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Head Coach Adrian Heath

On the performance against Houston…

“I thought we had a really good defensive shape. Great resolve from the group, really difficult conditions. I think at times people forget how difficult it is when you go there.”

On the MLS debut of Nabilai Kibunguchy…

“Yeah, he was in a slightly different position than he normally plays. A little bit higher. He did well, he worked hard. We spoke about the goal. I thought he could have done more in his defensive shape for their goal. But overall, I thought he did a really good job. I was pleased with the whole group because we’ve had a lot of football in a lot of weeks here and I just thought that it was going to be a really difficult game and that’s what it proved to be. But the lads, what we’d worked on in the week with the defensive shape worked excellently for us and with the players that we’ve got I always feel as though we’re dangerous on the counter attack.”

On getting the win without Emanuel Reynoso playing…

“Nobody needs me to say what I feel about Rey [Emanuel Reynoso]. I find it really disrespectful to the rest of the group that people think that this is just a one man team and Rey would be the first to tell you that. Rey is obviously a really important piece for us, so for us to get that win and show to people that we don’t just need Rey to score two goals for us to win a game, I think was important. The rest of the group were terrific. I was really pleased with them.”

On the new contract for Bakaye Dibassy…

“Yeah, he’s been absolutely immense for us since he’s been here. A great professional on and off the field. Very popular with his teammates. Him and Boxy [Michael Boxall] as a pair that’s been as good as anybody in the league. Our defensive record over the last two or three years has been in the top third of the MLS and, in no short way, down to them. With [Bakaye] Dibassy staying…he’s a really, really fit guy I’m sure this won’t be his last contract because when he takes his top off and everything he’s in unbelievable condition. He’s got a few more years left in him yet, so we’re delighted.”

On the MLS debut of Alan Benitez…

“He’s obviously an experienced player and he’s been really frustrated because he’s been with us probably three weeks before we got his paperwork through. He’ll be delighted to… he feels more integrated within the group. Really good in the attacking third and one of the reasons we brought him in. I did say to DJ [Taylor] that this is not an automatic given that you’ll come straight out of the team because he’s [DJ Taylor] done really well. I’m looking forward to how that little battle develops at right back because we’ve got two really good right backs at this moment in time.”

On the season the Portland Timbers have been having…

“They’re starting to come into a better form. Got really good players. Doesn’t matter who they put on there. You’ve got both Chara’s [Diego Chara and Yimmi Chara]. Now you got Blanco [Sebastian Blanco] [Jaroslaw] Niezgoda starting to get a goal. Asprilla [Dairon Asprilla] came in and got a goal at the weekend. Our games against them are normally pretty feisty stuff and I don’t expect it to be any different. I actually personally think it’s probably our biggest rivalry. It just seems different when we play them whether it be home and away. It’s something we’ll be looking forward to.”

On limiting Portland’s transitions through the midfield…

“They’ve got good players in there. I think the most important thing is keep possession of the ball, try and play our brand of football at home, which we know causes teams problems. Then having a really good defensive shape in their transition moments. I always use the word, when you’re looking at these proper teams and teams with top talent, concentration is huge. In them little transition moments you have to be aware of where people are. Especially people like Blanco [Sebastian Blanco] and Chara [Yimmi Chara] because the reason they fetched the money they did and they bought them for the money they did is because they are difference makers.”

On what seven unbeaten would say to the doubters…

“We’ve had a lot of negativity this year. As I said the other day, we’re six points better off than we’ve been in the past, so I don’t know where a lot of that has come from. It’s part of my job. Criticism comes and we just have to get on with what we do. Now we’ve got to make the players realize what has given that success over the last few weeks. And if we keep doing that, we’ll win more games than we’ll lose.”

Defender Nabilai Kibunguchy

On making his MLS debut…

“My whole life I’ve dreamed about this moment and for me to put in that performance and help the team get the three points it really means a lot to me, from where I come from, and just overall the performance as team which matters the most.”

On when he was told he was starting…

“I was told a day before in training. I was like, ‘Wow, it’s finally, my time has come,’ and I had 24 hours to prepare. I was ready for the moment and I took my opportunity.”

On how he prepared for the match against Houston…

“Just mentally running through the game in my head beforehand. Just be prepared for the various situations I could face and being ready. Take it one minute at a time.”

On the importance of MNUFC2 for his development…

“Definitely very important because, first of all, we just got to play in games. Just getting the consistent minutes it really helps as a player. Just to be here in Minnesota and the same training ground. Being able to go up and down as we please and it’s just a great environment to be in. I think it’s helped 100 percent.”

On his perspective of the game against Houston…

“I felt like I did pretty well. From the first minute I played my role defensively and offensively. I just did what the coaching staff prepared me to do and I just took it one minute at a time. It was a long 90 minutes in the Houston humidity, but just got through it and just got the three points.”

On the message from the coaching staff prior to the game…

“They told me just to play simple. Do what I know I can do. Don’t do too much and just play your role, pretty much, on both sides of the ball. I think I did that pretty well.”

On how the group fared in the game…

“I think we did pretty well. We had a game plan going in to not let anything go up through the middle and make it hard for them to get through us and get to the goal. We had a great chances on the offensive side, especially on the counter attack. We took our chances and that’s the name of the game and defended well at the end. I think our game plan went well and we got the three points.”

On making his Allianz Field MLS debut…

“Yes, definitely the next step. Whenever it comes, I’ll be ready for the opportunity again. Just to help the team in whatever way they need help. When the time comes, I’ll be ready.”

On the challenges that Portland brings…

“In the past I’ve watched a few of the Portland games, so I know what they’re capable of. Really dynamic team, especially on the counter. It’s pretty important to really, defensively, be ready for what they have to offer and just stay on top of them.”

On limiting Portland on transitions…

“Exactly. That’s their game. That’s what Portland does best, so to limit them at that and be ready defensively on the counters, that’s important.”

On players from Portland that stand out…

“Definitely their captain Diego Chara. Someone who I’ve watched in the last, I don’t know how long he’s been around, but I’ve watched him a lot. He’s the engine. He runs their team up and down the field, so definitely one to watch for us because he controls what they do. As well as Sebastian Blanco. He controls their attack and really can pick a pass and it’s important to be on him at all times and know where he is. Those are two players, I think.”

On Diego Chara being an influence to his game…

“Yeah, I feel like he has. He has that engine. He gets around the field. He controls the game and he’s just that presence for them. I try and emulate something like that and definitely Diego Chara is up there for me.”