SPORTING DIRECTOR AND HEAD COACH GREGG BERHALTER
On how much the first goal impacted the game
I don’t think so much, I mean I think we got back into the game and we were able to tie it up by halftime. I thought we had momentum, I felt we came out of the second half the first five minutes really aggressive, looked lively. If anything I think the second goal took the wind out of us a little bit. You can see we lost the concepts a little bit, we lost our way after that second goal, and that’s too bad.
On his early double substitution
Well Tony [Tchani] had a slight groin pain and we didn’t want to take any risks with him so we put Mohammed [Saeid] in. And with Cedrick, Cedrick’s an electric player. We wanted to get him involved, get him going one-v-one, and really cause some problems. I think to a certain extent he did that. I think he could’ve been a little bit more effective but there were some moments.
On potentially missing an opportunity with results around the Eastern Conference
I would say that. I think our expectations are to win this game. It’s disappointing in front of a fantastic crowd, record number crowd, it’s disappointing not to give the fans a win. So we’re disappointed, the heads were hanging low in there.
On Kei Kamara’s health
Yeah he is (doing alright). I’m not one to complain about referee decisions or opponents and how they play but to me, you got the leading goal scorer who is a physical player, but he’s just getting beat up out there. And in my opinion, I think the referee needs to protect him a little bit more. I mean they were all over him being extremely aggressive with him, off the ball, on the ball, and I think it could have been cleaned up a little bit more, because he’s a fantastic player having a fantastic season and we don’t want to ruin that. I think the spirit of the game is to play soccer and I think it was certainly overly physical and I think he could have been protective a little bit better.
On whether or not he thought all the games festivities and legends celebration overwhelmed the team at all
On how Portland’s game plan compared to FC Dallas
It was a similar profile to the game. They put aerial balls in more than Dallas did but essentially their plan was to counter-attack. When they weren’t counter-attacking they were playing long balls into [Fanendo] Adi who would hold it up and get runners off of him. So he’s a handful, he’s an aggressive player and very good in the air and he caused some problems, no question.
On to what he attributed the goals
What can I say, I think that it was a good example of transition, the second [goal]. The first one I think we had an organized defense, maybe we could have been a little bit cleaner on the first ball, we lost the ball and [Darlington] Nagbe was good coming inside, but I think it was avoidable. Certainly, I think that in my eyes, we could have been better in those situations.
On having the Crew SC legends at tonight’s game
It’s fantastic, and those guys define what it means to play for Columbus Crew SC. When you look at the names here, and the tradition and culture they helped build, it’s nice to get them back. They’re a big part of this organization and it’s nice to be able to honor them. It’s also nice for the players to come in contact with them. You hear the names, but to see them live and really appreciate what they’ve done for this club.
On the offensive movement
I don’t think the execution was completely there tonight. I think there was a number of times where we could have been sharper, where we could’ve finished off the attack and made a better decision that the one we made on the ball. It cost us. I think particularly in the first half when we had space that we were opening up, and that final ball wasn’t there, or the final shot. We weren’t aggressive enough on that. At the end of the day we get hurt for not being able to execute.
On using tonight as a wake-up call
I don’t think we need refocusing but we certainly want to keep improving. You’ve heard me say that a lot, we need to get better. I think the positive is we have three Eastern Conference teams all bunched near us that we play. So I think it’s going to be a great end of the season. I think it’s going to be exciting and that the fans are going to enjoy it so we’ll put in a good effort all those games.
On Kei Kamara’s MLS record of scoring against 21 different teams
He’s been fantastic for us all year. I’m not surprised that he was able to score against all those teams. He’s a good player. He fits into what we do perfectly and we’re proud of what he’s done so far. But, one thing I’ll tell you is he’s still hungry for more, whether that be more goals or more wins. We’re going to try to keep him firing on all cylinders.
On defending counter-attacks in the future
That’s a good question. I think that the first thing is positioning when you don’t have the ball. You hear a number of teams talk about that in the League. It’s true, it’s positioning in a way that it makes it difficult for them to start the attack, by winning that first ball and being in position for the second ball. I think, today, we made a fundamental error on the second goal. We weren’t organized and we can’t get early pressure on the ball. You have to drop, and we didn’t do that. We’ll take a look at the tape and we’ll make some adjustments during the week.
DEFENDER MICHAEL PARKHURST
On if tonight’s loss felt more disappointing given the playoff implications
No, it’s disappointing of course. It was a good opportunity, especially given the results around the League, but we’re still in a good spot and we’ve got a few games left to solidify a position going into the playoffs on a high. It’s a loss, it hurts, especially a home one in front of a big crowd but we got a big one of Saturday, so we’ll bounce back.
On Portland’s go-ahead goal and how it changed the match
We know it’s difficult when we go down a goal, especially at home. It’s difficult – teams drop back and stay compact and play on the counter-attack and make it difficult for us. It stings to give up that second goal, it’s a long way up hill from there. It just seems like it was a good counter-attack by them. [Fanendo] Adi’s a fall in the box, we could’ve prevented it in a few places, but we’ll look at it on film. It’s things we need to correct, but once we do that we’ll be alright in the playoffs.
On if the match was especially physical
Yeah it was, it was intense. It’s teams fighting for playoff spots, so every game’s going to be like that from now on. Adi’s physical up top so we have to be physical back with him and towards the end of the game we’re just fighting and scrapping, so it’s going to happen, especially with Eastern Conference games the rest of the way out from here. It’s going to be physical and we need to be ready for it.
MIDFIELDER WIL TRAPP
On how Portland’s second goal changed the complexion of the game
We got the one back late in the second half, feeling good coming out of halftime, and yeah, it changed the complexion of the game for us. We had to push numbers a little more forward. We got a little impatient I thought, but it’s a game of moments and we lost that moment and that’s what changed it for us.
On if tonight’s loss was particularly disappointing
It’s disappointing. I wouldn’t say it’s any worse than others. Obviously you want to show up for the fans, the crowd was excellent tonight and we’re disappointed.
On having former Crew SC players in the audience tonight
Yeah it’s cool, just disappointing we couldn’t get the win.
On if tonight felt like a missed opportunity
For sure. You look at Montreal winning, Toronto winning – those teams are on hot streaks. So this would’ve been a good one for us, especially with the Red Bulls losing last night. So like I said, disappointing.