Quote Sheet: RSL 0-0 Portland Timbers
REAL SALT LAKE 0-0 PORTLAND TIMBERS
"I'm generally pleased, really pleased, with the group's efforts tonight. The intensity that they came out with was spot on and pleased that they put the defensive effort out that we've been talking about for the two weeks since we've had a match. For me, it was a cleaner performance for us against a dangerous team in a difficult place to pick up points. So I look at it as a positive and if we can perform like that as we go into the playoffs, thinking that we'll have a home and away series, this is what you have to do when you're away. I'm hopeful that we can take some lessons out of this and carry it through the playoffs."
On the scoreless draw:
"I think probably from our point of view, a little bit more focused on the defensive side of things – we have for large portions of this season. I think that when our players do that, we typically will succeed. I think we lacked a little bit of sharpness in the attacking third of the field. There were some opportunities for me where shots should have been taken and they weren't, and then perhaps different things happen, and Portland had a couple of chances that they probably should have put away. So, the goals were there to be scored, it was just one of those nights that they weren't taken."
On GK Nick Rimando's performance:
"Phenomenal. Phenomenal and we're going to need a player like Nick to do that if we have any chance to win the cup. We're going to need our biggest players in Rimando, [Nat] Borchers, and [Kyle] Beckerman and [Yordany] Alvarez and [Alvaro] Saborio; these guys are going to have to step up and make big plays if we have any chance to win things. So, good to see him do that tonight and hope that we carry that forward."
On the playoff atmosphere in the stadium:
"For sure. Every match here plays like a playoff match. It's such a fantastic place to play games. It's a pleasure to be a part of any match that's in front of these fans here."
"It was a big game. I think probably the biggest of the season. It could be a conference decider. I'm happy and excited that I got to play against my old team. It was a great game and you look forward to playing games like this because as a player you want to play the big games. And I'm just happy that we got a good result and now we go home and just take care of business because we put ourselves in a good position."
On the tight conference playoff race:
"We talk about ourselves, the guys with the coaches. A lot of people probably didn't expect us to be in the position that we're in now. We're confident in the work that we've been doing and the sky is the limit. I put nothing beyond this team. The way we fought tonight, that's the way you win championships. You have to go into someone's territory, hostile territory, like tonight, and grind it out and get a point. Now we go home, we get to play Chivas USA and take care of business at home."
Real Salt Lake DF Nat Borchers
"It was a playoff-type game for sure. I thought that both teams did a really good job of just battling, winning second balls and making good decisions on the ball and it was a playoff-type atmosphere."
On the result building towards the postseason:
"It's a step in the right direction, for sure, getting 0-0 on the road. It's been a while since we got a shutout. Nick [Rimando] came up huge for us again, as he always does, and we put ourselves in some good spots to get some chances too."
On the team’s regular-season finale next week against Chivas USA:
"I think that anything could happen, so we have to go out there and plan on going for three points."
On the result:
"We're disappointed any time we don't win, because winning is always the goal. We knew it would be a tight game, they're a good team. I thought the game played out exactly the way we hoped it would play out. [Real Salt Lake] didn't get many chances, I can't remember a quality open look they had over the course of 90 minutes. It was a bit back-and-forth in-between the boxes in a tight game, but I thought we were in control of the game for the most part, especially in the second half. We looked to be the aggressive team, the one pushing the game, the one trying to win and [Real Salt Lake] looked like they were pretty happy, even after the game, with a draw. Whereas our guys were kind of disappointed. If it wasn't for Nick Rimando standing on his head a couple times; I thought he was the Man of the Match in all honesty with a couple saves that he made. We had three or four quality looks and that's what you get in a tight game like this. You can really only ask for having three or four really good looks. [Diego] Valeri's first half, thought there was another one that got across the box that got underneath Kalif [Alhassan]. Kalif, second half, point-blank, Will Johnson's free kick and Sal Zizzo’s open-look header, those are quality chances and you're not going to get better chances than that. Credit to Rimando, we have to do a bit better in those moments, but the reality is that we defended well. We looked very good to start the game again, looked mature mentally. The one thing is, you want to win the game always, but if you don't find the goal, you better not lose. I thought that's what happened today."
On the Timbers qualifying for the postseason for the first time in the club's MLS history:
"I think it's something that might get lost in the shuffle here, and that's OK because I think we've evolved this club so quickly and gotten so many good results this year and have been so confident that to some extent making the playoffs isn't something that we would talk about that much or celebrate much. I think that's a real positive, but it is a big thing for this club, it is a milestone that we're happy about, we're proud of; we're glad to be in the playoffs for the first time. It's not just about being in the playoffs; there's still a lot of work to be done. We want to be a club that's not just in the playoffs, but making a run to win it. The best teams in the league are consistently in the playoffs, that's kind of the measuring stick, and that's what we want to be as a club that's in the playoffs which gives you the chance to raise trophies, and ultimately that's what we want to accomplish."
On the team's defensive form:
“When you're a team that's so organized and disciplined, which we are, we've got a group that works hard. Not just the back line, they get a lot of credit, [Donovan] Ricketts get credit, and those guys should because they're good and they're mature and experienced. It's the entire 11 guys chipping in and I thought we were very good today. We weren't deep a ton, [Real Salt Lake] didn't have a lot of the ball in the final third, they weren't able to open us up very often. They had some crosses and set pieces, but I thought we were very stingy and organized. You have to be against good teams. In games like this, you've got to be organized, and we are. We need to do a bit better finding the goal, but again it wasn't for lack of chances; we had plenty of chances. In fact, we probably had more chances in this game than in some of the other games that we won 1-0. Again, great goalkeeping, and we will find those goals hopefully in the future."
On watching the other MLS results:
"We don't really concern ourselves a ton with what the other teams are doing. That's never been something we talk about. We try to control what we can control, and that's every single game, one at a time, getting three points. You can drive yourself insane trying to speculate and figure out what other teams are doing and the scenarios of 'What if?' The 'what ifs' don't matter, you need to get three points and take care of your business, and that's what we've done all season long. We're in a position right now where if we get a result against Chivas USA, we should be in the top three, which is a big thing because we avoid the play-in game. Who knows, we could still win the Western Conference depending on the other games and we could still even win the Supporters' Shield. But right now, more important than anything, we want to focus on getting three points, which will mean we're going into the postseason in form, on a very good run, and it will mean we avoid the play-in game and ultimately that's what we're trying to do is going into the postseason in the best position possible so we can make a legitimate run to win it all."
On how both teams overloading the middle affected play:
"You've got two teams with a similar style, different formations, but both teams trying to press, both teams trying to overload the middle, so basically you have their four diamond and our five with the 2-3 pinched in. That's one of the ways that we knew we could take away their diamond, [Real Salt Lake is] very good when they get that diamond moving and guys on the ball rotating. They're very fluid. We really limited their ability to get a ton of rhythm and create quality chances because we play the same style as them. It also made for a bit of a choppy game at times, a little more direct than people would've thought because we're pressing and they're pressing. In the end, when teams do that, two teams pressing, you bypass and then it becomes first and second balls, so there was a lot more of that than probably what most people would've thought."
On if this game prepares the team for playoff intensity:
"I think one of the great things about our run is we're playing the best teams in the Western Conference. We're playing Seattle, we're playing LA Galaxy, we're playing Colorado, we're playing Salt Lake, and we've done well against those teams. I think that gives us a lot of confidence going into the postseason. We're in a run of form, seven games now unbeaten, and we're getting shutouts. We're not scoring a ton of goals and we need to do better on set pieces, especially because sometimes that's the way you've got to find a goal to unlock a team. We're looking like a team that's primed for the postseason."
Portland Timbers DF Jack Jewsbury
On the club clinching its first MLS playoff berth:
“It is definitely nice to look at the standings and to see the little ‘X’ next to the team name. It’s been a while for the guys who have been around here, it probably means a little bit more. We’ve put in a lot of work; there’s been some ups and downs. So at the end of the day, this team, this year has been very good and very consistent and it means a lot for the group to make the playoffs. Now, it’s a matter of how far up we can get in the Western Conference and once the playoffs start it’s a whole new season.”
On the good scoring opportunities in stoppage time:
“It looked like we had two good looks. Over the course of the game we had three or four really good looks, and you’d like to think we’d put one away. But at the end of the day, again, we were solid in the back. As a team, defensively, we were hard to break down. They didn’t have a ton of chances on us, so another shutout, which I think is huge going forward when you have a home-and-home in the playoffs. You can get a point there and then come home and get a result. But obviously, we’re a little disappointed not to get three points, because we’ve been doing that pretty consistently these past few months. We didn’t give them any more points and stay in first.”
On the fan support at home:
“It means a lot to them and to us players. I think for us to be able to repay them for their support through some of the tough times, it means a lot to make the playoffs and for them to be a part of it, because, as you can see, our home record is one of the best, if not the best, in the league and they’re a huge part of it.”
Portland Timbers FW Darlington Nagbe
On the club making the playoffs:
“Making the playoffs is great. This is the first year we’ve been able to do it and we’re all happy and we know that we want to win MLS Cup.”
On the team’s scoring chances at the end of the match:
“I thought we were going to get one. We started pushing toward the end, and Rodney [Wallace] and Sal [Zizzo] came in and Frederic [Piquionne] gave us some energy, but we weren’t lucky enough to put one away.”
On the match against RSL being good preparation for the postseason:
“I think so. We played Seattle last game. That felt like a playoff game and today was like a playoff game, also. It’s definitely going to help us and we know we need to get wins.”
Portland Timbers DF Futty Danso
On the draw with RSL:
“We are not happy with the draw at home. We definitely came into this game like we wanted to win the game. We want to make the playoffs and be at the top of the league coming in to the last game of the season. But you can’t take away the one point and making the playoffs for the first time.”
On a fifth-straight shutout at home:
“I think it all comes down to a goalkeeper that’s very vocal. It’s hard to tell, but you can hear him across the field; it puts his defenders in front of him. Playing alongside Pa [Modou Kah], Jack [Jewsbury] and Mike [Harrington], they all have experience in this league, so that helps a lot.”