What They're Saying After #PORvFCD

FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez
General thoughts on tonight’s match…
Proud. Still processing. This is not an easy place to play. I know Portland’s had their big challenges this year. We’ve had our own. Every team has had their own sets of challenges even here in the playoffs. A lot of respect for Gio (Savarese) and his staff. They’re a very good team and efficient. They put us in trouble the first 20 minutes. But we were making plays defensively, we didn’t concede and as the game went on we found more of the ball, found more space and found the game ultimately. We gave up that goal at the end which was disappointing. But at the same time, this group believed in themselves when a lot of others didn’t, and that’s always going to be the most important--that internal belief. What a great set of human beings that I get to work with. They just showed today that they can also be warriors on the field. So proud of them, so proud of the staff, so proud of ownership that’s always supported us in the ups and downs. We’ll process this, we’ll rest and this is business because we have another opportunity and we’ll take another step. So we’ll focus on the next one very soon and see who it’s going to be.

On goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer’s performance in the shootout...
Drew (Keeshan) is so prepared and such a great professional--our goalkeeper coach. He sits with all the keepers and goes over some habits. He doesn’t necessarily tell Jimmy which way to go but these are some trends, trust your instincts but notice these timings and steps. Jimmy made the save later on but he was close on a few. He guessed the right side on a few but some of those PKs were very well taken by Portland and we were fortunate to get that one at the end.

On forward Ricardo Pepi’s performance…
He’s a young man that’s worked really hard through the youth program and Academy. He’s always been humble and hard working. He doesn’t depend on his natural talent, he tries to show a great mentality to learn and be patient and give everything in his opportunity. And tonight was a product of that and I know he’s still going to learn a lot more and he has a great future. He certainly showed that he can step in at the biggest stage in a pressure moment when we need it most and deliver. So I think it’s just the beginning for a player who’s going to support this club and have a career in this league.

FC Dallas forward Ricardo Pepi

On what this match means for your career…
It’s a big game in my career. Obviously, getting the opportunity to help the team stay in the game, score the game-tying goal, stay in the playoffs, continue to the next round, it was a very important moment for me. When I scored the goal, it brought be a lot of joy and happiness. I came into the game thinking I was going to make a difference and I did. A lot of happiness. In the penalty, I had a lot of confidence in myself because I know I’m good at those and I scored it.

On scoring the goal and keeping Dallas’ chances alive…
As a team, we knew we were going to have one more opportunity and fortunately that was the chance. We kept fighting even after they scored late in the game in the 82nd minute, we never stopped. We kept fighting for our goal. In the 93rd minute, the goal came, and it brought a lot of confidence to the team to keep pushing and to keep fighting until the very end. 

On how far Dallas can go…
You guys saw today’s match, we never gave up. We kept fighting until the end. I see this team going far and hopefully we will. But never count us out because we will continue to fight.  

FC Dallas Goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer
What were you thinking about the last play of the game when Valeri’s ball hit the post?
Thank God it didn’t go in. After that whole game, if that would have gone in and ended the game off of a mis-hit cross where he was trying to find Jeremy (Ebobisse) on the back post that would have been absolutely our breaking point.

What was going through your head during the penalty kicks?
I was frustrated. I felt like I was getting good reads on the PKs, I got really close on a few, even the one that went down the middle I thought I was going to be able to get my foot on it. It went just barely over like my shoelaces but I just knew that the guys were taking their shots so well that I was like ‘I just got to get one, just got to get one and we’re going to win it’. I was pissed, to be honest. I was like ‘I’m saving this next one’ and that will do it.