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Marla Ridenour on Sports

Quotes and notes from Caleb Porter's MLS debut

By Marla Ridenour Published: March 4, 2013

Former University of Akron soccer coach Caleb Porter made his debut in Major League Soccer Sunday night in a home match against the New York Red Bulls. Dominating the second half, the Timbers fought back from a 3-1 deficit for a 3-3 draw.. Former  UA star Darlington Nagbe scored the Timbers' second goal.

Here's what was said afterward (transcript from the Timbers web site):


Thoughts on the match:
“We’re still going through a little bit of growing pains, evolving into the team we want to be, but that second half, we were tremendous and for us to come back from two goals down and get a point, you know again, disappointing we couldn’t get the win because we had chances to do it, but we’ll take it and we’ll get back to work tomorrow. We’ll get ready for Montreal, looking forward to that game, and I know this group has three points in mind going into that game.”
“Two of the goals we basically gave them, there wasn’t anything they did to earn them; we gave them to them. We basically handed them two goals on a platter and that’s basically what cost us three points”
On the Timbers’ second-half comeback:
“A huge part of our comeback had to do with attacking the north end with the Timbers Army sparking us on. They were behind us 100 percent, and they were like a vacuum sucking the ball into the back of the net in the second half.”
On what he told the Timbers at half time:
“First thing I told them is that they can’t do anything about the mistakes. They’ve got to put that behind them. When I first walked in they were a bit down, no one expected the game to be where it was, 3-1 at halftime, but we needed to put it behind us. We needed to focus on what we were going to do to pull the goals back and to get a result. Mentally they did that. We certainly made a few changes and I thought the guys that went into the game gave us a lift.”
On the performance of Diego Valeri in his first MLS match:
“He was tremendous. He is worth every penny. He’s gifted. He’s capable of pulling a rabbit out of the hat at any given moment. He’s very clever in tight spaces and he can unlock teams. He’s going to be a handful this year as well.”


On what head coach Caleb Porter said to the team at half time:
“Caleb came in here and said if there was a betting booth going around that he’d put a lot of money on us to at least get a point out of this game, if not win it. We knew if we could get one, that they’d be thinking that we could come get two.”
On the first-half mistakes that lead to two NY goals:
“You know we all make mistakes and they unfortunately cost us a goal right off the bat, so that rattles you. It is unfortunate, the timing wasn’t great, but the way that we pulled back together says a lot about this group.”
On the team’s play in the second-half:
“We pressed them. We locked them in their half and got a lot of chances and created some good goals. We’ve done that a lot throughout the preseason, but we haven’t put together a full 90 minutes yet, that’s the disappointing side of things. The things that we have been able to do though for stretches of games has been nice.”


On the difference of the team’s play in each half:
“More guys were fighting. Will Johnson’s been saying ‘we’ve got to fight, we’ve got to fight, and if we fight we’re going to win games,’ so that second half we fought, and we were just hungry, that was probably the big difference.”
On the team’s chances of coming back, being down 3-1 at halftime:
“A couple of years ago, I don’t know if that would have happened. This team, this whole group, as soon as we went down there wasn’t any panic. And as soon as went down the guys we’re hungry, we wanted to get the goals back, and we wanted to get the win.”
On his first goal of the season:
“I think it was Valeri who got the shot off, and I just took a chance and ran in there to follow it up. The goalie muffed it up and, I almost missed it but luckily it went in.”


Initial thoughts on the game:
“Very excited, very happy with the way we started the first half. We let an opportunity slip away from us. If you would have asked us a week ago, 10 days ago, if we would like to take a point on the road of the opening game in an environment like this and a good team like this maybe you say yes, maybe you make a deal with the devil and you say yes, but at the end of the day you’re on the road. But possibly we let two (points) slip away.”
On Portland’s environment and crowd:
“It’s phenomenal. It’s the one thing I said to the guys before the game. I said that I’m very envious right now, because they get to go out and play in an environment like this doing something that they love and they showed it in the first half and in the second half their fight, their battle. Portland’s a good team, and they threw everything at us. We defended like hell. At the end of the day, we’ll take a point.”
On the second half:
“I just think that we possibly came out with the mindset that we should save the lead instead of keep doing what we were doing in the first half. That falls on the coaching staff first and foremost. Maybe we should have made it clearer … At the end of the day they battled, and there are guys in that locker room that are crushed right now. To see that type of attitude and that sort of letdown after scoring three goals on the road and getting a point on the road, which in MLS is very difficult to do, it’s great to see them pissed off.”
On Fabián Espíndola’s performance:
“He brings so much to the table and the reason why he came off is because he runs and works so hard that he was just dead. That was a reward for him, after all the work he’s done. Come off and have a rest my man, great work.”


On the change of tempo in the second half:
“You can attribute some of that to the Timbers Army, but we played a little deep. With a two goal advantage, we wanted to be able to take the game to the end, but unfortunately they dictated most of the second half, and that’s going to make our life a little more difficult.”


On the game:
“We were trying to put pressure on them, and then a couple of mistakes and just score after that. We tried to defend well, but they have a good team.”
On getting a point on the road:
“I don’t think anybody is happy right now, because we had it, and they scored in the 83rd (minute). We could have lost too, like I said, they are good.”

• Portland’s sellout crowd of 20,674 on Sunday is the club’s largest single attendance as an MLS side at JELD-WEN Field.
• Sunday’s match between the Timbers and Red Bulls marked the MLS head coaching debuts for both Portland’s Caleb Porter and New York’s Mike Petke.
• The Timbers opened the MLS season at JELD-WEN Field for a second consecutive season. Since joining MLS in 2011, Portland is unbeaten in its home openers, posting a 2-0-1 record and out-scoring opponents 10-6 in those matches.
• With the draw Sunday, the Timbers are unbeaten in their last seven home matches dating back to Aug. 5, 2012. The club finished the 2012 campaign on a six-match home unbeaten streak (2-0-4).
• The Timbers are 0-2-2 all-time in MLS against the Red Bulls. Sunday’s match marked New York’s first visit to JELD-WEN Field since June 19, 2011, a match ending in a 3-3 draw. The two clubs have combined for 19 total goals in the four games of their all-time MLS series.
• Midfielder Kalif Alhassan became the only Timbers player to start in each of the club’s season home openers since the Timbers joined MLS in 2011. With a first-half assist on Diego Valeri’s goal, Alhassan is the only Portland player to record at least a point in each home opener.
• Coming on as a sub in the second half, defender/midfielder Rodney Wallace became the second Timbers MLS player to appear in each of the club’s three MLS home-opening matches.
• Against New York, the Timbers maintained 65 percent of the possession and out-shot the Red Bulls 21-10. Portland attempted 549 passes over 90 minutes, completing 84.2 percent of them.
• The club’s 21 shots against New York is tied for the most shots attempted in a league match at JELD-WEN Field. The mark was first set Aug. 5, 2012, against FC Dallas.
• Portland’s 10 shots on goal is one shy of the club’s MLS mark for shots on goal in a single match, set July 30, 2011, against Toronto FC.
• Scoring in the first half, Valeri became the fourth Timbers MLS player to score in their club debut, joining Kenny Cooper (March 19, 2011), Kris Boyd and Andrew Jean-Baptiste (March 12, 2012).
• In his first MLS match, Valeri also tied the Timbers’ MLS mark for shots on goal in a single match with three.
• Valeri and midfielder/forward Darlington Nagbe become the Timbers’ sixth and seventh different players to score in an MLS home opener.
• Sunday’s match featured the MLS debuts of Valeri, defenders Ryan Miller and Mikael Silvestre and forward Jose Valencia. Additionally defender Michael Harrington, midfielder Will Johnson and forward Ryan Johnson made their Timbers MLS debuts.
• Acquired during the offseason, Harrington made his 150th MLS regular-season appearance on Sunday. He played the first six seasons of his MLS career with Sporting Kansas City.
• Sunday’s match was the first of 11 nationally televised matches for the Timbers in 2013. The Timbers are 4-2-2 all-time as an MLS club in games broadcast on ESPN or ESPN2, including a 4-1-1 mark at JELD-WEN Field.
• Red Bulls forward Fabián Espíndola became the fifth opposing player to record multiple goals in a half against the Timbers since 2011.
• The three first-half goals scored by the Red Bulls is tied for the second-most goals allowed by Portland in a half as an MLS club. The Timbers had allowed three or more goals in a half at JELD-WEN Field just twice before Sunday.
• Formally unveiled Thursday, the Timbers debuted their new primary green kits on Sunday against New York.
• The Red Bulls game-day roster featured former Timbers defender Kosuke Kimura, who started at right back, and midfielder Eric Alexander. Both Alexander and Kimura were members of the Timbers in 2012.



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