Quote Sheet: RSL 4-2 Portland Timbers

Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis

On his overall reaction to the game:

“Bookends, right?  The beginning wasn’t good, the end wasn’t good, but the 75 minutes in-between were really good.  I credit [Will Johnson] for that fantastic goal.  We don’t get goals scored on us like that too often.  Our response to that first goal was terrific.  Our guys just got better and better as the game wore on and we got back to the things that we do well.  I think that one thing is clear, and I think 100 percent certain, that we still have 90 minutes of work to do if we’re going to advance.”

On DF Chris Schuler’s second-straight goal-scoring performance:

“He’s a regular goal scorer now – center forward in our next match.  He was terrific.  He’s a guy – with his size and physical attributes – that I could see scoring about five goals a year in attacking dead balls.  It’s good to see him coming into his own a bit.  Another night of service that was absolutely fantastic for us.”

On the performance of Real Salt Lake’s midfield:

“Incredible.  The work that they put into the defensive side of things is the most important thing for me.  They were making aggressive decisions to go forward with it, rather than just playing backwards some of the time.  [Luis Gil], tonight, had some really special play, especially in the first half.  [Sebastian Velasquez] was desperate and good, and [Javier Morales] was special.  On the second goal, actually, if you take a look at it, the touch from him comes all the way back from him in the penalty box, making a defensive play.  When Javier Morales does that, we will succeed.”

On the club’s newfound productivity on set pieces:

“It’s been interesting because we’ve been really ineffective for a majority of the year at attacking dead balls; we get to the playoffs and we look really dangerous and really effective.  For me, it comes down to a couple of things.  First, it’s come down to having different ideas for situations.  We used the short corner a lot during most of the season, and it’s something we can go back to because it has its own dangers.  Second, service.  As I said earlier, the service from Morales has been second-to-none.  The third part is just commitment to making runs in the box.  We’ve been more dedicated and our willingness to fight through some challenges.  The last goal that comes from Morales was pretty cool, too.  I think teams are so used to seeing him out there serving the ball that no one attempts to pick him up when he’s not.”

On FW Devon Sandoval’s performance in Alvaro Saborio’s absence:

“[Devon Sandoval] is a first-year player and he didn’t look like a first-year player to me.  I think that’s because he’s played in five to ten matches for us – five or ten matches starting – and he’s been very effective.”

On his team’s mindset following the second Portland goal:

“With the second goal that Portland scored, we can look at that in one of two ways.  We can be really disappointed, because we could have gone up there with a three-goal lead and had an easier affair, or we could look at that and say “you know what, we just challenged ourselves a bit more, and we’re not going to be able to go up there and just sit back and have a laugh.’  As we’ve seen with what Portland has done at their place recently, they score a lot of goals.  We’re not going to be able to go there and defend all night, for sure.”

On the long layoff between the two legs of the Western Conference Championship:

“I prefer not to wait two weeks to play the next match.  I’d like to continue this week’s momentum because we’ve had similar starts-and-stops this year, and it’s been tough to deal with.  It is what it is, and so we’ll just do our best.  They’ve got a two-week break as well and so we’ll probably both be dealing with a little bit of rustiness in that match.”

On why his team is able to score so many goals against a typically-stingy Portland defense:

“I think we both play a similar style, and I think we both like to set the tempo in the match.  I think we both want to press, we both want to be aggressive in our play, and that opens up space to counterattack.  There’s going to be some nights when our guys are going to finish opportunities, and there’s going to be some nights when we don’t.  We typically create a good number [of chances], and there’s going to be some nights when we score a bunch.”

On FW Robbie Findley’s performance:

“First and foremost, his speed – I think that he made their centerbacks a bit nervous from minute one.  We were effective at looking to find him – I don’t think we were effective at finding him enough in the right spaces, but he just kept lurking.  The goal he scored just comes from sheer will and determination to battle the centerback and to pester him into making a mistake.  On the [third] goal, Morales put in a great pass to him, and he played an excellent pass to Devon.  He’s a guy that’s now put together a couple of good games and I’m really pleased with it.”

Real Salt Lake MF Javier Morales

Thoughts on the match:

“Right before the game we feel confident. So they score a goal but we have plenty of time. We play good soccer, we play very intense game. When we get the tie on Schuler’s goal the confidence increase. We’re pretty good playing like that.”

On getting four goals without Alvaro Saborio:

“Yeah, during the year it happened a lot of times. Sabo was out with the national team. A couple of guys. Every guy step up, like Sandoval, Garcia, Plata, Findley, everyone. You know, that was – that’s the key to this team. That’s a miracle play, that everyone is playing good and scoring a goal so that is really, really important for us.”

On playing another wide-open match in the playoffs:

“Yeah, I think because they are the team that they like to play too. Some teams come here just to sit back and wait. It’s a little bit fun to play, but those kind of teams I respect. I respect Galaxy, I respect Portland because they came here and they want to play. So that kind of team I give a little space in the midfield, that is good for us.”

Last time he scored a header on a corner kick:

“On a corner kick? I don’t know, I think that was my first time.”

On how the matchup leads to so many goals:

“No, I don’t think so. I don’t know, maybe you have to ask them. But, for us, we know we always play against Portland or – I think this team likes to play against big teams, like Galaxy, New York, or Portland because they like to play, they are aggressive like us. So the game is very open. Tonight we take the chances. We had a couple chances and we scored a couple goals.”

Real Salt Lake FW Robbie Findley

On scoring four goals without Alvaro Saborio:

“There’s a lot of depth, you know what I mean? There’s a lot of guys on that team that are willing to work, to put the work in and it showed tonight. We were able to put some goals in the back of the net.”

On what it means to play such a big role in the win:

“I’m just trying to cause problems for the defense. Just go out there and try and make it easier on my teammates. Then Schuler scored a great goal to get us back in the game. They made a mistake in the back and I was able to capitalize on it and put it away. I’m just trying to be effective and make things happen up there.”

On how the matchup allows them to score so well:

“A lot of the times its open it’s back and forth, know what I mean? I think there’s times where we have to do better, be better disciplined and realize that and just get behind the ball and defend for a little bit. It’s going to happen but I think we can do better. There’s always going to be opportunities when you play them and the other way around. We just gotta make sure that when we have ours we capitalize on ours.”

Mentality going into Portland up 4-2:

“Yeah, I mean we’re up two goals so we know they’re going to come out firing and pressing. So we gotta be ready for that. I think at some point in the game if we get past halftime 0-0 things will open up. We’ll get opportunities there. It’s a matter of putting them away again.”

On dealing with a bit of an injury:

“On the goal I landed on my back kind of weird so it was bothering me a little bit. It tightened up. Just landed on it so maybe a bruise or something. But I’ll be alright, get some days off and be ready for that game.”

Real Salt Lake MF Sebastian Velasquez

Thoughts on the match:

“It’s a great feeling. It puts us in a great position to go to Portland and hopefully be able to get a good result there. We’ve done well in Portland. In saying that, we had a three goal advantage then we kind of let one down. I think it’s better to say that we have that little bit of that urgency that there’s still 90 minutes left. It’s only half time.”

Thoughts on giving up the late goal:

“It gives us that little urgency that we still have to go out there and play. We can’t come out and sit back and just let them come at us, because that could be dangerous. Instead when we come out and play football, I think we can play anywhere.”

Thoughts on RSL’s offense:

“It’s incredible. The goals are coming from everywhere. Everybody that’s coming on the field, everyone is scoring and that’s what we need. We need goals from everywhere, so teams won’t think about just one player or another player, just mark our best players – they have to think about all of us on the field.”

Thoughts on the next two weeks of training before the second leg:

“We’re going to work hard doing what we do and worry about our football. Obviously, Portland is a very hard place to play, but we know what we’re capable of and we want to go there and play sharp football and show them what we can do.”

Real Salt Lake FW Devon Sandoval

Thoughts on his overall performance:

“I was really happy with my performance. I thought I held up the ball well and linked up with my team and I was happy to get a goal, so I’ll take it.”

Thoughts on getting the start:

“There were a little nerves but I just tell myself that I do everything in my power to be prepared. I’m confident and that’s enough for me.”

Thoughts on working with Robbie Findley:

“We were both just working hard and running after each other. When you have two forwards who are working hard, good things happen.

Real Salt Lake DF Nat Borchers

Thoughts on the match:

“I think if you look at the chances we created and the chances they had, I think it was a pretty solid game for us. Aside from a goal at the beginning and a goal at the end, that in between part was really good. We were disappointed to give up that last goal for sure. But I think if you know if the score is 2-1, 3-1 then everyone is happy. 4-2 it’s still two goals, so we’re happy to bring that back into Portland.”

Thoughts on the two-week break:

“It is tough, I think we have to be mindful that we come out from breaks and we haven’t been as sharp as we wanted to. I would use the example of that Seattle game away where we had two weeks off and we came back we were rusty and we were not sharp. So we’re going to have to keep a high intensity training for these next two weeks.”

Thoughts on the depth of team with multiple goal scorers:

“Hat’s off to Schuler for getting that equalizing goal bringing us back into the game. That was huge. Then for us to pour it on and have four unanswered was really good to see some of those guys step up who haven’t had huge minutes or contributions this year. It just shows the depth of the team.”

Thoughts on this offense possibly being the best all year:

“It’s a good night for our offense but I think also we’re finishing our chances. I think look at the U.S. Open Cup Final – we had the same amount of chances, but we don’t finish all of them, so tonight we finished our chances and that’s the difference.”

Thoughts on having a big leave before the second leg:

“We’re going to be under it. They’re going to come after us. They’re going to need to get that first goal, an early goal, but we have to be a mature team and we have to defend well. We have to be aggressive and that’s the way that we play even on the road. We’re going to have to push for that first goal and if we can get that I think that puts us in a good position to go.”

Portland Timbers

Portland Timbers Head Coach Caleb Porter:

Overall Thoughts:

“Yeah, I mean it was an interesting game. I thought we came out, you know, with the energy and spirit and mentality that we had been over the last, you know, several months, month and a half; really the last ten games. We came out front foot, got the first goal, and then for whatever reason we just stopped playing. You know, we dropped off far too much. We let them have the ball and come at us and you could start to feel it coming – the goal. I wasn’t surprised when they scored because when you sit back that much and you drop off as much as we did, you know, against a team like Salt Lake who’s very good on the ball and has some good attacking players then you’re bound to give up a goal. You know, in saying that, you know, looking at their goals, they’re correctable. You know, disappointing. I didn’t think we defended very well tonight. And, you know, again, over the last ten games the one thing we’ve done really is well is we’ve been good defensively, and we’ve grinded out results. You know, it’s not just the backs either, it’s the entire team, and I thought our pressure, again, after the first goal wasn’t really what we’re capable of. So, we need to get back to that, get that right again because at this level, you know, playing good teams, good players, you got to defend well. And I just thought we were sloppy. And we made some critical mistakes. I mean obviously we gave up two set pieces which is just marking your man. We had the marks there, it was all sorted. We lost a mark on the first goal. Schuler gets up, heads it. Obviously the second goal was an individual error, and that’s, you know, Futty’s just as disappointed as all of us. You know, he’s got to kick that ball in the stands. He knows it. So now you’re two one. In the second half they score on a counter attack when we’re up the field. Again, we haven’t been giving up those type of goals and we did. And then the fourth one’s another set piece. So, four goals are correctable. Four goals are not indicative of the type of team that we are. But at the end of the day, we weren’t good enough defensively, and we’ve dug ourselves a hole. The last goal was huge, that was big because we’ve come back from two goals quite a bit this year actually, so you look at it as a two zero lead, if we get that first goal, you know, we are going to make this thing interesting. There’s no doubt about it, every guy in our locker room, coaching staff, we all believe that we can turn this around and win the series. Because we’re at home, in front of our fans, we are capable of scoring three goals or more in games, we’ve done that several times, we’ve come back in games several times. In some ways I’m looking forward to seeing how aggressive and proactive we are pushing this game, because typically when we’re pushing games, because we have to win, we’re extremely hard to deal with. And you saw that in the second half, I mean we had sixty percent possession in the second half and, you know, we were a much different team, you saw, when we were chasing it. You know, but again, we can’t make the critical mistakes defensively that we did.”

On the team’s mentality and if he’ll have to bring that back up:

“No, they’ll be fine. And this team has been through, you know, adversity this year. I mean, obviously we’ve lost some games, we lost a game here four two that sent us on a ten game unbeaten streak. So, this team, one thing I’ve learned about them is they’re mentally tough and they’ve got great character and, you know, that won’t change. That doesn’t change in one game. We’re still the same team we are, but for whatever reason we just got away from some of the things that we’ve been doing that have made us successful, and I think a lot of it, again, is just kind of the psychology. I mean, we scored a goal and then we just kind of stopped playing for whatever reason and we let them back into it. But you did see in that second half, we were back to the type of team we want to be, but again, we gave up a couple goals that we can’t give up.”

On how to handle the two-week break:

“Well, it’s good because I think we need to get back to the training ground and improve in some areas. You know, we got to get back to working on set pieces and box defending. Getting tight again and organized in our back four. You know, again, that doesn’t change over ninety minutes. We’ve been a team that’s very good defensively. I just thought tonight, for whatever reason, we weren’t. Maybe it was because, you know, we had heavy legs, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because mentally we’re tired, I’m not sure but it definitely wasn’t a performance that was indicative of the type of team we are. I mean it was a bit of an anomaly and I’m disappointed in it, they are as well, but we’re going to get it right. We’re not going to dwell on the negatives. At the end of the day, we know what we’re capable of doing and, again, we’re at home, and we’re capable of coming back from two goals down – we’ve done that before, and we’re capable of scoring three goals or more, we’ve done that before.”

On how to defensively correct how RSL has been able to score so many goals on them this season:

“Well, I mean, again, look at the goals, two of them were set pieces, corner kicks. And the one was basically we gave them a goal, we passed it right to the forward for a breakaway. So those are really, you know, one is we gave them a goal, two are set pieces. So those are correctable, you mark your guy, simple. The third goal in the second half that made it three one was a counter attack. I think that we kind of got a little stretched out trying to make it two-two. You know, so again, I thought our backs could have done a bit better a times squeezing the field. I thought, at times the outside backs could have been more connected and organized. Again, I thought at times we were just not quite as disciplined and organized and as tight as we have been. So, again, the team doesn’t change in ninety minutes. You know, I look at it more as an outlier. Look at the last ten games, we haven’t been giving up goals so it’s not like all of a sudden our team becomes a bad defensive team. It was just a game and we weren’t good on the day. But again, take out those moments, the three, and we gave up one goal in the game.”

On how the team can get over the loss:

“They’re over it already. They’re over it already. They can’t wait until the next game. I think that last goal was big, really big, because I think it gave us a little bit of life knowing that now we only need two goals and that’s, for our team, that meant a lot. We know we are capable of that. And for their team, to some extent, probably that ticks them off a little bit, you know, and gets them thinking, now, okay, they get the first goal, now it’s two-one. So I know it’s a hole that we’ve dug. We’re not happy about that, it’s not where we wanted to be. But at the same time, we‘re capable of turning it around, no question about it.”

Portland Timbers MF Will Johnson:

On how their second goal in the final minute affects the team:

“I’ll let you know in two weeks. It obviously gives us little boost. A two goal deficit is easier than a three goals deficit so it gives us little bit of a boost to go home and work hard and do the things we need to do, obviously. If we’re better defensively and the same offensively, have scoring two goals on the road, and we know we can score two goals at home as well.”

On playing his old team:

“It’s just another game. I just want to play. It’s fun to come back here, to be honest. I like to see all the familiar faces and all the good people that are around this club, so I have a good time when I come here, and hopefully I’ll start to get some results as well.”

Portland Timbers DF Futty Danso:

On how the defense broke down:

“I don’t think that we had a team defensive fall down or anything. We made two mistakes; they punished us on both mistakes. They got momentum and we couldn’t recover.”

On his errant pass that Robbie Findley scored off of:

“I made a bad decision that I should go back to my goalkeeper and try to dribble out of the back. He stole the ball and finished it.”