Real Salt Lake 1 - Portland Timbers 1 - Post Match Press Conference & Locker Room Comments

Watch Jason's Press Conference and read quotes from both locker rooms.

Real Salt Lake picked up a critical 2-1 victory over the Portland Timbers on Saturday, after the match RSL head coach Jason Kreis answered questions from the media:

I loved that Jason was a bit taken back when asked his thoughts on the team winning their 15th match for the 3rd straight year. I do think the expectations are very high and hopefully Jason, the staff and players will be able to enjoy a bit of what they have accomplished, while keeping focused on those bigger goals of the year.

After the jump, comments from both locker rooms:

As always the RSL communications team does a great job of collecting comments from both locker rooms after the match, so there is no way I that you don't deserve to see them all, so here you go:

Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis
On the team's performance without Saboro...
"I think it was important that we got a really important goal from Fabian Espίndola and Javier Morales...it would have been nice to cap it off with a goal from Paulo Jr. All in all, I think that we got some big time plays from a couple of big time players there in the attacking end of the field."

On getting the early goals...
"I think it was big. I knew it was going to be difficult for us after a long flight from Panama on Wednesday, and I think it was critical that we scored early and put ourselves in a position where we didn't kind of have to struggle for it in the end...oh wait, we did have to struggle for it in the end. On the other side of things, it was nice to not have to try to be putting in all kinds of attacking substitutions to try to find a goal, for once."

On Espndola ending his scoring drought...
"I thought he was really in and around their goal. On a different night he walks out of here with three goals. It's an easy, easy night for us; it's a step in the right direction, very much so, and I think that his confidence should improve from here on out."

Thoughts on difficulties at the end of the match...
"I think it's a little mix of everything. Two to zero lead I think is one of the most dangerous spots to be in as a soccer team, because you just have this tendency, no matter what you say or how you talk to the players or hear them talking to each other, there is just that tendency to just relax and feel like it's going to be an easy night. Portland wasn't prepared to relax, they weren't going to give up the game, and they were throwing lots of numbers in our attacking half of the field and serving balls into the box and that's where their goal came from, from the wide service into the box that we don't do well enough finding our marks in there. Portland, lets credit them, I think they made it difficult for us."

On the sold out crowd...
"It's important. I think that we are growing accustomed to have sellouts here. I think that is a very good place to be, and I'm hopeful that we never take that for granted because I really feel that it's important for us, as everybody knows we have a pretty good home record and I feel like the crowd plays a big part in that."

Thoughts on the offensive effort...
"I think that we just got more numbers involved tonight. I think there were more options for players when they were on the ball to find passes. I think that we created many very good chances though just passing and moving and being dynamic in the attacking third of the field, which is what I prefer. Of course I wish that we would have scored a few more and made it more comfortable for ourselves, but we did it again, we are moving in the right direction."

Thoughts on the importance of set pieces...
"Very important for sure...maybe it's something that we could try to focus a little more on. Both of those goals came from just special individual plays, it wasn't like a separate routine that we worked on in training. Espindola's strike was fantastic, Javier's I think one upped him a little bit. I think there is some room for improvement on corner kicks though, because there are some goals that need to be scored, and we are typically a team that scores a fair share of our goals off corner kicks, and we have not done that in a long time."

Thoughts on Espindola's goal being a play to help him out...
"I don't think so, I think it was just a discussion amongst the guys out there, and Fabian probably stepped up and said ‘Hey I'd really like to get a strike here,' and I think they just sorted out how to best make that happen. But I don't think it was anyone's attempt to bring Fabian out of things."

Thoughts on team qualifying for the playoffs for the fifth-straight year...
"I guess we should be proud of it. I wouldn't really say I knew that until you said it, but it's pretty cool, we booked our playoff trip tonight too, right? For five years in a row. We are obviously doing some things right, and we do need to occasionally stop and smell the roses I guess, and appreciate the hard work the guys are putting in, and it's a lesson for me maybe to not be so critical all the time."

On if he's comfortable with the team's position in standings...
"No, at the moment, before the kickoff we were in fourth. We have done a lot of talking already, and I'm sure we are going to continue to talk that that's not going to be good enough for us. It's going to make things really difficult for us, and we know that, so we are striving to at least get up to third or second."

Thoughts on goals from other players than Saborio...
"It's huge. Like we said at the beginning, we need more guys to chip in, we need to be more dynamic in the attack. I'll tell you what, I mean if we were scoring four or five goals, two, three or four goals a game and Sabo scores them all, I wouldn't care, because something is going right, right? If we are getting a lot of players involved in the attack and Saborio puts the last touch on, that would be fine by me. But we still haven't been getting the right numbers of players involved to be dynamic and to really cause our opponents difficulties in the defensive third of the field. It's not just the goals, but it is more players involved in the attack tonight, and I think you saw that, I think you saw Will Johnson have a half chance or a full chance, and Ned Grabavoy in the box with a full chance to score, and that's what we need."

Thoughts on Saborio's possibility to play tonight...
"I told you yesterday, it came down to very much the truth. We had a meeting with him in the office I looked at him and said "You want to play don't you?" "Oh ya, ya I want to play." "Do you want to start?" "Oh ya, ya I want to start.", I said then, "Tyson, if he falls down could he injure his shoulder more and be out the rest of the season?", "Oh ya, ya.", "Okay, then you're not playing." We weren't going to take that risk tonight, this isn't the end all be all game for us. If it had been maybe we would have, because he really wanted it, and I think that I have a tremendous amount of appreciation for somebody that really, really wants to get out there and help the team. But the right decision for the team was to not risk him."

Thoughts on Rimando's performace...
"I think he had three unbelievable saves tonight, and our last home match was the same deal, two or three unbelievable saves, and we are going to need that. I think it's terrific, my hat's off to Nick, and continue to do it. All of the guys I think need to look at that performance and also with what Javier and Fabian did tonight and say hey, we all need to step up now and make plays."

Real Salt Lake MF Javier Morales
Overall thoughts on game...
"I think we won a tough game. We were a little scared before the game, because Sabo wasn't with us. He scores almost every game for us."

On being aggressive...
"I always try to be aggressive. Sometimes you can do it and sometimes not. Today I think we made a pretty good first half, and the second half we got a little bit tired and we didn't do a good job."

On the design and set up of the first free kick...
"I talked with Fabi. He asked me that he wanted to do it. I felt it was too close to go over the wall, so I told him to stay there, and move the ball and go hard. He made a great shot. We decided that right before it happened with Kyle."

How Javi's goal was set up...
"It was a pretty tough angle, so maybe the goal keeper didn't know if I was going to shoot a goal or across to someone else. I had the confidence to try to make a goal, and I'm happy."

On the confidence going forward as a team...
"This is the most important part of the year for every team in the MLS. Playoff and tough games with the CONCACAF, we have to be ready. It's best to be able to make a good run in the last couple of months like tonight."

How often do you practice your free kicks?
"I try maybe once a week to practice, because I think my practice is getting better every day."

Real Salt Lake GK Nick Rimando
How much of an accomplishment was tonight's match...
"It's good to get the 3 points for sure, we wanted that. The first half I didn't even think twice that we were going to get it. The second half I think we kind of weren't as sharp and we let our foot off the pedal even though we didn't want to. We were hoping to come out with 3 points. We got lucky I think with them hitting the post that could have tied it. I think we're feeling a little bit tired. We need to get our legs back and be sharper in the second half. 3 points are 3 points and we're happy, but at the end of the day I think if we're going to go a long way in the playoffs we need to be sharper and can't be getting lucky at winning games at home."

On the feeling of getting multiple goals at home...
"I think we could have scored 5 or 6 goals tonight. We got to put our opportunities away. Especially at home, and against teams who are fighting for their jobs. It's only going to get harder and if we don't put our chances away, other teams will. I think 3 points is great, but we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and know that we did get lucky on getting 3 points tonight."

Does any of the second half play have to do with fatigue?
"I think a lot has to do with the fatigue that sets in from traveling and coming back and having multiple games, but the guys did dig deep today and created a lot of chances and we got the 3 points, so we're happy."

Real Salt Lake MF Will Johnson
Overall thoughts on the game...
"I think there are a lot of positives to take away from this game. It was a little disappointing to let them back into the game after we played some really good stuff with the ball. I thought we were excellent, but we just had a couple turnovers and they had a couple chances and they could have tied the game up in the end, so we just have to be a little more precise, but I thought it was one of our better performances of late, so that is a positive thing to build on."

On playing after coming back from Panama...
"They played on Wednesday night too, but they didn't quite have the travel, but at this point in the season we have some time in-between games to rest and get some things sorted out, so we will do that."

On getting numbers forward on the attack...
"In the first half we got a lot of numbers forward when we got that two goal lead. The emphasis was more on defense, staying compact and letting those guys do their thing and that worked out really well, because they pushed a lot of numbers high so we had an adequate amount of numbers back and the three or four guys at top created some really good chances, so different night that goes 3-0, 4-0 and that game is over, so we just have to be a little more precise and that's never even a game."

On getting an early goal...
"We tried to do that over the years and we haven't done it much lately, so there is a concerted effort in the first 15 to jump all over them and make them feel it really hard and get the crowd into it right away. We managed to do that with a couple of goals. Everything went perfectly until we gave away that goal, but credit to them. It was a fantastic ball in and even better header, so it wasn't the worse goal we have given this year, that's for sure."


Portland Timbers Head Coach Gavin Wilkinson
Overall thoughts on the match...
"I think in the first half, we gave them a little bit too much space, a little too much respect and they're a very good team in keeping the ball. We kept the ball, but it wasn't in dangerous areas, and Nick Rimando pulled off an absolutely fabulous save to be honest. We went into the half 2-0 down, but in the second half I think the boys responded very, very well. They were positive in the way that they played. We tried to have a little bit more purpose to our possession, and we were unlucky not to score a second."

On the team's performance...
"We kept challenging them. We challenged them at halftime. To come into Salt Lake and be at 2-0 at halftime and wonder how it's happened...two set pieces and when you've got quality people taking them it's very dangerous. The second one was fantastic. I thought Bright Dike came on and added a bit of life. I would like to do a little more in the final third. I think that comes with maturity. I think the possession stance of this team has changed dramatically from what they were. We look a lot more comfortable with the ball, but results are what it takes."

On changes that should have been made for the set pieces...
"The first one, we should have pressured. They changed the point of attack on us and we should have had a man charge it. We will address it as a coaching staff and take responsibility for it. The players have worked really hard and we'll continue to look for ways to move forward."

On Portland's struggle to get a win on the road this season ...
"Great question...I think with the New York game, the Toronto game, the San Jose game...there have been some good performances on the road. Tonight wasn't a bad performance from us. There have been teams that have come in here, and done less against Salt Lake, and picked up a better result. As a coaching staff we'll take responsibility and analyze it, look at what differences we could have made, and see a way to move forward. I think on the road, we just have to keep the ball, especially in places with high altitude. When you come into a place like Salt Lake, you can't just expect to defend for 90 minutes. I think we did a better job in moving the ball, keeping the ball, and at times we played better soccer, but they capitalized on their chances."

On moving on from the loss...
"We are maturing as a team. The last time we were here we lost 3-0 and I don't think we even had a shot. I think the performance tonight was a lot, lot better. We've played three decent opponents and have been lucky enough to come out with two wins. Rimando I thought showed his quality tonight. Now we're playing DC at home, in front of our fans and we still owe them an awful lot, two road games which are very important, and then San Jose again at home; and that'll be a very interesting game."

Portland Timbers MF Jack Jewsbury
On his overall thoughts on the game...

"Well we obviously we got punished off the two free kicks but we came out in the second half and I thought that we controlled the game. Obviously we got the goal, we put them on their heels a little bit and we were a little bit unlucky not to get the second one."

On the two remaining road games that are left for Portland...
"Yeah, not only are they road games but they are against Vancouver and Seattle so that adds more to it with it being the Cascadia Cup. They are big time rivals for us so there is definitely some extra importance. The reality of it is that we don't want to go down in the record books as the team that was the worst of the year. It's getting better but we need to be able to walk out of here with three points."

Portland Timbers FW Sal Zizzo
On the offensive turnaround they had from the first to the second half...
"When we were coming from a scrappy game in San Jose, it was a fast paced game compared to here where the pitch is pretty big and in the first half we were trying to force things a little bit. Second half we wanted to keep better possession and get it wide, if it wasn't on keep moving it and I thought we did a better job of that."

On the 2-0 deficit they faced going in to half time...
"I thought that was a little unfair to go in to half time down two goals. We had things figured out in the first ten minutes and we gave them two close free kicks right on the edge of the box and did well with them. Joe made some nice saves to keep us in the game and I thought that we just came up a little bit short."

On the fight they showed after going down 2-0...
"We have a different mentality. This may get old saying that we are close week in and week out but I really do feel that we are close. There is going to come a point when we are going to tie this game and win in San Jose. We just need to stay focused."

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