The Timbers held a closed practice at their Beaverton training facility today as they prepare to take on Vancouver in the team's final chance to bring home the Cascadia Cup.
Today started out with the usual warm ups before practice was closed early on. When practice reopened later on, the team was focused on finishing drills going on at the far end of the pitch.
The most interesting action on the day took place after most of the team had headed inside and Joe Bendik, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Ryan Kawulok, and Jake Gleeson donned pink t-shirts to take a photo to support breast cancer research. Although they started off taking normal photos, by the end of the shoot jump kicks abounded.
Trialists and Guest Players
Trialist Dustin Corea continued his time working out with the team today. When asked about Corea, who he coached with East Side United four years ago, Gavin Wilkinson said that Corea was a player the team was tracking although he did not play a position that is a priority for the Timbers. Corea also trained with the Timbers at the beginning of the season as well as the U-23's.
Cam Vickers also continued training with the team today.
Injuries and Absences
Although some are still recovering from injuries, every Timbers player made an appearance on the pitch at practice today. Chris Taylor, who has been out since early in the season after undergoing hip surgery, jogged around the pitch at the start of practice for the first time since his injury.
Kris Boyd and Ian Hogg, both recovering from injuries of their own, participated in the warm ups at the start of practice. Boyd continued to practice with the team as practice was closed while Hogg broke off to run under the supervision of fitness coach John Ireland.
Rodney Wallace, Steve Purdy, and Lovel Palmer were all back in training today after undergoing a regen session yesterday. Despite regularly returning from international duty with injuries, all three Timbers internationals managed to come back without any knocks and will be available on Sunday against Vancouver. Gavin Wilkinson refused to comment on what role Rodney Wallace and Lovel Palmer would play, only saying that they "will be involved in some capacity."
On Dustin Corea
"Dustin is just coming back from Sweden. He is a player that has come out and trained with the U-23 team, been involved inthe U-23 team in the past, trained with the first team going in to the start of the season. He's just a player that we've kept an eye on, to be honest.
I coached the player personally for many years and technically he has got a lot of good attributes. It was interesting to see how he's developed while he was gone in Sweden."
On how playing overseas has helped Dustin Corea to develop
"He's a better player now and a player that hopefully we'll be able to bring in for preseason when Caleb Porter is here, but he is not a player that is high onour priority list. No disrespect to the player, it is just a player that we do want to keep tabs on."
On Chris Taylor
"Chris is in to it and jogging. He is coming off a very major surgery."
On Ian Hogg
"Ian Hogg is running an awful lot and working on his fitness. It is the wrong time of the year to be working on his fitness, but that is all there is for him right now. It is just straight running without the ball involved."
On Kris Boyd
"Kris got through seventy five percent of training and joined in, so most of our players that have been hurt are coming back."
On the players returning from international duty
"They are both fit and healthy and very jovial in the way they trained. Obviously, they are coming off a very successful stint with their respective countries. Both were very lively in training and injury free."
On if the players returning from international duty will play agaisnt Vancouver
"They will be involved in some capacity, but after they have been gone for a week and a half other players have been working very, very hard and it is balencing the mentality as well going into the next game. They may have an involvement."
On the team's preparations for the final chance to win the Cascadia Cup
"Practice is looking good. I think everybody looks really focused for the game and we are just preparing each day for this game. We know it is a really important game and, I guess, the good thing about it is to get a second chance at that Cascadia Cup.
It will definitely be a battle because they are trying to get into the playoffs and we are trying to get the Cascadia Cup. They haven't done very well against us or Seattle, as far as the Cascadia Cup, and we haven't done really well on the road, so one of us is going to have to change and hopefully it will go on our side."
On what the team can do to change the way thigns have been going onthe road
"I think all it takes is finishing our chances and I think in Seattle that was mostly our mistakes. It had nothing to do with, they didn't outplay us or anything. The possession was fairly even but we just got caught sleep on a couple of plays and we didn't finish our chances. If we have learned from the last game then I think we can get a result, for sure."
On what the problem was against Seattle
"I think, to be honest, we were really unlucky. Before the own goal I thought we were playing pretty well. They get the owngoal and then maybe a ten minute lapse is what we had. They get the own goaland then Eddie Johnson scores soon after, so I think that small period of lapse. That maybe just comes down to mental focus and I think that everybody is going to be pushing each other to get the result. We are there on the field to work for each other."
On how the team can refocus on Vancouver after the long layoff between games
"Hopefully everybody remembers the feeling that we had after that game. That weasn't a good feeling and I dopn't think that everybody wants to have a similar performance to that. Everybody, I guess, takes a look at themselves and sees what they can do better. I think this game is a chance to improve."