The Timbers practiced at Jeld-Wen field for the first time since hitting the road for their woeful loss to Seattle. After their usual warm up routine, the Timbers split into groups of eight, with two groups of senior players taking part in games of 4v4 while the third group, comprised of many of the team's younger players plus Futty Danso, headed inside to work in the gym.
Injuries and Absences
Kris Boyd warmed up with the team for the third straight day before breaking off to work with the Timbers' training staff on the sidelines. Boyd worked on his lateral movement and touch with trainer Jun Morishita before spending the remainder of practice running on the perimeter of the pitch.
Hanyer Mosquera has been back and practicing with the team for the last two weeks and looked confident in training today, although he had a few poorly taken passes. Wilkinson noted that Mosco could have played against Seattle, but was held out due to concerns that he would need to be substituted. Wilkinson also confirmed that Mosco would be available to play against Vancouver this weekend.
Lovel Palmer, Rodney Wallace, and Steve Purdy were all absent due to international call ups. Palmer, who went the full 90 for Jamaica on Friday, will need a win against Antigua and Barbuda tonight to avoid being eliminated from World Cup qualifying. Wallace's Costa Rica can advance in the qualifiers with a win against Guyana. Steve Purdy, who had been a mainstay at centerback for El Savador this year, did not play on Friday and with El Salvador taking on 5-0-0 Mexico tonight, he might just want to stay of the bench for this one.
Finally, Ian Hogg and Chris Taylor were the only players to completely miss practice today due to injury. Hogg suffered a rolled ankle two weeks ago and will likely not be back before the end of the season. Chris Taylor is also out for the rest of the season after undergoing hip surgery several months ago.
Trialists and Guest Players
Trialist Mobi Fehr is no longer with the team after training with the Timbers for the last three weeks, Wilkinson confirmed after practice. The coaches will evaluate Fehr's play with the team and will consider him for one of next year's supplemental roster slots once the team has determined how Fehr could be acquired within the guidelines of MLS.
Cam Vickers returned to training with the team today after missing the last week of practice for personal reasons.
On what the team's focus is
"Obviously the Vancouver game. It means a lot after a disappointing Seattle game for the organization. The players worked hard for the last week, they were focused, and it's surprising how well they worked. I had that feedback from the other coaches. Then yesterday was a good session and today was a very hard session. Tomorrow they have got a day off then Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in preparation for the game on Sunday. The Vancouver game, that is where everyone's focus is right now."
On balancing the need to evaluate players against the need to win
"It is a constant communication with Caleb Porter and with that everything is a balance. You still have to put a team out there that there is a belief from the coaching staff and from Caleb and myself that can win. There were one or two decisions that might be questioned, like Rodney Wallace starting at left back. He had done well against Seattle previously. You had Steven Smith who was suffering with tight hamstrings. But coming to the Vancouver game it is the best eleven players that are fit and healthy.
We are still going to make some late decisions with the players that are coming back from international duty, but we have had some good performances yesterday and today out of some players that we are expecting big things from.
I think that if we go into Vancouver and everyone plays the way that they are capable, it is going to be a very interesting game and that is one of the things we lacked against Seattle. We didn't have players that stood up and played one their best games of the season. We had a couple of players that we've come to rely on that possibly didn't contribute as much, but that is par for the course over a long season."
On if he is expecting Hanyer Mosquera to be back on Sunday
"Yeah. Mosquera will be back. He was available for the Seattle game but it just isn't worth risking a player when you go into a game and potentially subbing a defender out due to injury. Mosquera and [David Horst] have formed a decent relationship back there and one that I still think needs to be a lot better than we've seen, but it is developing, it is improving, and he will be available."
On how the international break affects the team
"The way the season has gone I think players want to play and they want to get it over and done with and they want to focus on next year already. Having a week off, as such, where players are gone slows us down a little bit more, but the players have been good. They have been focused, which is tremendous, and they have been tremendous professionals. It would be nice to come back and turn around after that disappointing Seattle game and play Vancouver immediately, but I think it is still fresh in everybody's minds."
On what the team's intensity level will be against Vancouver
"I think that their intensity level will be very, very high. [Vancouver have] not done well in the Cascadia games and our last game was very disappointing so we are going to come out fired up and I am expecting the same from them so it will be a very lively game."
On Kris Boyd's recovery
"He has been working hard and there is a chance that he could be cleared for the San Jose game, which is well ahead of schedule. With Kris we've been very impressed with how much time he spent at the gym, how much time he spent on the field, and if that is a sign of things to come he may be available for the San Jose game. We still haven't put him out there with a ball and the rest of the group and tested him that way, but he has recovered very, very well."
On Steven Smith's health
"He trained properly all week and, you know, for Steven it's been an injury that has come and gone, not come and gone but that has given him a little bit of a bother this season and it is something that, I think, needed a little bit of downtime for him and now he's ready to go. He's fully fit and healthy."
On Kalif Alhassan's health
"Kalif is back and training for the first time in a long time and there is not as much pain in the knee. We are still having some small issues but with Kalif we have just got to see how quickly we can effect his fitness. For us he is a very talented player, it is just going into the Vancouver game with the amount of work that we are requiring from the players going into this game that is the only question mark over him at the moment."
On the status of Mobi Fehr
"Mobi is a player that we brought in to have a look at. Seventeen years of age and his rights are owned by a Swiss club and we just wanted to bring him in and have a look. We are always looking at bolstering the squad as such and he would be looking at, if we did bring him on board, at one of the apprentice slots, the supplemental slots, and I think that the eye has to be always on developing and strengthening the squad and Mobi Fehr is a talented young player and he is one that we will continue to watch. We had him in here for just under three weeks. We were impressed with what we saw and now there is the whole protocol of going through the league rules and everything else and we will see where we end up with him."
On if Mobi Fehr's trial is over
"Yes. We are going to keep the players, a lot of the younger players, in right through to December and we are going to use that time frame as well to bring in some players on trial, to have a look at them, to see how they adjust, and to see what they can do here. I think one of the best things to find out, one of the most important things to find out about a player is when they come into Portland do they like it? Do they like the environment? Do they see themselves playing here? Also, for us to get to work with them on a day to day basis is very, very important."