Because of a litany of things — from playing three games to incessant travelling to being forced to practice inside — it has been a long week for the Portland Timbers. But on Saturday, they ended their week in the best way possible, earning three points with a 6-1 domination of the San Jose Earthquakes.
Now the Timbers have to find a way to take that momentum and carry it into their game with the Seattle Sounders, a team who beat the Earthquakes 7-1 just over a week ago. But for now, here’s some of the best stats and quotes from last night.
6 — For the first time in the club’s MLS history, the Timbers scored six goals last night. It was also the most in a road match since the club’s founding in 1975. Also, six was the number of shots the team in had in their last outing.
8 — Jeremy Ebobisse’s header in the first half was his eighth since the 2019 MLS regular season. That’s the most in that span by any player.
11 — The number of multigoal matches from Diego Valeri, who now has the second most in Timbers history.
20 — The number of penalty goals Diego Valeri has in his MLS career after last night’s first half strike. That’s tied for the fifth most in league history with Jeff Cunningham.
Head coach Giovanni Savarese’s general thoughts on the game ...
“I thought it was a tremendous performance. Besides the goals, the way the team worked hard to make sure that they cover every space, that they follow everything that we asked them to do. Being able to practice on a regular field before we traveled yesterday was very important for us, and today was a great performance. So very proud of the guys, and San Jose is always a difficult team. You have to work very hard, you have to create your spaces, but today we were able to have the fluidity that we didn’t have on the previous match, and we were able to find good moments to then find the goals that give us the tranquility to get the three points.”
Savarese on tonight’s game plan ...
“This is their style of play. It’s very genuine. It’s very their own. It is something that you have to make sure that you do certain things the right way if you want to find space, otherwise it becomes difficult because they won’t allow that. They pressure you everywhere. So it’s tough. What we were able to do well today that we didn’t do as well the other day. Nevertheless, we still created good chances the other day to win the game. Today we have patience to build up, move players a little bit higher, make sure that we find more space in the buildup, find the right movement to be able to get one of our players free in order to find space. Then the movements that we had on top were excellent. The different things that we asked the players to do, they did and we found good moments to be able to generate opportunities, and today we’re a little bit sharper to be able to put the ball in the back of the net, and it was a very strong win. But you can never stop when you play San Jose. You will have to from beginning to end give all that you have, and then you have to execute the plan as the guys did today.”
Savarese on returning home with a win ...
“I’m just very proud of the players because as I said, they play with heart to play well, and the other day as well, I said it too, we fought hard, we tried to get a win. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out in the best possible way for us to leave here with three points, but we knew that if we improved in some areas and we put the same work ethic, we could find a little bit more, and today we did. Every time that you find three points, anywhere, home or away, it is the tranquility of the match that is the most important, and in the fact that you still continue to go to a path that the players get confidence, and you can continue to build. It’s always better to build up from this type of performance, and today was very important for us to get three points here.”
Midfielder Diego Valeri on the difference between Saturday’s performance and Wednesday’s.. .
“Today I think we … after last game we could scout better the game to see what we could improve facing this game. We tried to use the width better with our wingers, trying to occupy the spaces inside like a surprise, and then obviously we were more aggressive in the attack. We created more chances and then even in the first half we could score more goals and at the end, we were very efficient in the moments where we needed, solid in the set pieces and then conceded only one goal so that was the big, big difference at the end. But what’d I say, I think we performed really well, that’s why we win like this.”
Valeri on the team’s aggression on offense from the beginning of the match ...
“I think last game we couldn’t create as much, and I think it was something that we needed to improve facing this game and we did it really well. As I said, you’ve seen the width, moving to the spaces, everybody involved in the possession and even in the first half where we just scored two goals because the goals came from set-pieces sometimes, but the good thing is we created a lot and we were very efficient in the second half. You never know when the goals are going to come and how, but as you say, we improved from last game creating more chances, being more unpredictable to attack and at the end, we performed well and we scored our goals and win the game.”
Defender Julio Cascante on scoring his first MLS goal ...
“Well, I’m so happy — my first goal in this team since I came. I think it’s very important. That gives me definitely a lot of confidence. And then of course, what the group did tonight was amazing. It was a very good soccer game. We did all to deserve this win and that’s what I think is the most important tonight. And of course the celebration for me, my baby’s coming soon so me and my wife, we are so excited and happy and well, I cannot explain to you how I feel right now.”