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Timbers Talk About Eliminating Seattle, Facing Real Salt Lake Next

See what Caleb Porter and the Portland Timbers had to say about winning their first playoff series and moving on to face Real Salt Lake.

Steve Dykes
Caleb Porter

On what winning this match means:

It 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...they're happy, but I think they won't be truly happy unless we win it all. So we're not gonna get ahead of ourselves, not gonna think past this next round. Obviously we gotta get into the championship to have a chance to raise the trophy and we have a difficult team ahead of us in Salt Lake...But again, we're getting closer. And this team genuinely believes that we have a realistic shot at this. So, it means a lot, but we're not going to think about what it means until, hopefully, the end.

On the team conceding to goals at the end:

It's probably something you guys will talk about, but for me it's probably a good thing because it keeps us kind of grounded. You know, it's a reminder that if you let your guard down in this sport, you'll get punched in the nose...... we don't leave this game feeling invincible, bulletproof, at 3-0. We leave the game happy because we won, obviously, but we also leave the game...more grounded.

On the more aggressive approach to the second leg:

That was the plan all along. On the road we were okay with them having the ball and hitting them on counters. Tonight it was a different story. At home we're a team that, we want to run the opponent 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 gonna look at the tape and say we should have scored 5, 6 goals...In the end, we were the better team and we deserve to move on in the series. I thought it was some of the best stuff of the year for our team, on both sides of the ball. But again, I think there's still more in this team, so that's what's scary.

On what it means to beat a rival in the playoffs:

It means probably more to the supporters. That's three games in a row that we've beaten Seattle. That's very difficult to do. I was a bit worried about that. It's not easy to beat a team three times in a row, but we were able to do that and again I think it's a real credit to how hungry our team is right now. They are on a mission right now. The best thing I can do is just stay out of their way. I tried to do that tonight. I wanted to just release 'em, let 'em go.

I think when we can bring a little bit of extra meaning and joy by beating a team that our supporters hate, then I think it's extra special.

But in the end, they're the team we drew. They're in our way. Salt Lake's now in our way. And it doesn't matter who it is, we're not gonna want to lose to them.

On how the Timbers match up against Real Salt Lake:

The nice thing is, we played Seattle and they play a diamond, so we're really in a rhythm playing basically a similar system. So that's a real key in a quick turnaround. There's not a ton of tactical changes we have to make. A lot of the same things we will want to exploit against Salt Lake were things we wanted to exploit against Seattle and I think our guys will also have a lot of confidence knowing we just faced a really talented team in Seattle playing a diamond, and now we go face another really talented team playing a diamond.

On getting the most out of players:

Trust 'em. Let 'em go. Define their role, but let 'em express themselves. Let 'em be who they are...Organizing them enough where they know their role but also giving them a bit of freedom.

They were having fun and I've never seen a team or a player not play well when they're having fun.

Will Johnson

On putting pressure on Seattle from the start:

It was important just mentality-wise. It would be easy to get in a bunker mode early, but we didn't. It's one thing to say it and another to do it, so we're happy we were able to execute. I thought our play and the chances we created in the first half were excellent and we were rewarded with two good goals.

On whether there was any doubt they would still pull it out once Seattle got two goals:

No I don't think so. The two goals, it's something that grounds us a little bit. If we walk out of there winning that game 3-0 maybe it can get away from you a little bit. But now we're locked in, we're in the zone.

On Real Salt Lake ahead:

For me, the record in the playoffs is even. We've never played them in the playoffs so I think it's a totally different game. Whatever the regular season statistics are, they are what they are. But this is the playoffs now, so it's a brand new slate.

On knocking out Seattle:

The Seattle thing is more for the fans...we're so focused on advancing and getting in the next found. If we drew Seattle, so be it. If it was Colorado and we had to beat them, so be it.

It means a great deal to our fans, I'm sure...We're happy that they can trash talk their rival base, but for us it's just another team that was in our way.

Futty Danso

On the fans:

It means a lot. [The fans] have been giving us everything they've got. I feel like this year we've been paying them back. If you see the joy in their face after a game they just push you to want to go play another, you can't wait for the next game to come.

I feel like they deserve a lot and I feel like we've been giving them what they deserve.

On goals against Seattle:

When you score against a team, whenever you play them again you have in the back of your head "I want to score again." So whenever [there are] set pieces or whenever I'm going up, I kind of have it in the back of mind that I'm gonna score, this is gonna be it.

Darlington Nagbe

On whether he was surprised by the Timbers taking a 3-0 lead:

Yeah I was. They're a good team with a lot of great players. I feel like it shows how hard we've been working all season to come out and get a 3-0 lead. We've just gotta tighten it up towards the end.

On Real Salt Lake:

They're a great team. All their players are good players and like to keep the ball. It's a similar style to how we want to play. That's why I always feel like it's a tough match-up with them, but we're looking forward to it.

On the first half:

Probably best 45 all season. Some good soccer being played.

Lastly, this didn't seem worthy of a direct quote, but Ryan Johnson was very confident that no one would be leaving the team if they got called up during the international break.