The Timbers held a full practice today after yesterday's light regeneration session as they prepare to face the Chicago Fire on Sunday. Today's closed session at Jeld-Wen saw only one change in personnel from yesterday.
Troy Perkins returned to the pitch to practice with the rest of the team after doing his own work out yesterday. Although his whereabouts yesterday are unknown, Perkins has trained independently after games before.
Kalif Alhassan and Steve Purdy once again warmed up with the team as they recover from injury. Both were still on the pitch well after practice had completed, practicing their passing with a number of other players. Alhassan was wearing a knee sleeve but did not seem to have any problems striking the ball (aside from his usual penchant for trying to chip the keeper).
Missing from practice were Jack Jewsbury and Futty Danso, both of whom suffered knocks against Houston on Tuesday. Both players were spotted coming out of the locker room and on to the pitch after practice concluded.
- After practice a number of players practiced taking penalty kicks. Eric Alexander consistently placed his into the upper corner in an impressive showing. Steve Purdy and Andrew Jean-Baptiste tried to follow suit but each clanged their shots off the post.
- Brent Richards stepped in to goal and made an acrobatic save of one attempted PK.
- While just shooting on goal Mike Fucito and Darlington Nagbe practiced their one-two passes.
- Sebastian Rincon was striking the ball very well today. He often tries to curve his shots around the keeper but today he was hitting the ball with power and it was working well for him.
- Sal Zizzo's crossing into the box was looking consistent and spot on until I made a note of it, at which point he promptly starting over hitting them.
On his reaction Futty's suspension
Flabberghasted. I don't want to get fined and suspended myself. Just flabberghasted.
On who will play in the center of defense
Well, Eric Brunner is recovering from a groin strain, so he or David Horst will step into that position.
On if he is comfortable with swapping in new defenders
We've got to be. There's nothing else we can do about it. What can you do? We can't go out and buy John Terry or Rio Ferdinand. You've got a squad of players that we've got great belief in. For us it is just what happens in the game you've got to deal with.
On the defense's recent performances
We've kept clean sheets therefore that gives you the chance to pick up points. For us, we're not winning games. That is what we want to do. We never set ourselves up Monday to Friday to go for a tie anywhere, home or away. Keeping clean sheets, all we have to do is make that final pass and I think that once we get the quality in that final pass we'll score goals and win games.
On breaking the team's scoreless streak
I think that the build up from the back four has been pretty good the last couple of weeks. It's the final ball, the quality of service, and the lack of the final pass into the forwards is just letting us down a little bit. I'd like to see a little bit more quality there. Once we see that quality, which I think the guys have anyway, we'll score goals.
I just think at times we're trying to rush that final ball rather than taking a little bit more time, having a little bit of patience, but I do beleive in the guys. I do beleive they have the quality to score goals and the final ball, the final cross, whatever it is, we need to take a little more responcibility to make sure that we make it right and make it good for the forwards to finish.
On Rodney Wallace's play in the midfield
He put a great ball in for Kris Boyd against the Dynamo. He's proved that he can deliver crosses into the box. I think that getting Kalif back and Songo'o back, they guys have good quality, it is just that we need to get games under our belts and get them into the groove. Once they put one ball in and Boyd scores or Darlington scores or whoever scores it will give them that little bit of confidence to keep doing it.
On how the lack of reserve games affects the return of players from injury
You've just got to try and train them. Kalif and Franck and Sal and other guys have been doing double sessions now for quite a while. Getting in the pool a little bit at Providence and doing some swimming so it's non-weight bearing. They've worked extremely hard and all it is now is just game fitness and getting games.
On how long Troy Perkins will wear his mask
It's down to him when he wants to take that off. Maybe he's just wearing it as a precaution right now.
On Jack Jewsbury
Jack's got a slight groin thing after the Houston game and he is day to day as well.
On the Chicago Fire
They're a good team. They've got four wins this year. They've got Dominic Oduro and [Patrick Nyarko] who are quick, young, strong players and they have a nose for goal, both of them, so we'll need to pay extra-special attention to them.
On Dominic Oduro
I think he is one of the quickest players, if not the quickest player, in the league and he does create a lot of chances just with that blistering speed. I think that we've coped in the games that we've played against him pretty well. Dominic can turn up and be very good on any given day so we have to give him that respect.
On what needs to be done to get another shut out on Sunday
I think that if you don't deny service, regardless of where the ball is on the field, they are going to put you under pressure and score goals against you. We've seen it ourselves when we've not stopped crosses coming in to the box and it is going to be no different [against the Fire]. We need to get pressure on every player that we play against, not just [Oduro and Nyarko]. They're good players and if you give good players time and space to play then they will punish you.
On the Chicago Fire
They're a good team. I think they got a good result against Kansas City. I think we're going to come out and we need a win. It's nice that we're getting points, but we'd like to get a few more.
On Chicago's quickness
They're fast but I think we have fast payers as well. It is going to be a double edged sword, I think. They're quick and prpbably have a good counter, as do we, so it is going to be a high paced game, I think.
On dealing with pressure from the Chicago forwards while trying to clear the ball
I think you just don't try to juggle [the bal]l in your box. In that situation you just get it out. We do a good job of winning those 50/50 balls from crosses and denying service. I think has been some of the stuff that we've needed to work on and we've been addressing it in training.
On the Timbers recent defending
Whoever has stepped in has done a great job and I think it speaks loads that we've had two shutouts, three on the season, which is good. We, as a whole, as a defense, start from Troy, through the back, like and through the team, would like to keep those going.
On getting out of the team's scoring drought
I think we know what we need to do and we're addressing those needs in training and we're just working hard, trying to create those chances so that we can get those goals.
On his recovery from injury
I'm feeling good. I'm getting back into it. Just doing rehab on it. It's fun to get back out. I was missing the guys while they were in Houston, definitely. Being back out here and seeing them in the locker room, it is definitely motivating.