Wilmer Cabrera | Postgame at Portland Timbers

General thoughts on the match…
“It was a good game. It was a fun game. Especially for them of course at the end. For us, it was our first test away. I believe, and we all saw, the first half we [Houston] came from behind and it was solid and it was very good. The second half, we talked about being sharp from the beginning and it didn’t happen. We lost total control the first 15 minutes of the second half. They took over, they scored two goals and we never came back from that lapse, that situation. Then it was tough. You have to make some changes to change the face of the team. We kind of reacted, but it wasn’t enough. At the end, we have to continue working to improve our possession and improve in our job as a team. It wasn’t great, the second half, especially the first 15 minutes. We didn’t play well. That is on me as a coach. I need to work harder. We need to work harder to try and keep them sharp and more focused. When we decided to play, we were a very good team. When, in the second half, we didn’t have that technique, that confidence to move the ball, to hold the ball. That definitely is something we need to work on.”

On what is helping the team’s early success this season…
“We have good players. We’re building a team of course. We all know that, but it’s not an excuse. We need to continue performing. We need to get better. We have very tough games ahead of us. In order for us to get into the playoffs for this season, we have to be able to play better through the 90 minutes. And that’s something we still haven’t had success with. We cannot play well and then just go down for a few minutes during the game. That’s something that, with a team like [Portland], they’re very good. They took advantage and they can change a game right away. They did it. We need to continue working. We’ve been saying we’re not ready yet, we’re not there yet. We’re improving. All this is going to help us improve. It’s going to help us to have a reference to work on.”

On whether he’ll be looking forward especially to the return leg in Houston…
“Yes, definitely. But not me because I cannot play, but for sure the players. The players are going to be waiting for a rematch. We’re a good team. This is a very good team, Portland. An excellent team. We knew that from the beginning. We respected them. We tried to play them, we tried to match up with them. But in the second half we didn’t do that and we paid for that.”

On bringing out the best in Erick Torres…
“Nothing. It has to come from him first. I don’t have any special tricks in my pockets. I know him. I’ll try to work with him. I’ll try to work with all the players. We have to be confident we have the talent. In this case, Erick has the talent and if he’s motivated the way he is, he’s going to get better and better. We have to be sure it’s not an individual work ethic. It’s a collective effort because that’s the most important. In the end, the team is the most important and we need to be sure the whole team continues to perform through all 90, 92, 95 minutes. I know him from [Chivas USA]. I know how good he is as a player. That is going to help him continue feeling that he is a good player. He can score goals and he has proven himself. That’s the most important. On the field, he’s doing it.”

On Portland’s ever-present attacking threat…
“It’s a very tough team. It’s a very dangerous team. We knew it from the beginning. We knew that they were very dangerous, they were at home and they were going to create a lot of chances. But we knew that we had chances also and we needed to put those chances away. When we had the possibilities to take the ball away, we needed to keep it. In that aspect, we failed. In the second hal