SPORTING DIRECTOR AND HEAD COACH GREGG BERHALTER
On the positive takeaways for the team after the match
I think in general the guys didn’t give up. And I think that’s important. I think the start of the game was excellent. I think we fell short in some key areas of the match that ended up hurting us, and there were some chances that we could’ve finished that we didn’t. But overall I think that the spirit of the guys is what I’m proud of. Our goal right now is to regroup and focus on the game on Saturday.
On the quick turnaround for Saturday’s game and how the team needs to put tonight’s result behind them
Yeah, we’re back to work. We’ll fly back tomorrow and in on Friday and get ready for another game.
On whether it will be nice to be back home after a week on the road
Yeah, it will. Our intention was to get points from all the games so we’re a little bit disappointed, but you have to keep going on. And we’ll be ready for Saturday.
On what the team can expect from Colorado, their next opponent, who was mathematically eliminated from the playoffs
We know it will still be a difficult team. Sometimes when teams don’t have anything to play for, they play more free and they can give you some problems. We’re expecting a difficult game and we have to be focused.
On Niko Hansen, who had both goals for Columbus
I think for Niko, the desire to get into the penalty box, the desire to be dangerous was there. His runs behind the line were excellent. I think he put together a nice performance.
On whether the fact that they didn’t play a lot of the main players was because of the tight turnaround for Saturday’s match
No, I think when we look at our squad, we have guys that we believe in. The XI that we put on the field tonight we thought were capable of winning this game. It’s a decision that I think was the right one. I think we were capable of winning this game. I think we fell short in some key moments, and we paid for it.
On what the Timbers did to counteract Columbus’ hot start
They got back into the game on a cross that we weren’t defending well in the penalty box at all. That gave them a little bit of momentum. And they overloaded their right side of the field and did a good job of disorganizing us a little bit. Having said that, I think that the match was within reach and we let it slip.
On his message to the team at halftime, being down 2-1
We wanted to make a couple of adjustments and focus on releasing our wide attacking midfielders to be a little bit more aggressive in the press. We still wanted to keep switching field. Get in behind them. Get in behind their back line. It’s unfortunate that you give up a goal so quickly out of the locker room. I think that hurt the game in general.
COLUMBUS CREW SC MIDFIELDER NIKO HANSEN
On his first goal in the seventh minute of the match
It was a good build up. We got it from one side to the other, and that’s often what we talk about. We knew that if Pedro [Santos] can get on the ball, it’s going to come into the box and so I hold my run a little bit and Pat [Patrick Mullins] does well to drive the guys down, and it falls for me and I put it away.
On what was going through his mind after his second goal of the match
We just got to get another one. We were still missing another one, maybe another two. It’s unfortunate that maybe a couple of their half-chances go in and we go down 3-1. I think it would have been a different game for us if those don’t go in. But it’s a good fight from the boys and I can’t say enough about the grind. The guys that came in, how they changed the game, it’s a team goal. You know, I put it away, but the guys that did all the build-up and put a good ball in, that’s who we have to give all the accolades to.
On how nice it will be to be back in their home stadium on Saturday
It’s always good to be back home. We knew it was going to be a tough week for us starting last Saturday. We rotated the guys, and this week shows that we’re a team and it doesn’t matter who’s on the field. Everyone’s going to perform and give it everything. We’ve got to regroup and put this one behind us and look forward to Saturday against Colorado.
On the team’s mindset going into the match against the Rapids
Put this one behind us, and focus on what’s next. We can’t dwell on this result anymore. We’ve got another one in 72 hours, I think, so we’ve got to move on and put our head down for the next one.
COLUMBUS CREW SC MIDFIELDER WIL TRAPP
On whether he’s proud of the effort the team put out there
Yeah, absolutely. We had some heavy rotations in the lineup. I think you look at Niko [Hansen] scoring two goals. I think you look at a guy like Connor Maloney, who came in and battled for every play and got an assist, which is great. But there’s just three moments in that game that cost us goals and that’s the difference. We had some bright spots in terms of things we did attacking wise, but a couple of things that let us down, that’s what cost us the game.
On the value of young players like Niko Hansen and Connor Maloney getting experience in a match like this
It’s invaluable to play in a game like this. It’s a quality opponent and a difficult environment so for guys to step up to the occasion and understand what these games are about is great. This is what we’re going to be playing in in the playoffs. So understanding that going away from home and having to put up with tough environments and play challenging teams is a good lesson for us all.
On how much he’s looking forward to heading back home after being on the road
It’s important for us to get home to recover, and to understand that it’s a big game at home for us to win.
On what he can expect out of Colorado on Saturday
It’s a team that if you give them chances, they can still punish you. And so we have to understand that we have to be the aggressors. They didn’t play mid-week, I don’t think, so they’re going to be a little bit fresher than we are. So we have to step onto the field with an intensity and level of focus that transcends the fatigue and understand that they’re going to try and play spoiler.