MLS Cup semifinals: Columbus Crew 2-0 New York Red Bulls; Portland Timbers 3-1 FC Dallas

Best quotes from the semifinals:

Coach Crew Berhalter: “We’re halfway into the series, and we think we’re in a good spot,” Berhalter said. “But there’s a lot of work to do, and the message to the group is: this isn’t over by a long shot, and it’s going to take an even better effort next week to reach the final.  Our goal was setting ourselves up for the second leg, and I think we’ve done that very well tonight.

We’re confident that on the road we can possibly get a goal. Any time you leave [the opponent] with no road goals is huge, moving forward. Saying that, we still have 90 minutes and maybe more to play, and I think we’ll be ready for that.”

Coach Red Bulls Marsch: “Credit to Columbus from the first second to be on top of the game like that and gain a little bit of a lead. Credit to them for protecting their home field and getting a 2-0 lead. We’re at half time (of the series) and we know there’s still a lot to play for. We get to go back to Red Bull Arena where we have fared well all season. I have a lot of confidence in this group even though we are in a bit of a hole right now. My confidence in us to overcome that is quite high still”.

Coach Timbers Porter:
On the importance of the third goal late…
“It was big. It’s an extra goal, obviously. A win, any way you would have hashed it out, would have been good, but to win by a two-goal margin puts us in a good spot. We know how explosive and dangerous Dallas is and what they are capable of, so we will stay very humble and grounded and we will get back to work and prepare for this next game. I think ultimately that’s what’s going to carry us hopefully to the Cup, that maturity and experience.”

Coach Dallas Pareja: “Fortunately, we scored a goal which leaves the series open. We’ll take the game to Frisco where we’ve done it before. I believe in this group. I know this group can do it. We have the talent, energy and character to do it. Sometimes we put ourselves in spots that aren’t necessary, but that’s the game and once again this is the team that I trust. We’re a team that can bounce back, we’ve shown that before, and I think we can get the result we need at home. We’ll do it in Frisco.”

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