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Quotes, Stats and Chalk Talk: Orange Pulp Edition

A look at who said what, the stats and the Opta Chalk Board for Portland's first win of the season. Bonus quote from referee Ricardo Salazar on the elbow to Diego Valeri.

Stacey Neve

What a difference a win makes! The Portland Timbers now sit 4 points from first place and are 5 points clear of the bottom of the table. Guess who is at the bottom? If you don't know take a look here and after you do smile but remember it is a long season.


Timbers head coach Caleb Porter

Thoughts on the win:

"It feels good winning our first of hopefully many, proud of the guys. They had a bit of adversity in the first half, but as the half went on we just got rolling. The guys that came into the game did a great job."

On unlocking the Dynamo defense in the second half

"We shifted Darlington Nagbe in his role, and we put Kalif [Alhassan] on and I thought those two guys played fantastic, and really everybody. I thought it was a comprehensive performance on both sides of the ball. It really looked like what we want our identity to be. Tonight I think you saw what could happen when we get up on teams. They had a hard time getting on the ball because we kept attacking and kept moving the ball. It's important to get results for the players to realize what they're capable of doing. This was a big step in the right direction, this was that breakthrough that I was looking for. It is one thing to know you're playing well and know you're a good team, but to get three points, that reinforces it."

On the performance of Ryan Johnson

"He was very good. This team is predicated on working hard; running, pressing. He's a workman-like player and he did that tonight. He worked them hard running, pressing, and making things happen - he played well."

On the play of the Timbers backline

"It was very good, and it wasn't just the backs that were tremendous. I thought Jack Jewsbury did an unbelievable job. He played like I'd hoped he would; smart positionally, balancing our team out. He's a mature player, and you could see that tonight. Mikael Silvestre was class tonight, he won a lot of air balls in that second half. Michael Harrington has been very consistent. Again, it wasn't just them, it was the entire team. The pressure that we put on when we got going was relentless."

Timbers forward Ryan Johnson

On his first goal in the second half

"It was a great ball from [Diego] Chara and I just made my near-post run, and I got enough on it, and on the slick surface it is tough to deal with. All you have to do is get something on it and going towards the goal it just went in."

On getting the first win of the season

"It feels great. We're not too high, because we know we're going to win a lot of games here. But at the same time, we work really hard and with the guys we have, who went through the first few games having to come back, to get the first goal was huge. We just need to keep doing what we have been doing. The stats don't lie, we have the shots and the possession, all those little things we are at the top of the league in. As long as we keep doing those things, we'll be fine."

Thoughts on the team responding after losing David Horst, Diego Valeri in the first half

"That shows that we're a deep team, even though we lost two very important players. We have guys that can step in and help us get the win."

Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe
On his role following the Valeri injury

"It changed a lot. I'm usually the one passing to him but after he went off everyone seemed to step their game up."

On the halftime adjustments

"Will [Johnson] came in and told us to stay focused and that if we get a shutout we are going to win. I think everyone stepped their game up, I stepped my game up. The first half was really choppy, but the second half there seemed to be more of a flow to the game and we were just more aggressive overall as a team."

On getting the first win of the season

"It's great. Everyone feels good, but at the same time, it's a long season and we want to keep it going, but we're happy to get the first win."

Houston Dynamo Quotes

Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear
Initial thoughts on the game:

"We wanted to come here and get a good result and obviously that didn't happen. I thought the first half we put ourselves in a good position, limited their chances, had some good moments ourselves, and in the second half, we were a little bit off that."

On the second half:

"They got a little lucky on the first goal. We had the ball, it kind of bounced off our guy and the guy plays in a great ball. And the second goal they just caught us on a good counter, we were us chasing the game a little bit, it happens."

Looking forward to their game against Chicago:

"We still have until Sunday; there are still a lot of days to practice. Hopefully we get ready for that game well, and forget this one as quick as we can."

Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall
Initial thoughts on the game:

"I think we came out well in the first half. Portland is a team that plays well, they move well, they pass well, they're quick, and in the first half I think we matched their intensity. I think we were passing well in the first half."

Loss of momentum in second half:

"I think they increased their intensity and we failed to match what they were bringing. They continued to pass well, they continued to move well. I think we can be much sharper and have a little bit more bite to the team. But I will give them credit I think they created a lot of their chances came from their efforts and their movement. They're a good team. They probably deserve to have more than one win now. I think we could have helped ourselves out and been a little bit better in the second half."

What they need to do against Chicago next week:

"Just having that attitude; it's borderline arrogance. You need to look at the guy across the field from you and say ‘I'm going to be better than you, I'm going to be tougher than you,' and it's just that mindset that we need to have. We lost it in the second half.

"Traditionally this team has always had that and we've for the most part done a pretty good job this season having it. We know we're a good team, we know we have something special. I think for the Dynamo we have that going, we believe in ourselves, and we have a long season to prove it."

Houston midfielder Adam Moffat
Initial thoughts on the game:

"The result is disappointing, but I thought we did well first half. Second half we took our foot off the gas a little bit. But we done well."

Second half mistakes:

"I just think winning some tackles and stuff like that in the middle of the field. It was a little bit sloppy. I could blame the conditions of the turf, but it's an adjustment and we aren't used to it. I think the ball just got away from us. They got stuck in and they were getting some good bounces. But that happens when you're piling on that pressure."

Returning home to play Chicago next week:

"Back at home, we have a good run going there so we want to continue that. We haven't been there in a while. Anytime you lose a game you kind of want to get there and make amends. So for us it's next Sunday, to get back to business and preparing for that and hopefully get another three points."

Referee Quotes (Question submitted by pool reporter Mike Donovan)

Referee Ricardo Salazar

What was the reason Jermaine Taylor was not carded for his challenge on Diego Valeri in the 25th minute?

The challenge wasn't worthy of a caution; it was careless, not reckless. Careless at tops, that's how I deemed it.


Portland Timbers Houston Dynamo
10 Attempts on Goal 8
6 Shots on Target 2
4 Shots off Target 5
0 Blocked Shots 1
2 Corner Kicks 4
10 Fouls 11
16 Open Play Crosses 12
2 Offsides 5
1 First Yellow Cards 1
0 Second Yellow Cards 0
0 Red Cards 0
55 Duels Won 59
48% Duels Won % 51%
560 Total Pass 345
83% Passing Accuracy % 73%
61.40% Possession 38.60%

Chalk Talk

So many great stats to choose from this week but I finally settled on comparing the two central midfielders from both teams. Once Portland controlled the middle of the field the game heavily tilted in Portland's favor and this is unusual because it is usually Houston who have a distinct advantage in the middle of the field.

Portland's Starting CMs:

Houston Dynamo Chalk Talk #2

Will Johnson (left) and Diego Chara (right) were everywhere against Houston. Combined they had 100 successful passes and only 12 unsuccessful passes, add to that the Chara only lost possession 4 times (By being tackled or an unsuccessful dribble) outside of those passes and Will never lost possession outside of his errant passes. All of that together says that Portland dominated the midfield and rarely lost possession.

Houston's Starting CMs

Houston Dynamo Chalk Talk

While Portland's CMs had a great game Houston's CMs struggled. As you can see from the heat map their most influential spots on the field are behind the center line and therefore in their own half. They also had 43 successful passes to 18 unsuccessful and for a team that was the leading possession team last year this kills your offense.

Just by comparing the stats and the heat maps you can see why Portland dominated the game, especially in the second half. When your CM's hottest area on the map is near the center circle or into the oppositions half it says a lot about who was in control of the game.