Portland Timbers qualify for first MLS Cup ever
FC Dallas drew Timbers FC, 2-2 and Portland passes Dallas 5-3 on aggregate in the Western Conference Finals. Here are the reactions right after the game from both coaches:
Portland Timbers FC head coach Caleb Porter
On advancing to MLS Cup…
I’m very proud of the guys. The work they put in this series to defeat and move on to the next round. To defeat a very good opponent who is outstanding. Dallas is a great team. You saw that in the second half. We knew they’d throw everything at us, and I’m proud of our guys for weathering the storm at the end. It wasn’t the way we scripted it, but the maturity we showed after we gave up the two goals, to not give up the third, and then to score the one to put it away was a really good testament to how far we’ve come as a club. This is a great moment for this club. It’s our first trophy, but we want the biggest trophy and we have one more game still to achieve that.
On the final 20 minutes of the game with Dallas leading 20-1…
These second legs get crazy. You’ve seen it time and again. All it takes is one goal to turn it, and we’ve talked about that a lot as a team. In these games you have to be composed, and even though the game turns on you and goes in a way you’re not quite ready for, maybe didn’t see it coming, you then have to manage it and show composure and maturity. I thought we did that after we gave up the second goal because most teams in that situation probably give up the third, and we didn’t, and very few teams go and score the one to put it away.
On Nat Borchers block of Blas Perez potential goal late in the game…
I’ve been in these games before and you stand on the sideline, make your moves in terms of subs and you know it’s out of your hands and you hope your players step up and make plays. When you have good players, they do that. I really wasn’t all that nervous, to be honest with you, because I knew it was down to the players at that point and I also knew I had experienced guys, good players. I knew I had guys that would get it done, and I just have a belief in this team that we’re going to advance. Some years you have that. Some years, as much as you want to have it, you don’t have it. This team has it. They have a belief, a true belief that we’re going to win MLS Cup.
FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja
General thoughts on the match…
I want to praise this group of players that made us so proud with what we’ve achieved this season. They deserve much for sure, but it seems the game is telling us it is not our time yet, and we will keep working. There are a lot of things ahead of this young group.
Portland is a very good team. Congratulations to them for advancing to the finals. The first half was pretty level. They congested the middle of the field. We knew it… It was difficult to cope with that. I felt the second half was ours. We created a lot of chances. We sent more people forward. We were more exposed in the back a few times. I thought it was fair, but unfortunately we could not put the ball in the back of the net in the last 10 minutes. It was a tremendous game for our players. The spirit they showed when they were down, and when they bounced back into the game was unbelievable.
The character they have developed during the year has been nothing but that spirit of fighting during the difficult moments. They have proven one more time that in spite of the tough moments, we were fighting and we will bounce back.
It has cost us a lot to get to this moment. We were about to get to the MLS Cup Final with a very young group. We have a lot of work ahead of us. We need to work with our players on individual improvements and reinforce our team as well. That said, the path still looks very good. We have a commitment to the club and our fans – we want nothing more than to give them titles.