It's all gotten a little too familiar, asking Coach John Spencer on a Monday what he thinks about a loss on the previous Saturday. Oh well.
The Monday training session followed the same general pattern as others earlier in the season, with the whole team warming up together, before the starters and John Ireland headed for the gym to continue their regen workouts. The one exception was Kris Boyd, who stayed out to scrimmage with the rest of the lads.
Two defensive trialists are playing with the team this week -- Andreas Dober, the Austrian former Rapid Wien fullback is here, as is Scotsman Steven Smith, to whom Chill503 alerted us last week, most recently of Preston North End of English League 1.
Updating y'all on injuries, Rodney Wallace is still out, without a timetable for return from his ankle sprain. Marcelin is also out, also without a timetable for return.
The good news is Futty Danso and David Horst are both participating in full training this week and got their first action today in the half field scrimmage. They looked good, but Horst will likely spend some time getting fit with the reserve team before he's back with the first team. No word yet on whether he'll be available to play in this Sunday's reserve match in Vancouver.
Additional news and thoughts from John Spencer and Mike Chabala after the jump.
Joe Bendik and Jake Gleeson, both recovering from knee injuries, were both on the pitch getting in some hand work, but still not on their feet in front of goal. Bendik could start training at the end of the week, and Gleeson is day to day at this point. MLS reserve keeper Brian Rowe is still in camp with the Timbers for the time being, but for now it is unclear whether he'll stick around until this weekend or if Bendik or Gleeson will be available by then.
One last bit of news is that the Timbers U23s return to training this week, in preparation for their 2012 campaign. We'll have more on that group in the coming weeks, but the team is excited to see some of the newcomers on that squad.
Video of John Spencer and Mike Chabala below.
Coach John Spencer
On dealing with a losing streak
Yeah I think confidence is a big thing, we need a wee bit more confidence rather than attitude. Losing can become a habit as well as winning. The easiest thing for us to do right now as a coaching staff and a playing staff is to feel sorry for yourself. I'm pretty sure there's a lot of people out there happy about the situation we're in right now, and so it's only us that can put it right.
As a coach, do you tear them down now or pick them up?
It's a little bit of both, of everything really. You've got to try and pick them up for the game, there's no doubt about it, but obviously we've got to try and point out mistakes, the mistakes we've been making in games that's costing us. I will say another decision could go our way -- Kris Boyd's second goal he gets called for offside; I don't think he was offside. And I say, we could point to a decision going our way or not going our way in every single game that could change the face of the game, but right now we're just not getting the breaks.
More on the Galaxy match
I think that if we go in at half-time 1-0 up, it's a different mentality in the locker room. When we went into half time 1-1 it was like deflation. We played some good football after the first initial seven to nine minute period, and then we come into the game, Boydy scores, and as I say unlucky not to go 2-nil up. And you look at it thinking, you know what, we get to half time, regroup, make a couple of adjustments, and then we go out feeling good about ourselves in the second half. But as I say that goal kind of sets you back, you know, guys come in wondering how we're not a goal ahead, but you know, when you dive into guys like Robbie Keane, they're gonna punish you and that's what he did.
On the next opponent
Well, obviously we just got back in today, not telling them anything regarding Kansas right now. But, big, big, powerful team, a lot of direct balls from front to back -- I'm sorry, from back to front, and to CJ Sapong. And then they play off him, they've got Graham Zusi, who's a young player emerging, a central midfielder that can strike the ball very well from set pieces and the run of play. They're a quality team, that's why they've won all their games this season. Salt Lake went there and obviously found it very difficult. It's a difficult team to play against home or away. It's another big game. As I say, there's no better place to play against one of the best teams in the country at home, and hopefully guys will be up and ready for it.
On bringing in trialists and potentially increasing competition in the club
It's like any job in any walk of life or profession. You've got to do your job. I'm no different, in fact, if we continue to be on this, this form, and we keep losing games, then my job's on the line. And that's no different from players. I told my players this weekend that we're in this together, and the only way we're going to get out of it is me sticking by the players and the players sticking by the coaching philosophy and what we're trying to build here. And you know, you're always under pressure. You don't produce, you're out the door, plain and simple. And that'll be the same as any person who has a job in today's world.
On what John Ireland brings
Well, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. I played under him when he was a fitness coach in colorado in 2001. Just with his methods, mentalities, and his philosophies towards the fitness side of the game, nutrition. He definitely prolonged my career for a couple of years, and I felt a huge benefit in working with him. We would have brought him here right at the start if the situation had been right, but you know, sometimes you have to wait for good people. So he's come in, the guys have really responded well, and obviously his work will take, you know, a couple of weeks, a month to be in there and see the fruits of his passion, the fruits of his labor, and we'll see where we go.
Palmer as a center midfielder
Yeah possibly. I think Lovell will probably tell you that he probably prefers playing in that position more than in the right back area. So for us, you know, put Steve Purdy out there -- I think Steve did all right for his first game in a long time. And as I say, people get a chance to play, you just hope that they grasp that chance and don't look back from there.
On the competition for the starting lineup with guys returning from injury (not included in the video above)
As an ex-player, you know that you should perform better when there's somebody on the bench with equal ability as you, to get you going, and then you know that if you don't play well enough, then you get subbed out and the guy comes in and takes the position off of you for four or five weeks. Nobody enjoys sitting on the bench, watching games, so the more players we can get back fit and healthy, the competition gets better, and hopefully our performances will be better.
I think we're all disappointed. The only thing we can do is just look in and make the changes that we need to on the field to get ourselves ready for next week. They're a good team, they've got a lot of good players, and, you know I think we played some good stuff at times, though, and we let ourselves down at times, though.
I think coming up this weekend, you know, I look back to last year, against LA at home when they were going on their ten-game or so unbeaten streak. And you look at a team like Kansas City that's oozing with confidence and you know, probably licking their chops trying to come in here.
But this isn't a struggling team -- there's too much quality and potential in this group, and I think all of us just need to look in, believe in ourselves, which I think is the biggest message. And, you know, obviously, learning from our mistakes.