The Portland Timbers returned to another closed practice today away from the prying eyes of the media after resting on Wednesday. Sebastian Rincon, known from Tuesday's practice report as the mystery player, continued his trial with the team, while Brent Richards was once again missing from practice.
Rincon, an 18 year old forward from (you guessed it) Colombia, has a frame similar to Bright Dike’s. While taking shots after practice he seemed very comfortable in the air, putting several powerful headers past Doug Herrick and Joe Bendick. His shots looked similar to Dike’s last year: powerful but slightly out of control.
Information on Richards was scarce, but after missing several days last week to a tweaked quad, it seems likely that he was once again held out as a precautionary measure. Richards practiced with the team on Tuesday.
There was yet another sighting of David Horst at this practice taking in the sights, and having to duck an errant shot, just outside the locker room. According to the Timbers press relations manager, Horst and Sal Zizzo’s rehabilitation from their surgeries are going well. Zizzo has been doing some running and is expected to return in the spring while Horst is still 4-5 months away from being able to play.
While playing keep away as a warm up at the beginning of practice, before the press were removed from the field, unsigned rookies Brendan King and Miguel Ibarra both looked significantly more comfortable than they did at the start of preseason. Both had nice touches on the ball and Ibarra in particular impressed with his ability to cut off the ball while playing defense.
On practice so far
It is good. I think that everybody has been progressing. We’ve come out here and worked hard. There have been quite a few two-a-days. The mentality is right so I think we are ready to get some games going.
On his second year in Portland
It’s different. I think the guys are just more comfortable in their surroundings and around each other. We have a great locker room so it makes for a good group and it is fun to come in here and work together.
On having players from all around the world on the roster
I think in pretty much every locker room around the league your are going to see plenty of that and I think that the group of foreign guys that we do have have embraced us and tried to learn our language as well as possible and have integrated themselves great. The staff has done a great job of doing their scouting so we have been getting some good guys in.
On the younger players coming to him for advice
Some of them need a lot of advice on what they are wearing, but I won’t name any names. There are a few of them that come around, whether it is on the field or off the field. I think that is part of being the captain.
On his new baby girl
It’s some sleepless nights, but she is getting into her schedule. It is great. It’s one of those things that you can’t really explain, but we’re happy as heck.
On the differences from preseason last year
The fact that we’ve already played and 11v11, full field game and it has only been ten days. I think last year we didn’t touch a ball for the first ten days. Certainly the attitude and the work ethic is tenfold better this year and the environment is exceptional.
On being a keeper in preseason training
They have to do a lot more running than we do, obviously, but our bodies take a lot more pounding at his time of year than theirs do, especially on this artificial surface. It beats you up pretty good. It may not look like we are doing much, but we feel it at the end of the day.
On playing other teams in Los Angeles
I’m very excited to get on some grass. I can’t complain about the weather. The weather has been fantastic here for the last two weeks. I’m really just looking forward to getting some competition.
On pressure to make the playoffs this season
With the signings that we have and the new contracts that have been put on players, what is expected from the guy upstairs is if you don’t make the playoffs you basically clean house at the end of the season. There is a lot of pressure and there should be.
On the Valencia situation being a distraction
[John Spencer] said it the best, we didn’t know what it was like with him, so we really don’t know what it is like without him. We’re here for the guy, we wish him the best, and hopefully it works out for him.
On Kris Boyd’s signing
It is exciting to get a quality player like that who is not looking for a one or two year vacation, taking a paycheck and a cup of coffee. Scottish guys work hard. They are tough guys and he’s going to fit in really well here.
On the other signings the team has made
We’ve got a great group of guys. There is no egos on this team and everyone gets along pretty well. When the guys came in the first day we were cracking jokes with them and they didn’t take it personally. It’s a good place to be.
On his second year in Portland
For me it is just another year, but for these young guys who saw a lot of time last year it is a big difference. They know what to expect, the quality is there, and they know that if it is not turned on every day it is not going to happen on the weekend for them.
On the environment in Portland
I don’t think anyone really knows what it is like until they get here.
On facing shots from his teammates
Bright hits a really heavy ball. You never know where it is going and he doesn’t know where it’s going either. Eddie Johnson hits a nice ball as well and the new guy, King, has a nice shot. He hits it well, has good placement. We haven’t seen too much finishing so far and I’m sure everyone will show something here.