USATSI_17209112

Head Coach Adrian Heath

On how he assesses the full 90 minutes after getting an early goal …

“I felt that we did enough tonight. I was disappointed in some of our play. I thought our defensive shape was good at time, especially in the first half and they got a couple of opportunities but not a lot. Dayne [St. Clair] didn't have much to do. But I don't think we played as long as we can with the ball. And I always thought that was going to be the secret for us today. If we were going to get a result, you know, we had to play well with the ball. I don't think we've done as well with the ball today as we have in recent games. ”

On what happened after the 11th minute …

“The goal they got late in the first half was obviously a little bit of a killer blow for us because as much as we were sort of on the back end of a lot of pressure, as I said can’t remember Dayne [St. Clair] having much to do. They had a couple of opportunities when one of the guys skied one over. But apart from that they didn't have a lot of real clear, cut chances. But you know, they got a goal at the right time and obviously the second goal right at the start the second half, and then you start to chase it a little bit and start to lose your shape and you lead yourself you know we're susceptible. Their third goal was an unbelievable strike from a quality player. ”

On why he thinks approximately 30% of goals this season were conceded in the last 15 plus minutes of the halves…

“I don't know. I don't know. I didn't know that stat, but at the end of the day, you know you've got to see the game out in full 45. Maybe we got a little bit concentration levels go down. I don't know. But obviously the first ones go down and he's [Larrys Mabiala] just you know he is a big boy and he's got a good quality ball in and he's got on the end of it. Second one's a good finish from [Sebastián] Blanco and the third, you know, you can't save that one. But it's something we'll have a look at in the offseason and see if there’s something we're doing differently. But I couldn't tell you the answer to that now.”

On when he found out about Tyler Miller contracting COVID-19 and how he thinks it impacted the game …

“It's not ideal obviously and then you worry that somebody else or all of us could be affected but you know at the end of the day Dayne [St. Clair] is a quality goalkeeper. Don’t know think that we can blame him for anything today. Yeah, it's not ideal. You don't want it, you don't want the threat of maybe more players going down with it. And obviously, you know, you want to keep this outside but you know. I thought that Dayne’s match today, there's nothing I can look at there and think maybe, no, I don't think any of the goals he could’ve done anything about.”

On how he assesses the entire season …

“Well, we were better than three quarters of the league, weren’t we? Everybody can’t make the playoffs and everybody didn’t. And so, pleased to the players efforts. I think we didn't give ourselves much room for error with the start. That stats back there up. With that start there's only I think four teams haven't qualified for the playoffs. So, you know, the players are certainly responding. I think that one of the words I’d use is inconsistent. I don't think we've been as consistent as we can be with the group that we've got. And obviously we've had, you know, large chunks of the season where our front players have not been available. Whether it be [Emanuel Reynoso], whether it be Robin [Lod], whether it be Franco [Fragapane] and I don't think that's helped us. But we'll dust ourselves down, you know, the players have some time off. Let them recharge the batteries and we'll come back again. And we’ll come back hopefully stronger. For certainly this is the best group we've had since I've been here. So, if we can add to it, which is going to be the objective in the offseason, to add one or two pieces with it, make us stronger in certain areas, then that's what we're going to do.”

On if he thinks the emotions of this past week had an impact on the game …

“No, because we had a break. We had a couple of weeks to get prepared for the game. I just don't think we played as long as we can today. And I said in the week, I think we're gonna have to play well to win it, you always do. You know, it's a big atmosphere. They've got big players. They’re pretty much in from at this moment in time, so I knew we were gonna have to play well to get our results, and I don't think we played as well as we can. That's the reason we haven't gotten the results.”

On Adrien Hunou’s lack of presence in tonight’s game…

“I’m not going to sit here and talk about individuals. I just don’t think, as a group, we played well enough to win the game. I said before, our front four have to play well and I don’t think we played as well as we have been of late. Adrien’s not really had much in front of goal, he’s not had many opportunities presented to him. It’s not like you can say ‘he got in there, he’s got three of four good efforts,’ he hasn’t. That’s pretty much indicative of the way we played tonight. I don’t think we were as strong, as clinical, as cutting edge that we’ve had in the last few weeks.

On the missed handball in the box off Bakaye Dibassy’s shot…

“Only from somebody from upstairs contacted us and said it could have been a handball. I’ll have to see it again but it’s all ifs and buts now anyway.”

On when Ethan Finlay was injured and was ruled unavailable for tonight…

“Ethan had a concussion at training middle of last week, and we thought he’d be okay but he suffered a reoccurrence of it in the week. Obviously, concussion protocol and we can’t play players when they’re not passed to play.”

On if Sebastian Blanco was the game winner that Portland needed…

“Obviously, he’s a quality footballer. We knew that before the game. He’s come up with two really good goals and third one was killer for us. When it’s 2-1, you’re still in the game and I felt if we could see that through and get us to the last ten to 15 minutes where we could start to really take some chances, but the third goal was a great goal. He was probably the best player on the field tonight, it’s probably why they won the game.”

On the turnover that led to the third Portland goal…

“I’ll have to see it again, Andy. You get caught up in the game. I know we turned it over cheaply, but then he’s [Sebastian Blanco] gone a long way with the ball. It’s a great finish from him. He sits across it, it’s gone away from Dayne [St. Clair] and in off the post. It’s one of them opportunities. One of them where the keeper can’t save it. You turn the ball over cheaply like we did, for the third goal and then you get…quality players make you pay and that’s what happened.”

Midfielder Wil Trapp

On what he felt was the major difference coming up short in tonight’s game...

“I think it was a great start in terms of scoring the goal early. I just felt like we started to stop playing as the half went on. When you concede chance after chance, they're a team that's super opportunistic, and they scored the goal right for halftime, they get momentum and then I mean, on either side of the half, that's a goal within two minutes to start. I mean, at the end of the half and two minutes of the start of the half. So, I think for us, those start to be moments where it's concentration for sure, but we have to keep playing, we have to keep pushing them back and I didn’t think we did a good enough job that ”

On when he found out about Tyler Miller contracting COVID-19 and how he thinks it impacted the game …

“Look, I don't think there's any destructiveness to what happened with [Tyler Miller]. It's unfortunate, the timing of the health and safety protocols, but we trust Dayne [St. Clair], of course. You saw it last year in the playoffs, he stepped up big for this group. I think that the team had full confidence in him, but for him, it's never easy to come in after, I think that his last game was May 8th. So six or seven months later, you're stepping back into the team. So it's impressive from him, but ultimately, it's not about just one player. It's about the whole group. ”

On the challenge in midfield to advance the ball...

“Yeah, I think you look at the blueprint of the goal, something that we probably could have tried to create more of when we have these two people in situations and getting our fullbacks in positions where they can cross. I think that was where we had success but I don't think we did a good enough job of switching the point of attack quickly to create those two v. ones or three v. two situations.”

On the game before and after halftime...

“Like I said, I think it's a situation where you keep conceding chance after chance, whether it's free kicks or corner kicks, and they're a team that has good service and they make good runs. So it's really just about clearing our lines. Adrian's [Heath] talked about that throughout the entire season. So not getting cute and just clearing the balls is I think where we could have been better.”

On Adrian Heath’s comment about having an inconsistent season...

“I think this game is a little bit of a microcosm of the season, right? You have good moments, you have not so good moments and ultimately, we didn't come out where we wanted it to be. And I think the course of the season showed that in our group. The reasons for it at this moment, I don't have the exact answer. I think it's always something where you look at the start, if we start poorly, how do we claw ourselves back and I think we did a good job with that. But it has to be something where from the first whistle of the season and to the last whistle of the season, we have to have a little bit more of a consistent mindset and a consistent product that we're putting on the field. So like I said, I don't have the exact answer as to why inconsistency was in the mix so much this year, but it's definitely something we need to think about over the offseason and address coming next year.”

On if he thinks the emotions of this past week had an impact on the game …

“No, not today. I think, if I've seen anything this year, we're a rhythm team, right? We’re a group that when we're playing consistently, we seem to be a little bit sharper. And obviously we have two weeks off and that's, in a way, not ideal for us as a group because we like to be playing games as much as possible. So but that's the reality. So getting up for this one I just think, like I said, we started great and then we stopped playing. So it's really just about the mentality to keep doing, keep plugging away and be, like Adrian [Heath] always says, impossible to be that wasn't the case.”

On the transition moments before Sebastián Blanco’s second goal..

“I think the game got really stretched, got really opened up. We win the ball, we tried to go down one side and they're a team that they're really good about just getting little toes to the ball or breaking up plays with little interceptions and ultimately, it squirts back to [Sebastián] Blanco. I didn't close the ball down close enough. But it's a great strike in the end. And I think for us, it's just understanding that composure in those moments to not to give the ball away, especially when we've just been defending and knowing that they're a group that's opportunistic. We know that, we've said that and when you gave them space and players like Blanco with quality games like tonight, they hurt you.”

On the “stop playing” after the goal and trying to protect the lead...

“Yeah, good question. I think to an extent, there's a little bit of that when you score early. It's always tricky, because now you're thinking ‘alright, well, we don't want to open ourselves up and leave ourselves susceptible’ but they're a team that capitalized on it well, I thought. So, being a little bit more forthright and thinking that it's still zero zero. We have to be smart about taking our chances and moving forward and putting pressure on them without conceding chances. I just thought we bunkered in a little too much.”

On his future with the club...

“Yeah, I mean, for me, it's just focusing on getting healthy, getting ready for next year. And I think if anything, this is a situation where you're going to be motivated, and I know I am. So all that stuff you talk about in a day or so. So I'm not thinking too much about it right now. It’s a place I want to be. I believe in this group. I believe in this, this club, and it's something that we need to move forward with.”