At training today, the Portland Timbers got ready to take on the Los Angeles Galaxy in tomorrow's match-up for control of the western conference basement. In another closed practice, the Timbers did not depart form their usual warm-up routine before the press was ushered off the field.
Training saw some good news coming as defender Futty Danso saw his first practice with the team since breaking his foot five weeks ago. Danso started the warm-ups with the team before separating to continue running laps of the field and eventually heading inside to continue his rehabilitation. For a player who had missed a significant chunk of time, Futty looked to be in good shape, only showing some slight rust in the warm-ups.
Some more good news in the notes plus quotes from John Spencer after the jump.
The good news continued with the return of young striker Sebastian Rincon, returned from his trip to Colombia at the beginning of the week. According to John Spencer, Rincon has been signed by the team but they are waiting on receipt of his international transfer certificate.
Also in attendance at training today were left back trialists Brett Evans, a 30 year old from South Africa who has been with the team all week, and the newly arrived Andreas Dober, a 26 year old Austrian. Both looked fine in warm-ups and composed during early games of keep away but practice was closed before they could be seen in any sort of game situation.
Although he practiced yesterday, Jake Gleeson did not train with the team today as he continues his recovery from a knee injury that kept him off of the practice field on Monday and Tuesday as well. With Jake's absence it seems likely that MLS pool keeper Brian Rowe, who is still practicing with the team, will travel with the team to LA to serve as the back-up for Troy Perkins.
After practice, when the press was allowed back out to the field, the Timbers continued practicing on their own. Franck Songo'o and Kris Boyd both took several penalty kicks and looked good doing so until Lovel Palmer stepped in to goal and blocked away one of Songo'o's less well placed shots.
On trialist Andreas Dober
He's an Austrian guy that wants to come over and play in MLS, so, we're bringing him in and having a look at him and we'll see where we go.
He's a right back so we'll look at him. He's got a good resume. It doesn't necessarily mean that you're a good player just because you've got a good resume, so we'll see what he's like. Looks like a decent athelite; speaks english, which I think is very, very important, especially playing in the back line. So, as I say, we'll see how it goes next week when we get back.
On Hanyer Mosquera
He'll start the game. He'll play. We never brought him here from Colombia not to play, so he is fit and healthy and playing well. He'll start the game so we are looking forward to getting him back.
On Kalif Alhassan and Franck Songo'o
The two of them seem to be clear of injuries with no soreness at all, so it will be a game-time decision which one of them will start.
On Sebastian Rincon
Sebastian is, I beleive, signed now. I think we'll be waiting for his transfer clearance. He's an eighteen year old kid that is going to be here. We're going to hopefully try and develop his potential and his talent. It comes down to him, how much he wants to work hard and how much he wants to develop himself. It's not just us making him a better player, he has to make himself a btter player and prove to us on a daily basis that he is good enough to get in the eighteen.
He's a nice young player. He has a chance.
On the starting line-up
I don't really want to talk about the starting line-up yet because obviously their coaching staff will be scouting our website to look for clus and stuff, so for us we'll just try and keep the starting eleven close to our chests.
On the Los Angeles Galaxy
I think you've got to focus on what their strengths are, just the same as our strengths. We'll look at their weaknesses, we'll look at their strengths. I think that's what you do as a coaching staff: identify where you think they can hurt us, try and nullify that, and then try and identify where we can hurt them. I think we have the potential to go and win the game. I do beleive we have the quality to win the game but it just depends on going out there, things going your way, getting a little bit of luck, and getting the ball down and passing it, and trying to play our game. We definitely have the quality, that's for sure.
On the width of the pitch at the Home Depot Center
It can only be so wide. They've got to play on it. New England played on it two weeks ago and they coped with it pretty well, so I don't see any problems for us.
On playing together despite different line-ups due to injury or eligibility issues
We mixed and matched a lot during the preseason so everybody got the chance to play alongside each other and try to strike up that relationship. We need to get guys back, not just for a game or two. We need to get Futty back for a long period of time. We need to get David Horst back for a long period of time. When you're missing guys like that then you're going to have troubles and I think that has been well documented this year. It is time to look forward. We've got a game tomorrow and you've got to forget what's happened in previous games and be confident and go and try to win the game.
On if this is a "must win" game for the Timbers as Landon Donovan said it was for the Galaxy
He aught to come up and play here because every game we play is a must win game. Every time you step onto the field hhere we're expected to win games. I don't say that if you don't win tomorrow you don't make the playoffs, because it is tooo early in the season to say that. Just look at how [Sporting Kansas City] last year turned their season around after going a long time on the road away from their new stadium, how many games they lost and then eventually became one of the best teams in the country and were unfortunate not to get to the MLS Cup finals. For me it is too early to start predicting things. It would be nice to go and win the game, for sure, but to say that if you don't win you're not going to make the playoffs...
I can understand his mentality. We would like to go and win the game also.
On if going on the road is a good thing after two home losses
No, because I think that is shirking responcibility a little bit and trying to get yourself bailed out, looking for excuses. The bottom line is that you're not going to win every home game. It would be nice to win every home game. Sometimes the best teams in the league don't win every home game, so for us it is great to play here, I love coaching here, it is always nice when we win games here, but you are going to have these ups and downs. To think that just because you have a tremendous atmosphere means that you're going to win every home game then you're so far off from actual professional sports in general.
On if there is any overreaction to the Timbers three game losing streak
I must admit, I do think people are, you know, jumping on the bandwagon far too early. I think that we've never, ever used the excuse of being the new team, the expansion team. I think that what we've done here as a young team, an expansion team, is we've actually entertained, we've put on some good performances. People have to realize that we're not the finishhed article. How many teams in Major League Soccer are the finished article? You're always looking to improve your squad, always looking for players to play better than they played the week before, and we're no different from any other teeam in the world.
I just think that we need to concentrate a little bit more, play a little bit better. I still don't think that we are playing to anywheere near the level that we're capapble of playing. I think we can get more out of Kris Boyd, I think we can get more out of [Darlington Nagbe], I think we can get more out of Kalif and Songo'o. We've still not hit our full stride yet and I think taht we'll only get that the more we play.
On the service to Kris Boyd
Quality strikers require quality service, but they've also got to move themselves. I think that Boydie hasn't played for a long time after that European season was over and then he obviously had contractual problems in Turkey so that stopped him from playing as well. You get in to a new club for the first couple of game and you're kind of riding on the emotion and the adrenaline and eventually that wears off and then it comes down to fitness. I think that he is the first one to say, and I am the first one to say also, that the quality needs to be better on the service in the box, but also his movement needs to be a little bit better too.
You've got to remember, we didn't have Kris Boyd for the whole of preseason with our team. That's an important part of the season is getting guys and getting them embedded in the system, playing day in day out and game in game out in the preseason. That's why we have ten or twelve preseason games. It's to get guys used to each other. Boyd is an important member of our squad, but he's got to get used to the type of service we put in the box or the type of service that we're not putting in to the box or what runs to make. For sure there's lots of things that need to be tweaked, but I don't think they are major, major problems.