Quote Sheet: Round 1

QUOTE SHEET

Real Salt Lake 2-1 Portland Timbers

Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah

Saturday, October 19, 2019
 

Real Salt Lake

Interim Head Coach Freddy Juarez
 

On the game:

“First half was so good, but in the second half they made us suffer. We stuck together, and Plata, Johnson and Kelyn came in and added some fresh legs. They had to respond and we did. I’m proud of the guys. It wasn’t an easy game. The atmosphere was great, the fanbase was loud. You could really hear them when something good happened, and that raised our spirits up.”
 

On the performance:

“Going into the game the atmosphere was good. The fireworks and all that, you could just sense that the guys were up for it. All week you could sense the guys were there. We were confident but not overconfident. We felt that here at home we’re very good. If we came with the commitment that we talked about and executed some things then we have a good chance. We did a good job. It’s hard to control all 90 minutes, but we controlled a good portion of it. In the first half, I think we could have had one or two more that would have made things easier for us. These are the playoffs, and the guys had to respond with a little bit extra and we got through it.”
 

On Rimando’s performance:

“That was critical. We couldn’t quite get to the ball. The loose balls were bouncing everywhere and it would somehow end up with their players. What can I say about Nick? He’s been doing that here for 13 years. The guy is awesome. He pulled one out on his left side and I just had to clap my hands when that happened. If you’re thinking that we’re going to go to Seattle and he’s not going to have to make a save, he’s going to have to. That’s the way the playoffs are. You’re going to have to suffer at times. When you have the opportunity to make the opponent suffer, you have to try to do it. The team that capitalizes on their chances, like we did today on two of them and they had one, we win.”
 

On the response after the goal:

“It was disappointing how they got the goal. We want to keep developing as a team. We have seen growth in the last three years and we want to continue. How can we come out and give the same energy as in the first half and not let this team get a long portion of the game where they start controlling it? That was the disappointing part and the players will agree with me. Allowing a corner kick goal to come so early in the half changed the mindset a little bit. It gave them energy. Maybe I had to be a little harsher and critical at halftime because that can’t happen at this stage. We’ll work on it. I told them, you’re going to have to learn how to win games. If you’re winning, you have to learn to win it. We found a way, and now we’re advancing to go play in Seattle.”
 

On Savarino’s goal:

“Exhale. We were happy for him. We can’t let the game go on and on without Savarino and Albert touching the ball. Savarino in the first half was good. He was confident, playing out of tight areas, forced defenders to work hard to recover the ball, and he was rewarded with the great goal. Albert, was super unselfish, senses it and lets the ball run through. Great teamwork right there. The guys running onto the field to celebrate speaks for itself. That’s how we all felt.”
 

On the early goal:

“We had a couple chances before that, maybe even better looks. When we got the goal, it makes it so that the opponent can’t sit in. If you look at the first half, they were sitting in, waiting for us to make a mistake. We did a good job of maintaining balance and getting in behind and at times moving them from side to side. I thought we were doing very well. When we got the goal, it forces them to open up a little bit more. From there we still created chances, we just didn’t capitalize. That goal was very important to us.”
 

On the sub patterns:
“Just to add a little bit more pressure on the backline. They started to get too much control through their centerbacks moving it from side to side. We couldn’t quite lock them up on one side, they kept finding Chara and it was forcing our center mids - Kyle and Everton - to run just a little too much. We wanted to add a little bit of pressure on the backline. They added something. It’s not an easy game to go into. People always want to see subs come in, but it’s not easy to find the rhythm of a game like this in cold weather, it’s hard to breathe, the intensity of a playoff game. Those two guys, along with Kelyn, gave us a whole lot.”

 

On Plata’s assist:

“He had a great 10 days of training, when the other guys went to their national teams and we kept the nine or so players. It was very good. He played so well. I told him to just go in there and make sure everyone works hard and try to put their defense into a little bit of chaos so we can create an opportunity. He did that. He loves cutting inside and looking for that combination play. He was great in a couple things today. He won the aerial battles when they came to him. That’s what we ask from the guys that come in. When they come in, they have to try and make a difference, whether it’s to protect a lead or try and catch them. I thought our subs did well today.”
 

On Seattle:

“We usually play well against Seattle. When we play them, we usually split it. They play good soccer and they’re very similar to these guys. They’ll be more aggressive because they’re playing at home. They love their outside backs getting high, but it’s always a good game against those guys. We hope that we can go and represent the club well. We went and did it at LAFC last year, and that’s the mentality. We’re going to Seattle looking to win the game.”

 

On not having to go the extra time:

“We’re super happy. We actually never talked about overtime. We were wanting to win the game. We didn’t want to go to extra time. They went to overtime and Dallas challenged them. These playoff games are always tight, so that’s what we’re going to go try to do.”
 

On the quick turnaround:

“The job is for the guys who get paid in the science department. We have to put them in the best shape possible. I want them to celebrate the win, because these wins are hard to come by. At the same time, being professional, getting good rest. Our science department will get together. As soon as I go in there, they will tell me what kind of load I can put on the guys, and everyone who is going to do regen. Then we’re going to have to see what kind of fresh legs that we can put in there. It’s going to be hard to repeat the same starting group. They all came out healthy, that’s the important part. Now we have to see who can give us the best opportunity to win on the road.”
 

Midfielder Kyle Beckerman
 

On the performance:

“I thought we played really well in the first half. Credit to Steve Clark. He played pretty good and had some really nice saves. In the second half, a set-piece goal gave them some confidence and momentum but we had to weather it and stay in. It was good to get that final goal.”
 

On the fans at Rio Tinto Stadium:

“They did great tonight. They were super loud and stayed with it through the snow. We’re used to it here. We’ve had quite a few of these and I think we are undefeated, so bring the snow.”
 

On going to Seattle:

“It’s going to be extremely tough. They have a really good team and a great environment out there in Seattle so we know it’s going to be tough but we are looking forward to it.”
 

On the feeling after the win:

“It felt like a lot of hard work was rewarded. We wanted to get one over on Portland. It’s been a while since we beat them, and we felt that today was the perfect day to do it. We put a lot in so to advance, we’re just really excited. It’s what we planned for in the beginning of the season and now 10 months later, here we are achieving our goals.”
 

On the difference tonight:

“I thought we played a really strong first half. Offensively, we were really sharp. If we happened to lose the ball, we pressured really quick. We put a lot into it. We exerted a lot of energy in that first half. It’s not so much that we played bad in the second half. It just so happened that they got a goal off a set piece and they got some confidence and momentum. It showed a lot of character that we stayed in it and we stayed calm, and ultimately got that goal.”

 

On his celebration:

“I’m just so happy for these guys, for the team, for the fans. The place erupted. There’s no better sound than when the stadium erupts. That’s what these nights, both players and fans, live for. To give them a win and send everyone home happy. They stuck it out through the snow, but when we saw the snow, I’m sure a lot of fans thought, ‘This is a good omen’, because we have a good record in the snow.”
 

On the yellow card:

“It was just a shoulder, and he acted. We’re going on, and he’s going home, so have fun.”
 

On Rimando’s performance:

“That’s what we learn to expect. He’s done that to himself. He’s been a solid rock for us for so long. He comes up big for us. That’s just Nick Rimando. We needed him tonight, and we’re going to need him next game. Hopefully, we can keep this thing going.”
 

On the secret to quick turnaround:

“Massage. Maybe sneak in some acupuncture. Eat a lot of food. Mentally you’re good.”

 

Goalkeeper Nick Rimando

 

On the game:

“We felt confident going into this. We played well in the first half. We created some opportunities and unfortunately only got one in. The second half came around, and it wasn’t that we didn’t play well, they just came out with a little bit more energy. Unfortunately, we conceded on a corner, but the guys fought hard in a crazy climate, and we were able to get that win. It feels really good. If you were here in the locker room, you would have seen how happy everyone was.”
 

On his saves:

“You just try to help your teammates out as much as you can. For me, it was being there for those saves. At 1-1, everybody’s trying to chase the game and get that goal to go ahead, which might have opened us up a little bit. Everybody was up to the task. Everyone in front of me played amazing, and we’re excited to get the win.”
 

On his reaction to Savarino’s goal:

“So happy. So excited. I did not want to go to overtime in that weather. Savarino obviously put the ball away near post, so I was just really excited that he was able to do that.”
 

On the home advantage:

“It was huge. We had the fans around us, and they had our backs the whole time. We knew that in the past we’ve had some late goals here, so the confidence stayed the whole time. To have that home game, that we’ve worked so hard for the whole year paid off for us.”
 

On the next game:

“The guys are already talking about it. We’re confident. We have to be organized and get possession. If we play like we did tonight, we’re going to have opportunities. We just have to put those away and be sound defensively.”
 

Forward Jefferson Savarino
 

On the win:

“It was a very good team we played against, but we needed to put everything together to be able to get this win. Thank you to the fans who came out and braved these tough conditions to get a win in a playoff game.”
 

Midfielder Albert Rusnak
 

On what it took to get the win:

“Hard work. In the first half we were the better team and then the second half things changed and they were the better team. The thing that I said in the press conference yesterday is that we have grown as a team because we can win games when we don’t play well and today in the second half was an example of that.”
 

On the dummy to Sava:

“I knew Sava was behind me and the guy who tried to step into me, I knew he was the last guy. I was going to leave it always. I left it and I was actually thinking he was going to shoot across and then he took a shot and I didn’t see the ball and I didn’t know where it was. But as soon as it hit the back of the net it was all celebration.”
 

On the win and moving forward:

“It was probably the hardest run that I made from the bench into the middle circle with all the boys the whole game but it’s a great feeling. We advanced in the playoffs tonight and tomorrow it’s enjoying the win and then from Monday it’s just preparing for the next game.”
 

Portland Timbers FC
Head Coach Giovanni Savarese

 

On the tough loss:
“It was a game of two halves. In the first half, we didn’t show up and it was all Real Salt Lake. They completely dominated and we were lucky to be 1-0 down. In the second half, it was all us. I think Real Salt Lake didn’t do anything and we completely dominated the second half. We created enough chances to maybe put this game away. Maybe going into overtime 1-1 would have been a little bit more fair but this game is not fair. It’s whoever is able to capitalize and at the end they had one good chance that they took advantage and Savarino was able to find the back of the net. Like I said, it was a tale of two halves. We were very good in the second half and terrible the first and it was vice versa for them.”

 

On the locker room message at the second half:

“There was no doubt that we were going to come out of the locker room and half a better team and that’s what they did. Unfortunately, Jeremy Ebobisse felt some tightness so we had to substitute him because we couldn’t lose him. We only have one striker so we have to manage him as much as we can. That was an unfortunate situation but never-the-less the team created a lot of chances after that and it’s just unfortunate that in the last minute of that game we allowed that goal to come in. It has been a very difficult season. I’m very proud of the guys and they have done so well during the entire year to arrive to today. If we would have gone through today, it would have been fair.”
 

On what to do in the offseason:

“Analyze the season. Evaluate situations and make sure we see how we move forward and come stronger next year. It’s unfortunate because we didn’t want to finish so early in this stage because we really believe in ourselves but at the end you have to do it on the field. Real Salt Lake just found that goal to go through and now we just have to build stronger and better for next year.”
 

On the form in the first half:

“I was very surprised on how flat we were. I thought we were lucky to be losing 1-0. We just didn’t find the game at all in the first half. It was all Real Salt Lake but in the second half we completely dominated the match. We did very well and Salt Lake didn’t do anything. The teams that were able to score in the right moments was going to be key and Salt Lake found a good goal at the end to go 2-1 and it could have been us because we had a lot of chances. Whoever would have went through, it would have been a fair situation.”
 

On not starting Diego Valeri:

“It’s a simple and easy decision for two special reasons. One is because he is just coming back from injury and we need to make sure we manage his minutes. Two, the team that played last week played very well. We completely dominated against San Jose. We won in a very strong and determined fashion and I think the guys who played deserved to come back and play again.”
 

On what to take into next season:

“We did have a lot of good moments during the season and some other moments that were difficult, especially in the beginning. We do feel that we finished strong so we believe that it would have been fair to continue to go forward. Any other two teams today would have deserved it for what we did in one half and what we did in the other half. We just have to make sure that next year we come back stronger and we learn from these lessons and that we keep a very good base and we keep on building.”
 

On adversity throughout the year:
“Throughout the year we had a lot of adversity. Now that we have finished this season we can analyze those things and talk about it. There are a lot of different things we have to deal with but the guys were strong. As I said, we are very proud about how we got here and how we fought to get in the playoffs. Even today the second was stupendous. It was incredible. We did very well. If we would have played the first half like we did the second then we would have gone through. Unfortunately, the team didn’t do that, but I’m very proud of the guys. They handled a lot of things and learned a lot of things because we dealt with a lot of different situations.”

 

Midfielder Diego Chara
 

On processing the loss:
“It’s hard to process this loss because we came in and tried to find a good result. During the game we made a couple of mistakes and it changed the game.”

 

On what changed at halftime:
“We tried to press a little bit higher in the second half. The result of that was that we scored and tied the game. After that we tried to create opportunities and be effective, but Real Salt Lake scored and they were effective in the moment. That was all.”

 

On the conditions:
“It was a little bit hard in the first half because it was cold but the weather in this game doesn’t matter. We tried to play well and we play a little bit of defense in the second half and in the end Real Salt Lake had a good game.”

 

On processing 2019:
“It’s hard because we want to go to the semifinals but we didn’t. In my opinion, today we made a lot of mistakes during the game and that changed everything.”

 

Forward Jeremy Ebobisse
 

On the game result

“Given the weather conditions and whatnot, and them being at home and being more comfortable, they felt little bit more up for the game, which is disappointing to say, for us as players and they took advantage of kind of the chaotic nature of the first half. The concern about momentum was a surprise and they got on the front foot. And then the second half, we knew that we'd have some of those advantages that they had in the first half. It started snowing, which made the game a little ugly at times, too, but we responded a lot better in the second half than we did in the first half, and then, they had a vital play that kind of sums up that second half. And maybe this game is all kind of sums up our season as well. Just close but not enough.”
 

On the 2019 season

“If we look back, we will see that there were too many peaks and too many valleys, but I think we were in position where we weren't able to capitalize on certain moments for a variety of reasons That's just the way sports go and we're just going to bounce back and I know that this team is eager to get back to it. We're going to hang our heads for a little bit and see where we are.  Yeah, [the second half goal] kind of just told us that we were back in the game. Actually, more than anything, at half time, we talked about not having the right beginning of the game but that we were a little bit frantic, so to get that goal after the break, it felt like floodgates were opening up. We felt a lot more comfortable and a little more fluid in the team.”
 

On being disappointed 

“I think anytime you lose a match that ends your season, you're going to be disappointed. Actually, I think we prepared well for this game. I think in general we played well. We were a little bit frantic in the first half of the I mentioned earlier but with that, some guys made some big plays to keep the game within reach. And then the second half, we made some plays at the beginning again, and in a moment where we're starting to assert ourselves, we just couldn't continue to push on for that second goal. So just general disappointment to have our season so early. This is a talented group. Unfortunately, we're getting older and whatnot. So it's been nice to get a win this year, but these guys have been in great shape and I've no doubt that they'll be ready to go next year when the time comes, for sure.” 

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