The Timbers got back into the swing of things today after returning from their last day off before taking on Vancouver in the club's final road game and chance to take home the Cascadia Cup. Today we check in with Gavin Wilkinson and the Timbers' Colombian contingent thanks to the team's translator.
Practice today at the Timbers' Beaverton training center was separated into two groups with Futty Danso and a group of younger players working out on the turf pitch while Sunday's probable eighteen were over on the natural grass surface. Training was closed briefly while Gavin Wilkinson addressed the team, after which both groups of players played small field games for the rest of practice.
Trialists and Guest Players
New to practice today was twenty year old winger Dustin Corea. Corea grew up locally in Milwaukie and played for both Milwaukie High School and East Side United in his teens before heading to college at Oregon State in 2010, the year after Danny Mwanga left for MLS. Corea then left the United States to try his luck as a professional in El Salvador and then in Europe. Currently he is under contract with Jonkopings Sodra IF in the Swedish second division. Worth noting is his nickname: the Ghost. Awesome.
Check out his wikipedia page here for some interesting background on his time with the USA U-17's and El Salvadore U-20's.
Cam Vickers also continued practicing with the team.
Injuries and Absences
Kris Boyd, who has been working his way back from an adductor strain for the last month, continued to make strides in his return to fitness, shooting the ball at practice today for the first time since getting injured. Boyd again warmed up with the rest of the team before breaking off to work with fitness coach John Ireland.
Lovel Palmer, Rodney Wallace, and Steve Purdy all returned to Portland from their respective national teams yesterday and were on hand for practice but did not participate, instead undergoing a regen session with trainer Nik Wald.
Ian Hogg (who totally exists) jogged around the pitch during warm ups before heading inside to work out in the team gym.
On the attitude of the team
"I think that you can see what it is like out here. The mood is pretty good. With everything taken into account, I think that they worked hard, their attitude has been tremendous, we have had no issues whatsoever, and they've each applied themselves. So, we are starting to focus on those that we might need for the last two games of the season. Separating the groups a little bit more and actually fine tuning one or two things. With the guys, their attitude has been tremendous and we've had no issues."
On if there will be any changes between the games against Vancouver and San Jose
"We may open the door for a few other players going into the San Jose game, but this game is a very, very important game, and I don't want to keep bringing up the past, as was Seattle and it was a disappointing result. This game, we are going into it, we just got [Rodney Wallace] and [Lovel Palmer] back from international duty, trying to get them ready for this weekend but this is the group that we are going with."
On if the team needs to refocus on Vancouver after the long break
"I think we have got a preparation process that we run through and Tuesday was a tough day for the guys. We have to make sure that we get the physical preparation in for the game against Vancouver. Today we are starting to mentally prepare them for Vancouver. There is no real surprises at this time of the season. We know what we need to do. We know how we need to prepare. It is just a matter of getting the job done. Today, in the preparation, making sure that they know how we want to play going in to the Vancouver game and how we think that Vancouver is going to play."
On if there is extra pressure on the team after losing to Seattle
"I think that after that result we need to make amends very, very quickly and we got punished for our errors in every way and we didn't punish Seattle last week. We have got to make sure that we do take our chance, we've got to make sure that each individual player is up for the challenge, and we need to make amends, as I said. Going in you have got to look at it. It is the end of the season.
The Cascadia Cup is something that we have to play for, that is something that the players understand, but obviously there was something lost in translation going into the Seattle game. Now it is a matter of making sure that everybody knows how important this game is, going through the San Jose game. It is just a matter of pride in the last game of the season. This one means something."
On if winning in Vancouver last year gives the Timbers an edge
"I think so. They are an older team and with the age comes experience. They know how to manage games and they've got themselves through the end of the season. They've not had great results going into this game. They played Chivas, a team that was out of contention for the playoffs, so hopefully they expect and know that they are going to get a different team in the Portland Timbers and they know that we have got something to play for. It is very important, I think, going in and knowing everything that there is to know against Vancouver. It is just a matter of being up for the challenge and getting the job done."
Hanyer Mosquera via a translator
On his fitness
"Thank goodness I am back. I am very happy to be back in training and I am very anxious to be contributing to the team."
On having to watch from the sidelines for the last few games
"It is just hard to be on the sidelines. You can't do much about it. You are a little impotent about it. On the other hand, I took advantage of the time I was out to heal properly from this injury and now I just willing ot get back out on the field and do what I need to do."
On the team's defensive struggles on the road
"What I have noticed is that when we play away the home team tends to score fast on us and once you are behind on the score you try to move your lines up and therefore you can leave the defense a little unprotected and they will make you pay for it and I think that is what has been happening. We are trying to catch up to the score and they are taking advantage of that."
On if the team just needs to prevent giving up an early goal
"I think that the idea is to try to come out in the game really concentrated on it and try not to make those little mistakes that are costing us and I think that as the game progresses there is going to be a play up front that the guys are going to take advantage of it and score. Hopefully we will be able to get a win. We only need one goal to win. A one-zero score is good enough for us."
On having an extra week of training between games
"I tried to take advantage of the time to recover properly from my injuries and tried to be back at one hundred percent for this very important game that we have on Sunday for Vancouver and just working hard trying to get that victory so that we can bring the trophy home."
On if having a break just before the end of the season was poor timing
"I think it effects in the point that our season is pretty much over because we didn't make it to the playoffs, but I also think it helps because it gave us a chance to reflect on the game against Seattle and think about what we need to do to correct those mistakes."
On what he can take away from the game against Seattle to prepare for Vancouver
"I think that the main thing is concentration. We need to come out focused on the game. In the game against Seattle they scored on us in the first fifteen minutes and at that point the game was completely different."