Quote Sheet: RSL 1-3 Portland Timbers

Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jeff Cassar

On why Real Salt Lake seemed so susceptible to the counterattack:

“Yeah, you’re going to get caught forward when you’re in an attacking style of play, but it’s about the choices you make; the kind of ball you can’t play and you’re realizing that if you do turn the ball over, it’s going the other way.  That’s why you don’t jam the ball down the middle.  You have to go wide, because [if you don’t] you’re just sending them off to the races.  They capitalized on two errors that we made.”

On his outlook for the next few weeks:

“I wish it was a break – I really do – but we’re going to be travelling to Atlanta on Thursday for an Open Cup match.  Then, if things go well there, during our break we have another Open Cup match in either Colorado or Orlando.  It’s not a lot of time, but hopefully we use this week to get back to some of those principles that we need to shore up.  We still have to get some good, quality training sessions in.  We just had a week with three games, but there are some things we have to do, for sure.”

On the mentality of the club after getting one point from its last three matches:

“I think we haven’t gotten the points that we want.  I think some of the performances are there.  You look back at all the games we could’ve won – and should’ve won – so we think there could be a ton more positives from the season so far, and there are.  We are second in the league in points.  You can’t get too down on this, but you can realize that we do have to work on things and get better at things.  If you said, almost at the halfway point of the season, that we’d be in second place overall in the league, would we be happy?  Of course, especially with some of the results that we could have had.  On top of that, we’ve had a crazy amount of injuries this year, players in and out, national team call ups, and we’re still where we’re at.  I’m really proud of the guys for that.”

On if the Open Cup provides an opportunity to hit the reset button on the club’s recent performances:

“We always want to get back to winning ways as soon as possible.  We’re travelling to Atlanta and playing there on turf and in the heat it’s not going to be easy.  We’ll have to play a very good game to beat them there.”

On if early-season results caused players to be overaggressive:

“I don’t think it was that.  I think that anytime you have an attacking set play, you want to capitalize on those opportunities.  You don’t want to just rest, sit back and say ‘1-0 is enough,’ because it hasn’t been enough for us.  We want to be aggressive, especially at home.  Those two goals should not happen.  They should not happen.  We probably could’ve made a foul that the referee would’ve not called.  We need to make better choices.”

On DF Tony Beltran’s two yellow cards in the 54th minute:

“Honestly, I’ve got to look at it again.  Anytime you leave your feet, you’re leaving it at the ref’s discretion to make a harsh decision.  I thought it was harsh, but maybe I’m wrong.  I need to see the replay.  I thought Tony [Beltran] got the ball – I know if wasn’t malicious by him, by any means.  It was kind of a weird night for us with some calls.”

On his approach to the Open Cup lineups:

“I haven’t even started to think about the lineup.  Obviously the game is on turf, so we have to be mindful of some of our players on turf.  I can tell you that it’s a tournament that we’re excited to be in.  We want to win – it’s another avenue to get back to the Champions League.  If you win five games, you get that opportunity.  We’re going to try to push as much as we can.”

On MF Ned Grabavoy’s injury status:

“I was talking to him, walking off the field, and it’s a hip flexor injury.  I’m not sure if it’s the hip flexor, or maybe a glute muscle that’s wrapped around to the front.  He was starting to feel it, but it was typical Ned, who wants to push through everything, but he just couldn’t do it anymore.  It was his third game in seven days.  He’s a warrior, so I really appreciate his effort.”

Real Salt Lake DF Chris Wingert

On Portland’s two first half goals:

“Sometimes I think this happens to us, we’re in pretty good spots to start and it’s not the first play, it’s the play after. Sometimes we win the ball and naturally we want to get into offensive positions and if we don’t make the right play from there or get a chance on goal and turn it over then they’re off. I think that’s happened a couple of times really on both those plays and they’re looking to get out and run at us and counter and did a pretty good job on the second one.”

On Real Salt Lake’s performance:

“We were a bit unlucky. I thought we played a pretty good first half. Those are two crucial mistakes but I thought we were playing really well and creating good chances and still found ourselves down at half.”

Real Salt Lake DF Nat Borchers

On the upcoming U.S. Open Cup game against Atlanta:

“The Open Cup is always an opportunity for silverware and it’s not an easy road when you’re starting in Atlanta and going across the country. We’re going to go out and give it everything we’ve got.”

On the chance for a small break from league play for the World Cup:

“I think it’s going to be good. We’ve got a lot of guys who went 90 minutes for three games in a row and we have some tired legs, and injuries right now. It’s going to be good to rest some bodies. It’s not really a break though. We’ll go to Atlanta this weekend and if we win again we’re going to play again soon so I don’t consider it much of a break.”

Real Salt Lake MF Ned Grabavoy

On his overall thoughts on the match:

“Up until their goal, they scored in the 30th minute maybe off of a corner kick. From that moment on, everything that could have went wrong kind of went wrong, you know.  It’s about the easiest way to explain it. Just look at all of the close plays the rest of the way and give up a set piece goal off of a corner when they hadn’t done anything up to that point to even up the match. Obviously I make a really bad mistake up at the top of the box not serving the ball back in, or losing a little bit, and they start running down the counter attack and get another one right before half. Thing kind of went on a downward spiral from there with a lot of different things, so it was a difficult game, difficult week. You look at some of the games in the very beginning of the season and up to that point, we’re getting a lot of PK’s, a lot of red cards against the other teams, so we have had some fortunate balances go our way, and this week we certainly didn’t.  Even at that, when we go down a guy and to watch the one run and to keep the effort going, that’s the stuff that I look at a little bit. Nobody quit out there, so I think it’s important a little bit to think about that as well.”

On his attitude moving forward:

“Obviously you have the Open Cup, so you can shift focus to that now. There’s still some games, but I think mentally we can still be sharp in training and all those things, but take a little bit of a break mentally as well from the league play. When it’s time, I think we will have a little bit of a break at some point. So I think it’s important. This was a tough week for sure, but at the same time let’s just look where we are. We’re in an OK spot.  There’s obviously things we need to work on, but injuries are piling up a little bit. We will get our national team guys back at some point as well. So it’s not all just dark clouds. Just get away from it a little bit.”

On what happened after pressuring a lot in the first half:

“Even the goals we gave up in the first half, I don’t think it was from tiredness. It was just from mistakes. Like I said, a set piece, then a second goal. A corner pops up, I don’t do well with the ball. It’s an amateur decision by me and it cost our team. Even going out in the second half I thought that our energy was still pretty good. There were some close plays, and they certainly weren’t going our way throughout the game, at least the last 60 minutes, because I certainly felt the first half we did a lot, a lot well offensively, and got some guys into some great spots, but like I said on the other end, the close plays, we just didn’t make them.”

On if scoring too soon was a detriment to the team’s mentality:

“We want to score early and often. Obviously the game changes when the red cards happens a little bit, and once they padded the lead towards the end with the PK, it changes the game. But I thought up until that point, I can’t say necessarily we looked extremely tired or anything like that. I think it’s some more mental decisions than anything.”

Portland Timbers

Portland Timbers Head Coach Caleb Porter

On his thoughts on the match:

“The credit goes to all the players. I thought that we had really good preparation the last three days, but when the whistle blows in a soccer game, it’s down to the players, and I thought they looked very mature today. I thought that coming into the game, they looked mature. Obviously, we gave up the goal on a set piece – that was disappointing – but the response after to pull two goals back, be up two to one at half – we haven’t been up in the second half at this place – I knew that was going to put us in a good position because we usually play good second halves in games. I thought overall we looked mature, and it was a comprehensive performance.”

On how his attack is clicking:

“I think that it’s like pieces to a puzzle. We have a lot of puzzle pieces to tinker with. We’ve got it wrong some games in terms of how you put a team together, and we’ve been handicapped a few times early in the year especially with some injuries. I think that line of three, having that fluid line, playing with more inverted wingers underneath, a true target-type nine really seemed to work today. I think that it allowed us to control the midfield on Salt Lake, which is the key to beating them – you’ve got to flood the midfield. I think basically our group of five guys with the two holding mids, [Diego] Chara and [Will] Johnson, and obviously [Darlington] Nagbe, Gaston [Fernandez], and [Diego] Valeri, those five guys really did a nice job on both sides of the ball with controlling the midfield and I thought that was the key to the match.”

On how Steve Zakuani and Diego Valeri created the penalty kick in the second half:

“Obviously, RSL is looking to chase the game and get numbers forward. We thought that there are one of two ways to manage the end of a game. You either concede and put defenders on and drop in which allows them to come or sometimes you can actually get that next goal which ices the game. I thought that Zakuani’s insertion certainly helped us ice the game.”

On winning for the first time in Salt Lake:

“I’m just happy that we got three points. We haven’t gotten results at home like we needed to, but we’ve now gotten three victories in a row on the road. That says a lot about this group. It shows, even though we are dropping a few points at home, we can make up for it. We have a lot of games left, home and away, and we need to do better at home starting with Dallas on Wednesday.”

Portland Timbers FW Fanendo Adi

On his overall thoughts on the match:

“It’s a great win. It’s very important for the team that we came out victorious, so it’s amazing.”

On getting Portland’s first ever win in Salt Lake:

“That’s the essence of the game. Before we came here, I was told that we’ve never won here and that it’s pretty tough playing against this team, but I just made it a fun joke: “yeah, there’s always a first time and we’re going to do it this time around.” It was great that we did it this time around. The whole team played a wonderful game.”

On his two goals:

“The first goal was quite more physical because he was just pulling me back and I didn’t even know where the ball was going. I knew that I touched it and I was lucky enough that it went in. For the second goal, I saw that Darlington [Nagbe] was going to shoot the ball and even if the goalie is going to get it, the ball’s going to come into the penalty box, and I was just standing in the right position and the ball just came right to me.”

On how he’s been able to score so efficiently in MLS play:

“It hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been easy at all. It’s a battle. It’s not just me scoring the goals, but it’s the whole team. Without the guys playing fantastic, I wouldn’t be able to get a goal as a striker, so it’s not just about me, it’s about the whole team. We played a nice game.”

Portland Timbers MF Will Johnson

On getting his first win in Salt Lake since being traded:

“It feels good. Not as much because coming back here and beating these guys in this stadium where we’ve had such trouble, but we’re desperate. We needed to win tonight, and so fortunate that it was here and that we’ve turned things around a little bit in this stadium, that feels good. But more than anything, we’re desperate, we needed those three points, and it doesn’t matter who we beat.”

On how the offense is clicking:

[Fanendo] Adi. He is on fire. The goal that he scores, and Diego [Valeri] as well. Those two guys are really producing. The goal where Adi just muscles a guy – you can’t teach that, it’s just instinctive. A big physical guy and the way that he scored that first goal, it just kind of opened them up a little bit, and really it was tough for them to bounce back from that. Those two guys are playing great and I think that everyone else is pitching in too.”

On finally being on the receiving end of a PK call:

“I am hesitant to do anything crazy here. We beat Salt Lake and got a PK, the world might end tonight, I’m not sure. That’s how I felt.”