Portalnd Timbers 3-2 Seattle Sounders:
Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
On what the win means:
“I think it means that we’re three games away and we have two teams in our way. I think if you went in the locker room you’ll see a team that’s happy, but they won’t be truly happy unless we win it all. We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves. We’re not going to think past this next round. Obviously, we have to get to the championship in order to raise a trophy, and we’ve got a difficult team ahead of us in Salt Lake. We’ll keep taking it one at a time, but we’re getting closer. This team genuinely believes that we have a realistic shot at this. It means a lot, but we’re not going to think about what it means until, hopefully, the end.”
On conceding two late goals:
“It’s probably a good thing because it keeps us grounded. It’s a reminder that if you let your guard down in this sport you’ll get punched in the nose. We were clearly in control of that game and it was going away, it could’ve been four [goals], it could’ve been five. Soccer games, I’ve seen it, they turn in a moment. Long throw-in out of nothing ends up turning the game 3-1 and then now you start over-thinking things and getting tentative, and we gave up the next goal. To our credit, we didn’t give a goal up from that point forward; some teams would’ve crumbled and unraveled. For me, it was probably a good thing because it’s a wakeup call and it keeps us grounded. We don’t leave this game feeling invincible, bulletproof at 3-0, we leave the game happy because we won, but we also leave the game more grounded. It’s a reminder that we have to stay focused.”
On the aggressive start:
“That was the plan all along. On the road, we were OK with them having the ball and hitting them on counters. Tonight, it was a different story. At home, we want to run the opponent over. I thought we did that for good periods of tonight. Our pressure was as good as I’ve seen out of this group all season. When we had it going I thought we were very relentless, really gave them a lot of trouble and turned them over. I thought our combination play at times, our ability to control the game with possession at times, our ruthlessness getting to goal was very good. We should’ve had more goals. The coach in me is going to look at the tape and say we should’ve scored five, six goals, but they also had a few [chances] as well. In the end we were the better team and deserved to move on in the series, but I thought it was some of the best stuff of the year from our team on both sides of the ball. I think there’s still more in this team, so that’s what’s scary.”
On preparing for a quick turnaround:
“You’ve got to be ahead of it. We were prepared. We weren’t looking past this game. I just told the guys the plan. We’ll get them turned around quickly tomorrow, we’ll train on Saturday and get on a charter Saturday after training, and we’ll get to Salt Lake then it’s just the normal rhythm. With the two-game series, we exerted some energy, but we were also able to conserve quite a bit in the tank. Salt Lake is in the same situation as us. Would you like to have a week off? Yeah. These are important games at the end of the year; of course we’d like to have a week off. It’s kind of a strange schedule, but it is what it is. Salt Lake is in the same situation as us.”
On if there’s extra meaning beating a rival:
“I think so. It means probably more to the supporters. That’s three games in a row that we’ve beaten Seattle, that’s difficult to do. I was a bit worried about that. It’s not easy to beat a team three times in a row. We were able to do that, and I think it’s a real credit to how hungry our team is right now. They are on a mission. The best thing I can do is stay out of the way, and I tried to do that tonight. I wanted to just release them and let them go. Getting to 3-0, there was some quality stuff that we put together as a team.”
On the rivalry against Seattle:
“I’m so locked in right now. Obviously, the rivalry is big and it means a lot to our supporters. I understand that there is a rivalry. I understand that our fans want to beat Seattle. I’ll always want to beat everybody. But I think when we can bring a little extra meaning and joy by beating a team that our supporters dislike so much, I think it’s extra special. In the end, they’re the team we drew, they were in our way. Salt Lake is now in our way. It doesn’t matter who it is, we’re not going to want to lose to them and we’re going to do everything we can to move on.”
Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid
On the team’s performance tonight:
“I thought tonight we got outplayed in the first half. We didn’t play well in the first half. I thought they closed us down, put pressure on us, we didn’t play forward. I thought we lost the game in the midfield. In the second half, when we switched into a 3-5-2, I thought it was better. You know, we started to get some things, but we can’t give up that goal right in the beginning of the half and we got two back. But overall, I think they were a better team than us tonight.”
On the effect of Portland’s penalty kick goal:
“It was a deflating goal because we were dodging a few bullets. It wasn’t that we were playing well at that point. They were putting pressure on us, but it was a hand ball that was on the edge of the 18, it wasn’t going anywhere. It looked like the referee wasn’t going to call it, then the linesman decided to call it for him. I thought it was a hard call, not was it a handball or not, it was a handball, but it seemed like a harsh call.”
On a disappointing end to the season:
“It’s disappointing, but when you’re adding people during the season it’s sometimes tough. Being able to play as a team is something that we have to become better at. In terms of that unselfish running for people at times is something we have to become better at as well, and that’s something that we’ll improve upon and be better at next season because that was one of the keys for us and with the changes in the lineup game in and game out. We were never able to build upon that and never be able to get the roles down. The roles for people were changing and the roles for people today in the game changed; all that makes it tough.”
Sounders FC midfielder Brad Evans
On keys to the match and result:
“Key moments against good teams in the first half, and keeping the ball in good positions and one, two missed passes against a good counter-attacking team and they’re gonna put it down your throat. What I saw in the game was a couple missed passes and then they’re turned and then we’re turned and then we’re kind of chasing at that point. Against a good team, they’re gonna to make you pay and they did twice. And then the tactics kind of get thrown out the window and we’re chasing at that point.”
On the point in the game where it started to get away:
‘Like I said, a couple key moments in the first half, and they punish us. Against a good team at home, it’s going to be difficult to claw back. In saying that, we pulled two goals back in the second half and maybe if we don’t concede that third one, I think that we probably get a third one and we make it really interesting. But, one goal shy again and that seems to be the lifeline over the past couple years, just one goal.”
Despite second-half goals from DeAndre Yedlin and Eddie Johnson, Sounders FC fell, 3-2, to the Portland Timbers Thursday night in the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinals at JELD-WEN Field. Portland jumped out to a 3-0 lead as they advance on aggregate, 5-3, to the Western Conference Championship.
Portland got on the board first when a penalty kick was issued in the 27th minute after a Seattle hand ball in the box. Will Johnson subsequently converted past Michael Gspurning to put Portland up 1-0.
In the 44th minute Diego Valeri received a ball in traffic on the right side of the box, beat a defender and converted a sliding shot from a tight angle inside the far post to make it 2-0.
Mamadou Dansou put the Timbers up four goals on aggregate in the 47th minute. After a quick restart, Rodney Wallace sent a cross from the left side that found the streaking center back for a powerful header into the back of the net.
Sounders FC then rallied back with back-to-back goals moments apart. In the 74th minute, Brad Evans’ long throw-in was deflected twice in the box and fell to Yedlin at the far post for a blast into the net.
A minute later, Yedlin crossed into the box and found Johnson, who rose above the Timbers defense for a header into the back of the net.
Clint Dempsey nearly pulled another one back in the 89th minute with a strong shot in the box that sailed wide.
Michael Gspurning came up with a couple of crucial saves early on, stopping a Rodney Wallace shot in the 10th minute and then a Darlington Nagbe attempt two minutes later.
POR – Will Johnson (penalty) 29′
POR – Diego Valeri (Rodney Wallace) 44′
POR – Mamadou Dansou (Rodney Wallace, Will Johnson) 47′
SEA – DeAndre Yedlin 74′
SEA – Eddie Johnson (DeAndre Yedlin) 76′