With the Earthquakes already having clinched the Supporters' Shield and the Timbers having guaranteed that they are well out of the running for the playoffs, the main point of contention between the two teams seems to be the possibility of Chris Wondolowski tying or breaking the MLS single season scoring record. Wondo currently has twenty six goals on the season and the record is only one goal away at twenty seven. (Worth noting: in 2004, Brian Ching was the league's leading scorer with 12 goals, so Wondo has already doubled that total.)
The Timbers have been emphasizing that they do not want to go down in the history books as the team that gave up that twenty seventh goal and they have put in some long practices this week in preparation. Today's practice consisted of two groups, one working out in the gym and the other working out on the pitch. The group that started practice out on the field looked a lot like a usual Timbers game day eighteen with the additions of Kris Boyd, Kalif Alhassan, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, and Sebastian Rincon.
Injuries and Absences
Futty Danso and Eric Brunner both underwent surgery following the Vancouver game on Sunday and will be out for the remainder of the season and will likely not be back with the team until preseason next year. Futty underwent surgery to trim a tear in the meniscus of his left knee, while Brunner underwent surgery to repair the meniscus in his right ankle.
Hanyer Mosquera, who aggravated a tight IT band in his right knee against the Whitecaps, received a shot today in hopes that he will be available to play against San Jose this weekend. According to the Timbers FO, a decision will be made on Friday about Mosco's health.
Kalif Alhassan and Kris Boyd once again practiced with the team.
Trialists and Guest Players
Cam Vickers and Dustin Corea were both with the team today, although they were with the first group inside so I did not get to see either player practice.
On the feeling of lifting the Cascadia Cup
"It felt awesome. It is just, it's nice to get something out of the season. I know a lot of people are saying that it was still a crap season, but there are a lot of teams that have crap seasons that don't get anything out of the them and at least we got this out of it.
I think it is a good stepping stone going into next year as well. You know, you get that road win, get some confidence going forward. The guys looked good. Better late than never to get that road win, so I think that we are really excited about winning the rivalry this year."
On what the team is looking to get out of the game against San Jose
"It is still our job. We have got to go out there and we have got to play hard. No one knows what is going to happen next year. We have got a new coach coming in and nobody, except [Darlington Nagbe], knows him. It is still an audition. It is not a game that you can just say that it doesn't mean anything, because to a lot of the guys it does mean something.
A lot of the guys haven't gotten a chance to play this year and a lot of the guys will be able to show what they have got in that last game and Caleb will be watching, the assistant coaches will be watching, [Merritt Paulson] and [Gavin Wilkinson] will be watching. You just can't take the game off.
I don't want Wondo to break the record. I want to do everything I can to make sure that he doesn't. Guys have got to still be able to get something out of this last game and we have got to be professionals about it."
On preventing Chris Wondolowski from scoring
"It is tough to prepare for a team like San Jose because they work extremely hard and play extremely hard and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Teams have different styles. We have got to be able to go out there and work harder than them, we have got to have more heart than them, we have got to be able to get to those fifty-fifty balls before they do. The more skillful team isn't going to win this game on Saturday, it is going to be the team that fights the hardest and plays the hardest, so I think our guys are up for the challenge."
On the motivation to beat San Jose
"I think it says something about an individual to want to go out there and play hard even if the game doesn't mean anything. I think that says more about a person than going to a Seattle or a Vancouver game. It is what you do when a game doesn't mean anything that shows what kind of person you are, what kind of pro you are. I am curious to see how guys react to this game on Saturday."
On another potential chance change in the center of the defense
"It is up to the coaches who they are going to play. It doesn't matter who they put back there, we still have got to be defenders. We have got to be pros. We have got to lock down their forwards, whoever they are going to play. I am going to make sure that our defense, we are not going to let Wondo break this record on Saturday. Our first goal on Saturday is to win the game, our second is don't let him break this record. I'm not going to get my name in the record books for having him score against me. I think our guys will be ready and it doesn't matter who they put back there. We have been playing together for all year and we know how each other are going to play."