injury:

“He fell in the first half. I don’t know what it is, but it could be a dislocated shoulder or something. He tried to keep playing, but then he told us he needed to come out. You could tell visibly that he was protecting it. Unfortunately, we had to take him out.”

On set piece defending:

“We probably work on it more than anybody based on what some of my players on other teams have told me, but again it’s a 1v1 battle. It’s that simple. You have to stay with your guy. It’s that simple. They know their responsibilities. We have sheets up before the game and we go through a week of training. It’s just if you mark your guy, and he doesn’t get loose, he doesn’t get a goal. If you don’t mark your guy, he gets a goal. The guys have to take responsibility in that moment and they know that. If you don’t make a play, it costs us a goal. Same thing on the other end. If we’re in a position at goal, we’ve got to make plays. It just takes a bit more quality and maybe a decision on a pass. We probably dumped more crosses that were for me a hope-to-score, and that’s not our style. We will get crosses in, but we’re not going to dump crosses in front of the goal, that’s just not our game. I thought there was a little bit much. There were times where we just missed that final ball, but in the end we had 13 shots and they had nine. Players that have attackers find goal scorers and they score goals on teams that are going to win. [Alvaro] Saborio made an unbelievable play. He jumped over a guy and headed it to the back post. You have to credit them as well. They’ve won a lot of games, and they’ve had a lot of the same guys together. Again, for us to come and play toe to toe with them on their field and out-possess them and out-shoot them, it’s a positive thing. But I’m not happy about it and we have to make more plays.”

Portland Timbers FW Rodney Wallace

On the start of the game:

“Yeah, unfortunately we didn’t come out as strong as we usually do. I don’t know what it was but we weren’t all there in the first 10 minutes and that cost us. We simply just can’t keep giving up goals like that. We’ve just got to build from it, you know. It’s the game and it happens but the good thing is we’re creating chances still, the group is positive still. It’s a big game that we let get away but – at the same time – we can’t hold on to this for too long, we’ve got to keep going in the league and we play these guys a couple more times, so we’re going to go out there and try to get that win.”

On out-shooting out-possessing RSL:

“Yeah, we out possessed them, we out shot them. It just didn’t’ come today. You say we created the chances, but it just wasn’t falling for us. Out shooting them and out possessing them is good, but at the same time we have to execute and we’ve got to stop giving up goals. We’re a good enough team to win games and we know that at any minute we’re going to score a goal. We have to stay as positive as possible come up from this.”

On finishing being an issue:

“I wouldn’t really call it an issue, I think we just have to be better at that. The chances are coming and the goals will keep falling. We’re still creating the chances. It happens, sometimes it’s just not going to go in. I think when we’re in the box we just have to execute a little bit better and keep creating.”

Portland Timbers MF Will Johnson

On how it felt to be back at Rio Tinto Stadium:

“Yeah, of course I wanted to win the game. From that point of view, disappointing. But the reception I got from, you know, 90 percent of the fans was fantastic. They really treated me with class and respect and I appreciate that.”

On his arm injury:

“Yeah I just fell on it in the first half and after half time it kind of locked up and I couldn’t run. I tried to just push and see if I could help out a little bit, but at some point it was probably better that I went off and made sure I didn’t do anything further – any further damage.”

How the team feels:

”Yeah it’s disappointing. Obviously we’re a bit young, a bit inexperienced and learning how to win. So we’ve stumbled here, we had enough chances, we had enough of the ball, you know it comes down to making big time plays. Sabo made a big time play for them. We haven’t quite defended as well as we would have liked – to win the game. But our box defending and our final third play was not worthy of getting to the final of the cup.”

Things to take going forward:

“Same things we’ve lost in past games the past couple weeks, set pieces, we have to start games better. It’s not broken, it’s not big things that we’re missing here, it’s small things, it’s little things we need to tweak. But we’ve got to cut out the mistakes. We know exactly what’s wrong, we know how to fix it, we just have to go out there and make plays, and fix it.”

On the start of the game:

“Slow, it was just a slow start. I just think a bit of over confidence, we’ve had a lot of success the first half of the year that the club hasn’t had before. We need to realize we haven’t accomplished anything yet, we’ve accomplished none of our goals and we got to be humbled a little bit by this result and by the results of the past few weeks. Make sure it doesn’t’ happen again.”

On solid performances but disappointing results:

“It’s a results business, so obviously we’re disappointed that we haven’t gotten the results. We need the results to continue where we want to go. It’s learning from their mistakes, it’s looking at the tape, analyzing the good things – continuing to do those good things. But also realizing there are a lot of mistakes being made and those are easily correctable and they must be corrected if this team wants to be successful.”

On ovation leaving field:

“It’s tough, a small part of me is always going to be here in Salt Lake, you know. Through all the good times and the bad we had here. It’s tough, but I was just in a lot of pain so I don’t remember a whole lot. But like I said the fans are great here. The organization is great, they treated me with the utmost respect and I try to do the same. So congratulations to them, it will be a fun event for them to host the final.”