Postgame Quotes: LA Galaxy defeat Portland Timbers 3-1

Postgame quote sheet from the LA Galaxy's 3-1 win over the Portland Timbers

Postgame Quote Sheet
LA Galaxy 3, Portland Timbers 1
Saturday, August 2, 2014
MLS Regular Season
StubHub Center – Carson, Calif.

LA GALAXY HEAD COACH BRUCE ARENA 

On the team’s performance:

“It wasn’t similar to the other day. We fell behind a goal. It’s good for our team to be in a hard game against a good team. We prevailed, obviously. The goal at the end of the first half was big. Second half, they came at us with a little bit more energy and created a couple of chances. Obviously, the Keane goal was the difference. But I thought overall it was a good 90 minutes for our team. We were sloppy at times in the first half. We could have been a little bit cleaner. Technically, in and around the goal area, we could have created another goal or two, but overall it was a good performance. We are on a good run, and hopefully we keep getting better.”

On Gyasi Zardes:

“He’s doing well. Big goal obviously. A lot of little things, he’s getting better. He’s running off the ball better. He’s holding the ball better. He’s passing better. Everything’s improved and I think playing next to Robbie [Keane] is important. Robbie’s doing a good job helping him move along .Landon [Donovan] had another good effort tonight. Backline performed well.”

On Robbie Rogers playing left back:

“I think that coming from a deeper position is good for him. But the thing about Robbie in that position is he’s an excellent defender, which is the number one box you need to check when you are going to play as a defender. He does that exceptionally well. The other stuff like going forward is icing on the cake.”

On coming back from behind to win:

“I think anytime you win a game when you are trailing is important. It shows character. The goal came against run of play. [Stefan] Ishizaki got his head onto the ball and deflected it. Then end up getting a goal. Probably their only shot of the first half. It was a little bit against run of play.”

On the team’s performance so far this season:

“We are, what, second place now in the Western Conference, against teams that have a couple games in hand on us. We have the best defensive record in the league. We are probably in the top three or four in attacking categories. We are getting healthier. I give the team a B plus. The coach a C minus, goes with my grade point average in college. Robbie [Keane] takes our penalties. And, that’s the first one we’ve made this year. We were the only team in the league which hadn’t converted a penalty this year. It’s nice to get that monkey off our backs.” 

LA GALAXY FORWARD ROBBIE KEANE

On finding width against Portland’s defense:

“I knew there was going to be width because they play a bit narrow, so it’s certainly obvious with the fullbacks we have. Landon can do both, he could play wide and come in and so can [Stefan] Ishizaki. So that gives the fullbacks a chance to overlap. In the first half certainly, but in the second half with Robbie [Rogers] at times, it was fantastic. The last 20 minutes, he was playing like a left winger, so it just goes to show how much energy he has and how much space was out there.”

On the result:

“I think if you look at it from start to finish, we dominated the game, there’s no question. I think they only had one shot on target. Apart from that, we dominated from start to finish. I think it was only right that we got that goal in the first half and from then, we came in at halftime and we knew that if we continued to play the same way we would get opportunities, and we did.”

On Robbie Roger’s success attacking as a left back instead of midfielder:

“Sometimes in life, people find a position. I think certainly, this is Robbie [Rogers’] best position. The good thing about where he plays is that he has so much energy and so much quality that he can almost do both. Because he has so much energy, he can get back and defend and he’s very hard to beat. When he gets into the attacking half, he can cross a ball, which we’ve seen in Gyasi [Zardes’] goal, so I think he’s found a spot there.”

On the game being first time they have come from behind to win this year:

“It just shows the character we have and the belief we have at this moment of time. The players at this moment are certainly looking strong, very dominating in the way we’re playing, so it’s important we continue this through the end of the season.”

On where the team is this year compared to last season:

“I think we’re in better shape certainly in the past four games, because before we were just scraping results and sometimes you have to do that. It’s not bad, we’ve certainly in the last four or five games, we’ve been probably the best we’ve been.”

LA GALAXY FORWARD GYASI ZARDES

On scoring streak:

“I feel like my confidence level is rising but that is due to my teammates. They are constantly talking to me and helping me play better. They are constantly in my ear, so that is great for forward of the team, just always speaking to you.”

On capitalizing on opportunities on goal:

“I’m definitely starting to see the goals come. I’m starting to put my shots on frame, which was a key goal this year. Like I said, just constantly working. Just progress.”

On opponent’s lack of defense:

“I don’t really pay attention to it. I notice some team drop back and some team press. It’s different on who we play. It doesn’t matter, because my team behind me is the one that is breaking down the defense.”

On his goal today:

“Couple of plays ahead of that, I had a header and I hit off the post, so I realized that the defender was a little bit shorter, and he usually jumps early. So, I just try to beat him on the jump.”

On performing beyond expectation

“I just take it in by day. Now this game is over, I don’t look back. I don’t fantasize over all the goals I scored. I start looking at now. When I’m in the game, in that moment, in my head, I’m thinking ‘zero goals, nothing. ‘Prove myself.’”

On polishing his skill:

“I’m constantly working with Robbie [Keane]. He is helping me each game, each practice. Landon  [Donovan] also. Just figuring out the little stuff and just progress. We are really working on repetition. Getting the plays right in the final third. Sometimes we will back in the pass and we will do good and sometimes we will take plays off, but now everything is just on the money. Our chemistry is just building in my eyes. That’s my opinion. It feels phenomenal playing alongside these guys.”

On looking confident as a striker:

“I’m looking confident because I’m working on it day-in and day-out at practice, and just applying it to the game. It’s just like training session put in the game scenario. Making the same runs I do at training in the game.”

On playing wide against Portland:

“We figured out where the space was, and we exploited their defense and their midfield. They were more compact in size so we stretched them out.”

On the keys to improving his finishing:

“Practice. You just work at it in the training and try to apply it in the game. Constantly working on trying to keep the ball on the frame when I take the shot. I feel like the game is slowing down for me. I’m constantly checking my shoulder, looking behind me. When you check your shoulder, it gives you more time on the ball.”

On the team’s determination to win:

“It’s different now. We know what happened last year, and we are going to be better. Look at the result.”

LA GALAXY MIDFIELDER LANDON DONOVAN

On the team’s performance:

“We played well. Almost the entire day, we gave away one bad pass that led to a questionable foul. Give Diego Valeri credit, he scored a great goal. But, other than that, we were excellent. Fully deserving of the win, another good performance and we are moving forward.”

On the win:

“It gives us confidence. It gives us six points most importantly. We know August is going to be very hectic, and we have another game next week against San Jose, and then we go on the road for a little bit, so we need to make sure that we keep getting points. It feels good to play well, but the most important thing is we are getting results, we are scoring goals when we get the chances, and we are limiting the chances the other way.”

On the key to winning the game:

“We played them three times already so we know them well. They have a lot of attacking players, but their attacking players don’t defend. That’s why we’ve been so successful lately. Everybody is defending and we knew that if we got the ball wide, their wide guys were going to track back much, and we were going to get a lot of space. We got a lot of room wide, created a lot of chances from wide positions, scoring a couple great goals.”

On conceding a goal early in the game:

“It’s too bad we weren’t getting a shutout today. We deserved it in the way we played. It’s a little frustrating to give up that goal, but all in all, a very good performance. We can be very proud of it. I think defensively we’ve been excellent. It’s not just the defending, one-on-one and winning challenges. It’s us possessing the ball; it’s us putting team under pressure. We just didn’t give them room to do anything. When you smother a team like that, it’s very difficult for them to attack.”

His midseason evaluation of the team’s performance:

“I think we can be a better team than we were last year. I think we are much more experienced in a lot of different positions. We struggled on getting results early on, but the results are coming, and if we keep doing this, we are going to move up the table. Who knows how far we can go. We are just going to go week by week and putting points on the board. We will never know where we will end up.”

On defenders leaving Gyasi Zardes unmarked:

“Apparently they don’t [mark]. He is getting in great spots. He is doing all the little things right. He is working hard, he is holding the ball for us, he is winning headers, he is chasing guys, and he is getting in front of the goal. When the ball gets there, he is scoring chances. I wouldn’t envy any defense playing against the way we are playing right now. It has come upon us to keep doing it and keep making it hard for the defenses.”

On Gyasi Zardes’ scoring streak:

“He has worked at it. Success is not an accident. He came in last year and he was still raw. There were number of chances that he didn’t score. Every day after the training, he is working with the coaches, just finishing. Simple finishing; getting in front of the goal and hitting the target.  So, even this year, when he doesn’t score, he is hitting the target consistently and giving himself a chance to score. It was good to see that work pay off.  Now when the chances fall to him, he is more comfortable, he is more confident, he is hitting the goals and the ball is going in.”

On the game being first time they have come from behind to win this year:

“I thought we started the game fine. We weren’t super dangerous, but we were comfortable, getting in good spots, we were creating good possession, and it’s unfortunate that the goal came in in that way. But the reaction was what mattered.”

LA GALAXY DEFENDER ROBBIE ROGERS

On the comeback:

“Yeah I thought Bruce [Arena] put it pretty well, and said we shouldn’t have put ourselves in that position, I think there was that spell of 10-15 minutes where Portland kind of just got after us and finished those two chances, and I thought we dictated a lot of the game and for those brief moments I thought we weren’t as good as we should have been.”

On the missed opportunities on goal:

“Yeah it’s soccer. I thought there were a few chances that were a little unlucky, didn’t finish, and then they did a lot of counter attack, they have a number of guys that are quick and get forward and I thought they did well, [Diego] Valeri, [Gaston] Fernandez in the middle; so credit to them.”

On playing at left back:

“Yeah I feel comfortable, thought today could have been a little better at times but I felt pretty comfortable.”

On muggy weather and field being choppy:

“It was a little choppy, I don’t know why but I don’t think that disrupted the game too much.”

On game’s pace picking up after Galaxy goals:

“Yeah I don’t know; I don’t have an answer for that. I’m not sure why it was that way, but it did feel that way, it felt like the team was not overly careful but it seemed like we were conservative at times to go forward.”

On his shot in the waning moments of the game:

“Yeah it was alright, [Donovan] Ricketts just got a little touch to it but I was trying to put it farther to his left.”

On him and Dan Gargan adding to the attack:

“I think the past two games we’ve done a good job at getting forward and adding to the attack, but I think we need to get a little better at it, and make better runs in the box, but defensively we’ve both been alright and I think the team feels pretty confident with us out there.”

On tonight’s game being a work in progress:

“It was those 10-15 minutes that got us that we kind of lost our concentration, I don’t know if you want to say poor clearances or tracking guys at the top of the box stuff like that, just staying focused in those key moments, and in soccer and any sport you have to focus for the whole game. I thought in San Jose on the road we did a great job of at times not making it pretty but that’s what you need to do on the road, and make things difficult, and at times today I thought we didn’t make it difficult enough for them.”

PORTLAND TIMBERS HEAD COACH CALEB PORTER

On today’s game:

“Until they scored the goal I thought we were as good they were.  It was a back and forth game. We had two or three chances that didn’t fall for us. One play were Kalif [Alhassan] got taken down that didn’t fall for us. We had another chance he had that didn’t fall for us. I honestly thought that in the start of the second half that is the way we needed to be the entire game.  For me that was the positive start of the second half but it is a little bit too little too late and ultimately I thought the first half was what cost us even though we gave up a couple of goals in the second half. After we got the goal we stopped playing we played very reactionary it was as if we tried to ride out the 1-0 result and that is just not us.  LA was the better team in that period and I thought they were the better team at the end. They deserve the win. We seemed for whatever reason a step late, a step slow today. I don’t know if it was being uncomfortable with the field. I don’t know if it was the heat but I though LA just managed those elements and those conditions better than we did today.  We knew that those things were going to be factors but I thought we looked uncomfortable when we got the goal and maybe it’s because we haven’t been in that position a lot this year. So we finally found the first goal but then we stop playing the way we are accustomed to playing and in the end things were not going our way the rest of the half. It’s disappointing to give up the late goal because at the very least when things are not going your way and you are absorbing a bit and you are struggling you have to find a way to get to the dressing room.  Up 1-0 then you circle the wagons and we adjust which we did at half time but now it is 1-1. It just wasn’t our day. I thought we didn’t do enough to win for whatever reason. We played tentative after the goal. I like the response to start the second half because I thought we are as good as or better than them up until they scored the goal. Obviously the PK is a PK so there is no excuse from me there. No excuse from me as far as the field because they dealt with it as well. No excuse from me as far as the heat. At the end of the day they were better today and they deserve to win.”

PORTLAND TIMBERS GOALKEEPER DONOVAN RICKETTS

On the game:

“After the goal I think we stopped playing. We gave them possession and they grew in confidence in the game and they were able to make passes and find the outside man and get crosses in the box and we didn’t handle the crosses well and we were punished.”

On giving up the goal late in the first half.

“We were still pretty confident but it gave them a big lift going into the half knowing that they were going to be even they didn’t have to chase the game in the second half. For them the momentum was going into the second half and we were trying to sort out what we did wrong to concede a goal that late.”

PORTLAND TIMBERS DEFENDER JACK JEWSBURY

On the result:

“We were disappointed. Felt good to get the first goal, but disappointed for the next 30-35 minutes on how we approached it. I felt we kind of got on our heels a little bit and let them bring the game to us. We tried to get into half time with the lead, but unfortunately they got one late on us.”

On giving up the late goal in the first half:

“Obviously, we were disappointed to give it up, especially that late. They had quite a few chances, so we thought we had weathered the storm. So disappointed coming into half time and knew it wasn’t our best first half, even though we did get in even. We wanted to come out that second half. We created a few chances to go a goal up. There was a call that could have been made going for us for a PK. I felt the game was pretty even at that point in the second half. They get that second goal, which was tough for us and then that PK.”

On only having one shot on goal:

“I think some of our best chances didn’t hit the frame. Sometimes stats don’t tell the full truth. In those moments, especially on the road, you have to be better with your chances. We did that last week with Montreal. Especially with a team like LA, if you get a few chances you need to capitalize on them and we didn’t do that tonight.”