Portland Timbers Training Quotes and Notes: No Gaps [Updated with Video]

During breaks from the quarter-field scrimmage, the boys ran around a track that snaked and meandered its way across the length of the field.

Monday's training session looked a bit more rigid in its structure, as all healthy players, including Saturday's starters, participated in full training. Spencer referred to it as a "light re-gen," but it looked a bit more strenuous than that. A sign of things to come, I suppose.

"There should be no gaps at this pace. No gaps!" - Fitness Coach John Ireland (shouting at stragglers jogging a few feet behind the rest of the group)

Ireland seems quite a bit more of a task master than Karim Derqaoui was. For one thing, all the training activities seemed more strictly timed, like there was a very tight schedule to follow. Starters switched off with reserves at regular intervals between running laps, as shown in the photo to the right, and playing a quarter field scrimmage.

During their "breaks" from the scrimmage, Ireland kept pushing the boys on their laps with all the tenacity of a drill sergeant. Honestly, it's been a while since I've seen the guys this beat during a practice. They definitely got a workout today.

At the end, players lined up and did the same stretches, instead of doing their stretches in a circle and sort of doing their own thing. Spencer and his assistants looked to me a bit more like generals reviewing the troops, rather than a bunch of guys getting together to play soccer. If anybody had a mind to phone it in today, there was nowhere to hide from the coaches' gaze -- or their heart monitors, for that matter.

"When you pass the ball don't just move your head -- move your [lovely] feet!" - Head Coach John Spencer

Coach Spencer was vocal with his team, during both the scrimmage and the keep-away sessions, particularly on the subject of passing and moving, as noted above. They also seemed to be working on communication, as the scrimmage featured more active communication than I've been used to hearing.

Some highlights from the scrimmage included Darlington Nagbe scoring like it was a bodily function and Bright Dike continuing to make his case ahead of tomorrow's Reserve match.

Kris Boyd put a few away as well, but in one notable head to head between him and Ryan Kuwalok, Kuwalok held is ground and marshaled Boyd out of bounds. I smiled.

Other notes:

  • Hanyer Mosquera is reportedly healthy and will train as normal all week. Coach John Spencer says he should be available to start on Saturday.
  • James Marcelin and Rodney Wallace were not training. Marcelin is still working his hamstring back to health, and Wallace sprained his left ankle during Saturday's game. They're not sure about a timeline for his return.
  • Franck Songo'o trained as usual, with no visible slowness after feeling some tightness in his hamstring on Saturday.
  • David Horst did a lot of jogging, running with just about every group that was running around the pitch.
  • There was one trialist was on the pitch, as zaggy pointed out earlier today: Brett Evans, a South African left back, 30 yrs old. He's played for Ajax Cape Town for his whole career and will be available to play in the reserve match tomorrow.
  • One notable surprise -- none of the keepers participated in the scrimmage; instead, two guys we've never seen before minded the nets. They aren't trialists, as they looked very young, so they're possibly high school kids from the Portland area. Maybe the coaching staff saw some similarities between high schoolers and LA keeper Josh Saunders.

I'll update with some video of a very polite John Spencer talking to the press once I get the hang of this whole youtube thing.

Update: Video uploaded. This is my first time using a new camera, so bear with me as I figure out the focus and all that.


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