Steve Dykes - Getty Images
The Timbers practiced today at their Beaverton training facility in preparation for this Sunday's match against the Seattle Sounders. Hanyer Mosquera, who was injiured while playing against D.C. United over the weekend, saw his first time back on the practice pitch since going down.
Today's training session was run by Gavin Wilkinson and closed just as warm ups were wrapped up. After practice was reopened the Timbers' reserves played a short sided game while the usual starters and bench players headed inside or watched from the sidelines. Lovel Palmer, Eric Alexander, and Rodney Wallace were all among the group not taking part in the short sided game.
Injuries and Absences
Hanyer Mosquera continued his recovery from a pulled hamstring and participated in practice for the first time since picking up the injury against D.C. United. According to Wilkinson, Mosco had a light practice today but his chances of playing against the Sounders on Sunday are still 50-50.
Steve Purdy did not practice with the team today as he has been called up to the El Salvadoran national team for World Cup qualifiers, Wilkinson confirmed. According to Wilkinson, Rodney Wallace and Lovel Palmer were also called up for national team duty with Costa Rica and Jamaica respectively, but will not leave until Monday.
Kris Boyd, Kalif Alhassan, and Ian Hogg all remained out with long term injuries. Alhassan, who has suffered from patellar tendonitis this season, is the most likely to make it back for one of the Timbers three remaining games, while Hogg and Boyd are both likely out for the remainder of the season.
Chris Taylor, who is on the season ending injury list after undergoing hip surgery, was at practice today and mentioned that his hip was recovering well.
Trialists and Guest Players
17 year old defender Mobi Fehr continued his trial with the team today. Fehr will likely remain with the team for the remainder of the season.
Cam Vickers, a veteran of the Timbers U-23's, continued practicing with the Timbers.
Joe Wheelwright, who plays in goal for the Timbers U-16 academy team, practiced with the team again today. Wheelwright practiced with the senior squad once last week as week.
On how a win against Saturday could make up for going winless on the road so far
"[It could go] a long, long way in our fans minds and in the players minds. Obviously it is something that has been a big problem for us and one that we need to correct and that would be a great platform, building on the end of the season performance of the players. It would be huge."
On what a win would mean to him
"I really haven't thought about it. It would be great, just answering right now. Any time you play Seattle, if you get a good result it would be fantastic for the organization and having been around this organization for a long, long time you start to feel the rivalry and believe in it a lot more.and live and breath it.
For me, it would be, obviously, tremendous. The coaching staff in general, the organization in general, we have to understand that it is going to be a very, very difficult task. Seattle are a good, good team. They are doing well and with sixty plus thousand in the stands it is going to be an exciting game."
On playing in front of such a large crowd
"It is one that [the players] are relishing the opportunity of and we just need to turn up and do what we do and perform to the best of our ability and hopefully put the ball in the back of the net a few times."
On being able to evaluate the players on such a big stage
"You start to look at the mentality and it is no different. I think there is pressures playing at home, but good pressures. I think that if you asked most players around the league they would love to play in a stadium like Portland where there is a level of excitement, a level of expectation, and there are pressures that actually come with being a professional athlete.
Playing in Portland is no different. If you can play in front of twenty thousand passionate fans, you can play in front of sixty thousand Seattle fans. For us, it is going to be a good stage, it is going to be exciting, and it is one where the players have to do well. It is a good test for them."
On if playing in front of the fans in Portland better prepares players for away games in places like Seattle
"I think so. When you play in front of a big crowd, the biggest problem is the level of noise and distraction and for us we have done that time and time again at Jeld-Wen. It is very, very important to us that we concentrate as a group and we get the jobs done and we communicate but understand that there are going to be challenges and those challenges aren't ones that we can't overcome."
On Donovan Ricketts and Diego Chara
"Donovan trained lightly. It is still a big question mark. Diego is still a big question mark. For us, it is a very important game so we would like to field the best team available, but that team has to be healthy and we don't want to be making changes early on in the game."
On Hanyer Mosquera
"[He is] fifty-fifty. He trained lightly today and it is no different to Ricketts, it is no different to Diego Chara at the moment with what we are looking at. For Hanyer it is an ongoing evaluation."
On how badly the players want to get on the field against Seattle
"If they are injured, they are unavailable. If they are hurt, they are available. There is a difference. To me it is down to their individual desire to get in the game and I know, for a fact, that everyone wants to play in this game. The want to get the job done and, also, I think many players have said that it is a chance to repay our fans because they are tremendous fans.
The Timbers Army is exceptional and this is an opportunity for us to repay them for their level of support all season. Going in to Seattle we know that we are going to have a good traveling base of fans and all the players want to be involved. They want to participate and it is exciting when you are playing on the big stage in front of so many people. That players want to get involved is a healthy sign."
On the Timbers approach to the game against Seattle
"You have to go in looking to score because you look at their home record and they have scored a lot of goals at home and we have to understand that to get a result we have to create chances and we have to put our chances away.
A draw would get the job done, and it would be satisfying and we would accept that with a good performance and obviously a point would be very good, but you go into the game trying to win. We need to win on the road. It is something that we need to solve that problem. It is something that has been hanging over us all year and we need to get rid of it before next year."
On the Cascadia Cup being on the line
"When you go into Seattle you are going to be under pressure. I don't think it is a place you can go into and absorb pressure for ninety minutes. I think you have got to go in and be positive in the way that you play. You have got to look to play your own style where possible and for us it is important that we do create chances, get forward in numbers, and look to put those chances away.
We are not being pessimistic, but you look at stats and you start to look at, Seattle do cause problems at home. They do score goals. I think they have only had three games at home this season where they have not scored. It is possible. We need to go in and be positive and play the way that we want to play. We have to create chances and, as I said, put them away, but getting a result is the first thing. Getting a win would be phenomenal but we understand that it is a very difficult challenge."
On what actually holding the Cascadia Cup would mean to the team
"It would be phenomenal. It would be... It would get rid of a little bit of the sour taste in everyone's mouths right now. I think we have a good core group. We do need to make some adjustments and solve some problems, but I think that one of the things that the players have done is shown the fans that they have got ability and that they can play an attractive style of football while trying to get results and that maybe in a different year the same performances would have gotten a little bit more.
Having the Cascadia Cup would be phenomenal, but we have to get the job done. We don't want to look that far forward. We have got ninety minutes ahead of us that is going to be an absolute battle. It is a rivalry that everyone loves and appreciates, but it is one that we need to start to come out on top. It is very, very important to the group. It is very important to building for next season. It is very important to repay our fans, it is a fan trophy, for what we have gone through this season.
There is a lot of motivating factors and for us as a coaching staff and for the players we understand the level of importance and it is one that we have to manage."