After a light regen training on Tuesday and a day off Wednesday, the Timbers got back to the usual intensity today in training at Jeld Wen Field.
It was a shorthanded practice, with Diego Chara, James Marcelin, Steve Purdy, Brian Umony and Futty Danso all with their national teams. The only other player missing was Freddie Braun, but his absence was not injury related.
Omar Jasseh continued his trial with the club.
And team officials assured me that David Horst has recovered from the nagging groin pull that has kept him out lately.
Read on for some short field 9v9 highlights, as well as a couple of quotes about the team's playoff prospects.The team played an intense 9v9 competition on roughly a half field. Teams seemed pretty random, with a smattering of first team players on each side.
And Peter Lowry had a hell of a bicycle kick attempt late in the session -- he didn't manage to get a foot on the ball, but it was impressive nonetheless.
I had my eye on Kalif Alhassan after watching his likeness score a goal and an assist last night in a couple of FIFA 12 matches. He was his usual astounding self at training today, perfectly placing long crosses the width of the pitch to his teammates' feet.
Late in the scrimmage Alhassan found some space for one of his signature curlers from distance. It went in. It was simply gorgeous. There's absolutely nothing a keeper can do about those, so I'm not surprised he keeps trying them. He had a few other hard shots after that, a couple of which also hit the back of the net.
The training ended with a first-goal-wins-it closing. Rodney Wallace scored the winner, set up by a blocked shot from Alhassan. The two of them worked on their victory dance afterward -- something to watch for at the Houston game next Friday.
Coach John Spencer
On whether the loss at New York put an end to the Timbers' playoff hopes:
You've got to expect teams this time of the year are going to win their games at home, so for me I expected New York to win the game. Now, I think that we have to have the mentality that we're going have to win three games.
New York have a couple of hard games coming up. KC away from home -- very very difficult place, as most teams in the league have found this year, at Livestrong Park. They've got to go there and win, and then they've got to beat a very difficult Philadelphia team as well.
On his confidence for the team's final three regular season matches:
I'm confident. Obviously in Vancouver that was a big win, and then we have that game at home, which it'd be awesome to win, and then we've got some road games. So I feel like if we go there and just come out with some energy, we can win both games.