The Portland Timbers practiced today under cloudy skies at Jeld-Wen Field ahead of their midweek break. Practice had a surprise in store as the Timbers reserves left the field following the team warm-ups in anticipation of a closed doors scrimmage against the University of Portland tonight. Without the reserves on hand, the Timbers first teamers were treated to some small field games interspersed with running overseen by fitness coach John Ireland.
Tonight's scrimmage will give the Timbers' staff a chance to see trialists Andreas Dober and Steven Smith in action. Dober and Smith both warmed up with the rest of the Timbers today before leaving practice early with the reserves. Brett Evans, who was on trial with the Timbers last week, was no longer with the team as his one week trial is over.
Missing from practice today were James Marcelin, Rodney Wallace, and Kalif Alhassan. During last Saturday's game against the Los Angeles Galaxy, Alhassan picked up a knee strain that saw him miss practice yesterday as well while Wallace and Marcelin are still recovering from the injuries, respectively a strained ankle and hamstring, that saw them sit out the last week of practices. Alhassan did make a brief appearance at the entrance to the team's locker room, wearing Lovel Palmer's #30 warm-up.
More practice notes plus quotes from Hanyer Mosquera after the jump.
Joe Bendik and Jake Gleeson both did not warm up with the team as they are still recovering from knee injuries but did come out later on to do hand work with keeper coach Mike Toshack. While both are out, MLS pool keeper Brian Rowe is continuing to practice with the team and will likely act as the goalie in tonight's scrimmage.
David Horst and Futty Danso remained with the first team after the warm-ups, rather than leaving with the reserves, and participated in the full practice, signalling that neither is ready to play actual minutes yet. During the short field games both did show their rust, but neither looked totally out of place. Horst in particular was a vocal presence on the field, keeping his side of the pitch well organized in a very visible way.
- Steve Purdy stayed with the first team at right back rather than Lovel Palmer.
- Franck Songo'o did not participate in all the running drills between short field games, instead spending time stretching.
- Kris Boyd scores highlight reel goals in practice too including one ball that he chested out of the air and volleyed past Troy Perkins before it hit the ground.
- Boyd can, and will, get a shot off when given the tiniest opening.
- Songo'o impressed with his ability to make space for himself with a simple juke and get a shot off.
- Diego Chara had several opportunities go to waste due to his reluctance to use his left foot, but when he had a chance to shoot with his right he looked deadly.
- All of the Timbers defenders got some shots off but Mosquera looked the most deadly, ripping one into the back of the net from a decent distance.
- Moqsquera and Horst both used their strength effectively in today's games, doing well to neutralize the agility of Darlington Nagbe and Franck Songo'o when marked up on them.
On his return from injury
I think it was kind of easy to see at the beginning of the game that I was a little afraid to just go up for the ball, just to head it out, but as the game progressed, I got a little more confident and hopefully I won't have any more inconveniences throughout the rest of the season.
On how Eddie Johnson's experience with concussions affected his own
The doctor was the one who talked to me about that particular instance where [Eddie] suffered that concussion and he said that I need to take things a little bit on the easy side, just to be sure that by the time I was ready to come back I was going to be really ready and not get injured again. I know it is taking him a long time to recover, so that is what we are trying to avoid.
Oh his adjustment to Major League Soccer
I think that one of my characteristics of play is that I am fast. I had the oppertunity to talk to [Diego Chara] and [Jorge Perlaza] and they were able to tell me that there are some forwards who are really fast, so before I came I just started working on it and I came with that mindset of contributing to this team. Hopefully we can bring them some success.
On coming in to a team with fellow Colombians on the roster
I am able to talk to Diego on the field and he tells me what I need to do, where I need to be, or who I need to pass the ball to, so he has been a tremendous help just because of the language barrier. They have been a great support.