Sorry this training report is getting to you all so late. Wednesday's should be up and running in a much more timely manner. -Will
Today's training session for the Portland Timbers was an emotional one as Eddie Johnson took in practice for the first time since his decision to retire was announced last week. It was Johnson's first time seeing his teammates since the decision as well and throughout practice several Timbers broke off to talk to him.
Several players were not at practice today including Kalif Alhassan, David Horst, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Sebastian Rincon, and Jake Gleeson. Alhassan is continuing his recovery from a knee strain. Gleeson and Horst are also working their ways back to full fitness but had been practicing with the team recently. Rincon and Jeam-Baptiste both reportedly practiced yesterday and were hanging out at the entrance to the team locker room at the end of practice, but no information was available on their status.
More training notes after the jump.
While a number of Timbers were absent, there were some notbale faces in practice as well. Rodney Wallace, James Marcelin, and Futty Danso all practiced today, taking part in the full training session which focused around a short field, 9v9 game with the rest of the team working fitness when not on the field. Each of the recently injured players looked a step behind, mentally and physically, but did not look out of place on the field. Danso showed the most rust as his positioning was somewhat lacking on the day. Wallace looked to be the closest to a return, based on his performance in the game, and was unsurprisingly playing very far forward compared to the other fullbacks.
Trialist Steven Smith remained in camp and worked out with the team today, taking part in the 9v9 games. This was the first view of Smith in a game situation available to the press and, given the circumstances, he looked good. Smith seems to fit the more defensive and industrious mold of Mike Chabala more than the attacking and athletic mold of Rodney Wallace. Although it was hard to tell from one day of observation, he did not look like a big upgrade from the Timbers' current left back talent.
- From watching his play in the 9v9 games, I feel safe in predicting that Mike Fucito will be called "scrappy" very often.
- Fucito put himself in good positions and seemed to be fitting in well on the attack, although he did have several moments that could have been either great passes or terrible touches.
- Kris Boyd and Jorge Perlaza were paired up as strike partners in the 9v9 games and showed the best understanding with each other of anyone on the team, including a great flicked on pass away from goal by Perlaza that found Boyd for an easy tap in.
- Hanyer Mosquera and Diego Chara were also on the same team and they showed the best defensive understand out there.
- Although he did not stand out all too often in the 9v9s, Ryan Kowaluk consistently is at the head of any fitness running. His level of endurance is astounding.
- James Marcelin is a beast. Players just get tossed to the side when he comes for the ball.
- Brent Richards had some slick moves out there and, at one point, beat his man to go 1v1 with Troy Perkins who shut him down cold.
- All three keepers (Perkins, Joe Bendik, and Brian Rowe) made some good saves.
Today's quotes are going to have to wait until Wednesday sometime. -Will