The Timbers started off today's practice after their day off by wishing a happy birthday to Diego Chara who turns 26 today. After that it was down to business, as new fitness coach John Ireland continued to change up the Timbers warm up routines. After the Timbers completed some running and ball control drills, practice was closed to the press.
On the pitch with the Timbers for warm-ups was Hanyer Mosquera, practicing for the first time since receiving a concussion and slightly fractured orbital against the New England Revolution. As practice was closed, it is hard to say how much of training he took part in but he was not still on the pitch after practice with the rest of the team and it is likely that he continued his work out inside after the warm-ups were completed. He was not, as some have speculated, wearing a mask during warm-ups.
More practice notes plus quotes from Lovel Palmer after the jump.
Kalif Alhassan and Troy Perkins both warmed up with the team as well. Both players left the pitch early after warm-ups on Tuesday. At the end of practice, both were still on the field with Alhassan running laps and Perkins continuing to work with the rest of the keepers and keeper coach Mike Toshack.
Sebastian Rincon, who will head to Colombia on Monday to finalize his loan deal to the Timbers according to a tweet team owner Merritt Paulson, was also still with the team today. More specific information about what Rincon will be doing in Colombia was not available.
After practice a number of Timbers stayed on the field to work on their crossing and finishing. Kris Boyd, Bright Dike, Sebastian Rincon, and Brent Richards took an number of shots on goal resulting in some very nice finishes and more than a few strikes off of the cross bar. Richards in particular found the woodwork time and again, although by the time he was done his shots were very dialed in.
Cameron Knowles, one of the Timbers assistant coaches and a former USL Timber, was the guest goalkeeper of the day, blocking away several shots that strayed too close to him. At one point Boyd placed the ball on the penalty spot and Knowles, wisely, stepped out of the way.
Ryan Kawulok took a break from practicing his crosses to take a couple of shots on goal as well. Although his chips were somewhat lacking (one fell very short and Knowles punted it out of the air and practically into the east side stands), Kawulok's more direct shots looked accurate and bent nicely into the the net. In practice scrimmages, Kawulok's shots from distance have often impressed, particularly with his ability to put them on frame in areas that are not easy to save.
On the influence of John Ireland on practices
He came in and he wants to make his mark. He has been giving us a lot of work and the guys have been responding well. He's a part of the coaching staff, just like [Karim Derqauoi, the Timbers former fitness coach], so we give him the respect and do whatever work he asks us to do. He has the team's best interests at heart and he is just trying to make us as good as possible and strong.
On maintaining fitness throughout the season
First, I have to just try and stay as healthy as possible, limit the injuries, and the only way to do that is to do the work that John is giving us right now. That's the base, the foundation: try to be as strong as possible, as fit as possible, try to get the muscles strong, and try to be injury free.
On what the team needs to do to beat Chivas USA on Saturday
Play 90 minutes, play compact, be consistent in whatever we do, finish our chances. Well, first we have to create chances and then finish them. Work well as a team offensively and defensively.
On Darlington Nagbe and Diego Chara switching positions against Real Salt Lake
I don't think it changes anything, you know. I'm still a fullback. Diego, he becomes a right mid. He's a great professional, so whatever position you put him to play he is going to play well. I think, probably, my only problem was with the language barrier. When he is asking me to tell him step left or right along with 20,000 people in the stands, the language barrier was a bit hard. It doesn't really change anything. He is a good player and you get a role to play as a professional and you just play as best as you can do.