Under a distinctly Portlandian drizzle, the Timbers held a closed training today ahead of their match with old foes, but league newcomers, the Montreal Impact. The Timbers travel to Montreal tomorrow to get in a day of training in Mntreal before Saturday's game at the Stade Olympico.
Two months in to the season, the Timbers are finally starting to look more healthy than injured with 27 of the roster's 30 players actually making the pitch for warm-ups today. David Horst was on the pitch after missing practice yesterday, while Kalif Alhassan, Jake Gleeson, and Andrew Jean-Baptiste were all that were missing today. Alhassan and Gleeson are both recovering from knee injuries. Jean-Baptiste, however, is not listed on the injury report and was, according to the Timbers' front office, working on an alternative training regimen in the gym.
Trialist Steven Smith was still with the team as predictions of only a week long trial for the former Rangers man become increasingly incorrect. Also still with the team is MLS pool keeper Brian Rowe. Rowe has backed up Troy Perkins for the last two games, but with Bendik's return from injury nearing completion, Rowe's time on the Timbers bench may be coming to an end.
After practice concluded and the press were let on to the field very little other tan some light stretching was going on.
On if he has ever played in a domed stadium
Not that I can remember, no. I am looking forward to it. It is a great chance for us to go and get three points on the road. We've come off the back of a great result this weekend and we know that if we go and we work hard there is a great chance we come back with three points.
If we go and perform the way we did over the weekend we have a chance of coming back the following Saturday at home and making it three wins in a row, so that is an incentive in itself.
On being prepared to play as hard against Montreal as they did against Kansas City
(For this question Eric Brunner decided to get in on the action, leaning in to the press scrum and holding his hand in Boyd's face as though he had a recorder. It was funny.)
I think it is the only way we're going to win the game. We know every game in this league is difficult and it is up to us to go with the same attitude that we showed on Saturday at home. It is going to be difficult but it is up to us to maintain the form that we showed over the weekend and go in and express ourselves on the pitch on Saturday.
On the veterans maintaining the leadership they showed against Kansas City this weekend in Montreal
I just think that it is a long season and we are telling ourselves and, more than anything, reiterating that it is a long season. There is going to be peaks and valleys. We got out of one, but there are also those peaks where you have to keep going, so when times are tough, you have got to make times good for yourself.
It is something to build off of. We worked hard and created the opportunity for the goal. I don't think anybody will say that we played our best game on the night, but we kept up with a physical, aggressive team and that is what we are going to have to do.
On the road things have been a challenge and it is going to be a long travel. They're a team that I think is going to be up for a battle and they are looking for points too. It is going to come down to the same thing: the guys that do the job stepping up and carrying that same attitude. It is important that you step out on the field every day with something to prove and that is what we have to do.
On if the team is underestimating Montreal because they are an expansion team
I think that if you look at the power ratings and all that other stuff, people are rating us 14th or 13th best in the league and I think that everyone in this locker room thinks differently from that. I think that we are best when we have something to prove. With that being said, I don't think that people are expecting us to go up there and roll over them one bit, so I think that once again we have something to prove.
We got ahead of ourselves in the New England game before. I think it is good and it's time that we be a humble group though and take one game at a time and start to build a little but of momentum going forward for our club.
On not suffering a let down after the win on Saturday
We just need to keep the energy high. With that game and all the positives that came out of it I think that everybody took a deep breath. If you want you could say that the monkey is off our back, but just going in to this game it is just things that we were working on all week in practice the week before: putting pressure on the ball, avoiding wide service, but more importantly just making sure that we come out with something to prove. I think that, for us, is the biggest part.
You hear guys saying, express yourselves and go forward and get the ball wide, play good soccer, but you watch Barcelona and Chelsea and it is an effective game. You get the ball forward and it doesn't have to be pretty or cute and 80% possession as long as you are effective on the night. Whether we are working great offensively or whether it is a scrappy game, we just need to do whatever is working. If Boydie is on or if [Darlington Nagbe] is on, maybe if Eric Alexander is on or whoever is on you have got to feed those strengths and stay away from our weaknesses and I think that comes with experience. Like I said before, last week, the older guys and the veteran guys need to step up at this moment and that is what we are going to do.