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Sounders-Timbers players react to draw

Post by Don Ruiz / The News Tribune on March 16, 2013 at 10:18 pm with No Comments »
March 16, 2013 10:18 pm

Here’s some of what the Sounders and Timbers players had to say tonight after their 1-1 draw at CenturyLink Field:

Sounders forward Eddie Johnson:
On his goal:
“I don’t even remember how the play developed. Steve got it out wide and we were countering. Steve got it and was 1 vs. 1 on the guy, so I know 9 times out of 10 that he is going to beat the guy off the ball, and I was 1 vs. 1 with my guy, just trying to take him in and out. I faked like I was going in and Steve put it to the back post and I was wide open. It was one of those goals where we have the relationship and understand how each other play. I know when he gets the ball I have to find the seams inside the box and get free.”

On being unbeaten since last season in front of 40,000+ crowds: “I think that energy of playing in front of 40,000 plus, if that doesn’t get you pumped up and looking forward to the game then you shouldn’t be on the field. I’ve had a taste of playing in Europe and our fans compete with the best of them. It’s a great statistic and hopefully we can keep it that way.”

Sounders midfielder OSVALDO ALONSO
On if it was difficult coming off of Tuesday’s game with the high emotions:
“Every game is different. Today was Seattle against Portland, we don’t look back, and we have to look forward and learn from this, and get ready for our next game.”

On if it means anything that he has started more MLS games than any Sounders’ player in history: “No. I just take it game by game. I try to play every game if I’m healthy, and do anything I can to help the team to win it. I don’t count the games; my main thing is to be healthy and to win.”

Sounders midfielder STEVE ZAKUANI
On the result:
“We just have to close games out. It would’ve been a much better feeling waking up tomorrow with three points. Especially when you fight that hard, and run that much, and coming off of the game on Tuesday with a lot of miles on our legs so you want to close it out. But it’s football, it’s football, it happens. It’s a long season and you have a lot of ups and downs, and we have to go over everything that happened tonight and see what went wrong, but we know we were close to getting to three points and that’s what hurts so much because we were so close to it. We live to play another day, and we do take some positives from the game and we build from there.”

Seattle goalkeeper MICHAEL GSPURNING
On defensive performance:
“I think the defense did really good. With our guys in the back I think we are ready to get settled for the season. We will find our way.”

On allowing a late goal: “The goal was just solid, there was nothing else I could do. It was unlucky that it was in the last minute…To be honest with all of our rivalry, Portland is a way better team than last year. We take the point and look forward to the next games with two very tough games ahead of us. (There is) no time for thinking about the mistakes too much.”

On where the team currently stands: “We are early in the season, so we have to find our rhythm. We have to find our wins even if it’s in the away games. It’s always better to start with many points and run after the other teams.”

Portland defender RODNEY WALLACE
On coming off the bench to score the tying goal:
“Obviously we were 1-0 down and my whole thing was just coming in to the game and trying to make a difference, trying to make a play. We were attacking at the moment. We had a few chances prior to the goal. When I saw the first deflection, I saw that [Andrew Baptiste] had an opportunity to cross the ball, and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t in an offside position, so I got in the right spot, the ball came, and I finished.”

On what coming back to tie means to the team: “It’s a huge win for everybody involved with the Portland Timbers. Coming into this game, we obviously wanted to get a win, a first win here versus Seattle. A point, coming back, it means a lot, and shows again the character that this team has.”

On the team’s character: “It just shows that everybody’s tuned in. Everybody is ready to compete, from the starting 11 to the guys that come in, the coaching staff, the training staff, everybody is on the same page. This year we want to be successful and points like this is what gets us there.”

On whether he realized how open he was: “I was in a good position. That’s why I wanted to make sure I was onside. I was pretty open, and I wanted to make that sure it went in. It was a good ball by [Andrew] Baptiste.”

On why he’s the leading Portland scorer against Seattle: “I have no idea what’s going on, but I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to get the goal. It’s a good result for the team.”

Portland midfielder WILL JOHNSON
On getting the draw:
“It’s a step in the right direction. We’re fighting ourselves. We’re fighting a lot of adversity. We could easily be 0-3 right now. This group could be sitting on zero points, getting ready to blow this thing up. We never panicked, we never wavered. We understand that we made mistakes, still, and there’s a lot of improvement that we can still make. When you get a point out of a game like this, it’s very, very promising and positive and takes us in the right direction, so we’re excited.”

On how the team felt about the game and getting the draw: “We thought we were playing well. That’s the frustrating thing. We think we’ve been playing well throughout the three games; others may disagree, but the feeling inside this locker room is that we have guys who know how to win and we have guys that… we feel like we’ve been playing well. We just had to keep going, stay positive, understand that we made another mistake, but put it behind us and salvage a point out of the game, and we managed to do that.”

On if he expected the game to be chippier: “A little bit. Kevin [Stott], the referee, did a pretty good job of keeping things under control. It had its moments, but it’s early in the year and these kind of things take a little bit of time. When the playoff’s on the line in September or October, I think it could be ever chippier. But it was still a hard-fought game and they’re a good team, so give them credit.”

On whether it’s too early for a rivalry game: “Yeah, maybe. That might be a good way to put it. I don’t think it’s ever too early, but I think the closer you get to October, the more the games mean in one way or another. Obviously you have to pick up points along the way, but there’s definitely an intensity-level that changes once July and August kind of pass.”

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