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October 30, 2017

Caleb Porter

Houston, Texas

Houston - 0, Portland - 0

Q. You ground out a draw despite the adversity of those injuries. Can you talk about what it means to be able to at least get that result?
CALEB PORTER: Yeah. Under the circumstances we'll take it. Our goal was to come in and win, but we also talked about if time ran out we'll take a draw as well. We're a very good home team, we score goals at home, and we're going to need to do that in the second leg to win. But I think under the circumstances we'll take the result. What I mean by circumstances is the playing field and then, obviously, the three injury subs, two in the first half. I thought Roy Miller and Mabiala came in the game and were excellent and obviously experienced players that's why we have them. We didn't miss a beat.

Second half, we dropped, dropped our back four off a little bit because I thought Houston was getting in behind us and they had trouble breaking us down, especially in the second half. Obviously we had a few counterattacks. But, again, the field's very difficult to really put much together. And a couple of the chances we had kind of jump up. Nagbe's is a good example, on a good pitch, he's burying that, it jumps up on him. They had a couple, too, shots that bobbled up on you.

So we need to show and turn the football that we can adjust. It wasn't our preferred game, where we have the ball and we're dictating the game with possession, but we need to show that we can adjust and grind out a result, regardless.

Q. Nagbe obviously went down at the end of the first half. How is he?
CALEB PORTER: I think he's okay. A little bit tight hamstring, but I think he was just making sure he didn't do it. So I think he'll be okay.

Chara looks to be out. I think he fractured a fifth metatarsal. Noncontact, so it's just strange. But it is what it is. I think both teams will be looking forward to playing on a pitch where you see a little bit better soccer. We got two of the best attacking teams in Houston, ourselves, and neither team was able to really generate and play the way that we wanted to play. But I thought that they adjusted as well and, ultimately, I think they will probably take the draw too.

Q. Can anybody's injuries be attributed to the playing surface?
CALEB PORTER: I don't know. I'm not here to jam Houston, their field. I know they have challenges with regards to football playing on it, but it's not great in a showcase game like this with two attacking teams to have to play. In my five years it's, I hate to say it, but it's the worst field that I've seen in five years in this league. It's just really difficult and unfortunate, but it is what it is. We do what we needed to do and I think that showed a lot of metal from our guys to be able to adjust, because, again, it's not really the type of game that we're used to playing and we showed that we can adjust and win or get a result in a different type of way.

Q. (No microphone.)
CALEB PORTER: Mabiala, we'll see, it's a hip.

Q. Talk a little bit about your defense in that second half. But just talk about what it showed from them to be able to grind out, grind that out and get the draw.
CALEB PORTER: Yeah, again, in tournament football you got to be able to adjust and you got to sometimes do what you need to do and we did that. That's good, because we haven't always shown that this year. We're obviously good in a game when we're at home and we're playing up the pitch and we have the ball and putting together little combinations and we're scoring goals. And when we're in our comfort zone like that, you see the type of football we like to play and we're electric.

But for us to have to fight and claw and grind and get a result in a different type of way, I think says everything about the evolution of this group.

Q. Can you talk about where Blanco and Guzman are at in terms of their injuries and potential availability for next game?
CALEB PORTER: Yeah, so Blanco I'm sure you heard, he had a cooking accident. He dropped boiling water on his foot and had second degree burns early this week. He couldn't train first part of the week, he trained -- half trained the last couple days and we knew it was going to be kind of a game-time decision. He was just in too much pain. And if you saw the wound, it's excruciating. We thought maybe he was a tough kid, that he could grind it out, but there was no way. So we were happy to go with Asprilla. Asprilla, I thought was good on the day, he brought a little bit of air play for us, set pieces were key and especially late in the game. If he is not in there, who knows.

Then with Guzman, he took a knock late in the Vancouver game and had an LCL sprain. Didn't train all week. So we knew he was going to be out all week.

Q. Are you expecting them to potentially be available for the next leg?
CALEB PORTER: We're hoping. We're hoping, yeah, I mean just depends on the wound and how it heals. It's basically flesh, it's about that big (Indicating), so it's unfortunate. But one of the things I said to the guys before this match is it's fitting that we're having to go to the bench in our first playoff game. And because we're where we're at because of our depth. We have had more injuries than any team this entire year and we have dealt with it because we got guys like Roy Miller coming in the game and Lawrence Olum coming in the game and Darren Asprilla and Jeremy Ebobisse. So that's what this team's about, this team is not about 11 players, it's about 20 guys that want to win and want to win something special.

Q. While you guys weren't able to get the win, you are going home to a place you've been very good this year. How much confidence will you bring back, knowing it's win and through at Providence Park?
CALEB PORTER: Yeah. We still have work to do, so we'll stay grounded, we'll stay business-like and professional. They're a good attacking team, so we can let our guard down. We got to be focused and we got to go in this game and execute and play the way hopefully that we're used to playing. But by doing that we know it will open up the counterattack as well. So by having the ball, there will be a few more counter opportunities. So we got to be balanced and we got to be smart in transition.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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