DSC_9964

Head Coach Adrian Heath

On taking the club’s first win against Seattle Sounders over the weekend…

“The most important thing was, a. we got the win. I thought the manner of the win as well, I thought first half, first 35 minutes, we were excellent. And I loved the fact that the crowd was so involved in the game. I think it might be one of the best atmospheres we’ve had at the stadium. It was fantastic. Made you realize how important the supporters are and what a difference they make to this sport. It was an all-around good day. The fact that [Seattle] hadn’t been beaten all season, the fact that we got 18 points from the last nine games – that’s two points a game, which we always talk about – it gets you towards the top of the table. But it sets us up nicely for a big game against Portland now at home.”

On the substitution of Niko Hansen towards the end of the match making a difference…

“He had a hand in the goal, it was a great ball of [Emanuel Reynoso], but the one thing about Niko is, it was publicized in the MLS last week, he’s the fastest guy this year in the league. He has that pace, he does have game-changing pace and his end product was there this weekend. It’s always when you put a few subs on and they have a hand in the goal, you look as though you know what you’re doing. We were pleased for the guys who came on but they’ll be the first to say this was all about the group. We were delighted with them.”

On being unbeaten at home against Portland…

“I think we match up quite well with them. I think it’s four or five games now, and we’ve won a couple of times [in Portland] as well. We had the Open Cup [Semifinal] victory. But the one thing I do know is if they’re on a good day and the likes of [Sebastian] Blanco, and the likes of [Diego] Valeri, you look at the kid [Dairon] Asprilla, he has days where he looks unplayable, [Jeremy] Ebobisse, and [Felipe] Mora is back in, they’ve got a lot of weapons and I know now that if we don’t play well, we don’t play to the level that I know we need to play at, it’s going to be a tough afternoon for us on the weekend.”

On Portland’s season so far…

“I think they’re gradually hitting their stride. Probably started a bit like us but they’ve gradually started to pick up points, and climb the table. The games have always been tight, as I’ve said, we have done well against them but it hasn’t been easy and I don’t expect anything different. And as I say, the one thing about them is they’ve always had an abundance of talent on their roster and they’re the same again.”

On the pairing of Hassani Dotson and Will Trapp in the center of midfield…

“If you look from when we put them both in there, the results have turned around and we’ve picked up, probably all these points that we’ve amassed recently. But they know they have to keep performing the way they can because [Osvaldo Alonso] is there, Jan Gregus is there, Jacori Hayes is there. We might have five of the best five midfield players in the country, so they have to keep performing at that level. At this moment in time they’re playing exceptionally well.”

On the expectations of playing against Portland at home…

“Front foot. Get the ball in their half. Work the final third of the field. Play with the same energy and intensity as we did last weekend and what will be, will be. If we can play to the level I know we’re capable of, and the level they know is acceptable to the players, we’ll be fine.”

Midfielder Wil Trapp

Advertising

In being a part of the group that took it’s first win against Seattle Sounders over the weekend…

“It’s great. You look at where we started the season and that sentiment of disappointment, just, kind of a shock to our system, and then to feel this culmination of this performance in front of our fans, it just felt cathartic and it felt very needed for our group. From a confidence perspective and then moving forward into the season.”

On his performance and finding space against Seattle…

“It always helps, especially in my position, to have guys in front of you that are moving, right? And [Emanuel Reynoso] does such a good, it seems like we’re connected in this regard but he’s pulling the six all over the place, he’s pulling Joao Paulo all over the place. For me, now I’m just trying to pick up the spaces where it’s a lot harder for the next line of their defense to defend. Hassani [Dotson] and I both try to operate in these little half-spaces to get the ball and ultimately turn and find space. That was in the back of my mind the whole time. If Rey is pulling a player this way or Franco [Fragapane] is pulling a player this way, how can I get in those posts where they vacated?”

On the development of his partnership with Hassani Dotson…

“Really well in the sense that he’s someone that I find a lot of, how do I put this, help from. In any good relationship, you’re taking what someone’s good at and what someone’s not good at and you’re matching it together, right? Hassani’s physical attributes, his range, his ability to win balls and then also get forward is what makes him a great player. And for me it’s now that helps me do what I’m good at. Dictate play, move the ball from my spot forward. In that sense, I think that relationship is continuing to grow. We love to talk about the game together, we love to continue to sharpen one another so it’s been really fun.”

On how much he is expecting to dictate play on Saturday against Portland…

“Look, it’s game that when we went to Portland it was difficult in the sense that we scored early and we had to hold on for the game. But in saying that, we created chances, Steve Clark made some fantastic saves to keep them in but they also created chances on us. So for us it’s really once again, like we did against Seattle, finding guys in the next hole, how do they turn and attack and go forward. That’s what makes our team a good team. They’re always going to be good on the break. [Diego] Valeri can pick any pass he wants and runs into space extremely well so it’s about being guarded when we have the ball to be able to exploit that but then also expect that the counter-attack will be coming.”

On the expectations of playing against Portland at home…

“We’ll need the fans, once again. And if you didn’t learn anything from Sunday, it’s certainly the fact that we need our fans and we love playing in front of them. Ultimately this game coming Saturday will be very much about how we can keep them engaged with how we’re playing but also we need to score, we need to score more than one goal and we need to keep the zero because when we get shutouts, we win games and that just what we’ve seen so far this year and we have to continue that.”

Midfielder Niko Hansen

On taking the club’s first win against Seattle Sounders over the weekend…

“It was a much needed win for these times right now.”

On what Heath said to him after the game, after he made an impact right away…

“Before I came in, even, he said make a difference. You could tell the game was dying down a little bit, the back three was getting tired and I could just see it. I was licking at the chops to get in and get in behind and make a difference.”

On what he did to get the better of the Sounders defense…

“Like I said, I could tell they were getting tired. You could see in transitions, there was wide open spaces in behind them. You see the couple that Robin [Lod] get in behind in almost, kin d of a clearance, you know, they weren’t ready to run anymore. I think that could make it difficult for them and run behind them.”

On the goal he assisted for Robin Lod…

“Even on the replay, you could tell I’m already celebrating before he scores the goal. I kind of celebrate and then I’m kind of like, oh it’s not there yet and then he scores it. Once it gets past the guy, I know it’s going in.”

On what the coaching staff has said to him about his role within the club…

“It’s pretty evident that I make a difference. If I’m not going to be a starter, and I see myself as a starter and I think they trust me as well for that role, I’ll make a difference when I come in as a sub. For me and for the coaching staff, I think we’re delighted with where I’m at and, obviously, I think the last piece is a little bit more result orientated with some goals and some assists so this is a good start for that and hopefully get some more.”

On what he’s seen from Portland this season…

“I know I’ve got some goals against them. It’s a really good team, and I think they’ve got a couple guys missing, Gold Cup, but that’s a solid team still. Last time we played it was quite a different environment than it is now, just in terms of weather and travel and all that. I think we’re set up to succeed.”

On Minnesota being able to play anybody at Allianz Field…

“The atmosphere there, and mindset we have going in, we feel, to a degree, comfortable. I don’t want to say comfortable in the wrong terms but I think we can really be down their throats and really make it uncomfortable for the [visiting] team.”

On general expectations against Portland Timbers this Saturday…

“A win. Outrun them. Outplay them, especially at home. It’s going to be a matter of being organized. They have some strong guys up front that make us hurt if they get on the ball with space. Organization and being dangerous ourselves.”

Advertising

Advertising