“We can even do much better than what we did tonight,” center back Larrys Mabiala stated confidently. “We always, when we come on the field, we are trying to have the best performance possible and especially defensively because we know that with the quality which we have in front, we’re going to create chances.”
Portland maintained an impressive level when winning this summer's MLS is Back Tournament, and now first place in the Western Conference standings is within grasp after a busy stretch of five games in 14 days.
Portland are currently tied with the Seattle Sounders on 24 points, and only Seattle’s superior goal differential (+17) pushes them into first place. The Cascadia rivals are starting to separate themselves atop the West’s expanded eight-team playoff field, too, as nearly every team struggles for consistency. They’re neck-and-neck for seeding, though much can change as teams race towards Decision Day presented by AT&T on Nov. 8.
Highlights: Vancouver Whitecaps 0, Portland Timbers 1
“Our standard, our desire is to always improve,” Savarese said. “It’s always to be a strong team and to make sure that we grow and evolve in so many areas to always be a better team. But that doesn’t take away the fact that the guys did a tremendous job today, that they all worked together – they’ve been doing that for the past few games. We defended with everything that we had, we attacked with quality in the first half, with counters in the second.
“We’re very content with the result, but we have high standards. We want to continue to improve, we want to continue to be better. If we’re very good with the ball, we can always be a little bit better. But we cannot take away the fact that the guys did a fantastic job to get a very deserved win today.”
Their goal arrived in the 5th minute via Felipe Mora, a striker who’s on loan from Liga MX club Pumas UNAM. He now has four goals in MLS, but he too noted that Portland can improve. They know another level is out there, and the challenge of finding new solutions with Sebastian Blanco out injured (ACL tear) remains.
“There are matches like today’s which are very difficult,” Mora said through a translator. “We always have things we’re going to need to improve and things that are going to make us a better team. So we’ll definitely review this match and listen to what the coaching staff has to say and we’ll make those improvements.”