With only three days before their next game, a friendly against Spanish side Valencia, on Wednesday, the Timbers had a regeneration day at Jeld-Wen Field to recover from their win over the Chicago Fire. Most of the Timbers starters were absent from practice today, instead spending time in the gym with the team's trainers.
The rest of the team practiced normally, going through the usual warm-ups before moving to a short field scrimmage. Jack Jewsbury and Jake Gleeson were the only notable absences on the day as the continue to work their way through injuries. Futty Danso was on the field for the first time since his injury against Houston and he spent his time jogging laps around the field. Joining Futty was injured designated player Jose Adolfo Valencia, getting on the field during practice for the first time since the opening on spring training this year.
Also training with the Timbers today was German trialist Stefan Riess. Riess, a 23 year old right midfielder, formerly played for FC Lustenau in the Austrian second division where he scored seven goals in twenty appearances last season. Riess would be available on a free transfer as his contract expires in June.
- Practice was closed.
- Nobody was doing anything interesting after practice was over today.
(I had to head to work, so there will be quotes from David Horst plus more from John Spencer posted later tonight.)
On the timing of Wednesday's game against Valencia CF
I think these games are great, to be honest with you. Who wouldn't want to suit up and play against a team that is going to play in the Champions League next year? Valencia are a top, top European team and it's a great game to play in. As a player I think it is something you should look forward to.
On who will get on the field against Valencia
I think with the big game coming up against Vancouver over the weekend we need to try and be smart with the squad and the minutes that we're giving. We're definitely going to start with what is basically our starting eleven and look to get a lot of the younger guys in during the second half.
We've got to be smart. We don't want to devalue the game at all. We're paying a money to bring them in and the fans are paying a lot of money to come and watch, so for us it will be a game like any other game. We're going to go out and try to win it, but obviously we will go out and make a few substitutions along the way.
On what fans should expect to see on Wednesday
I think fans should expect to see an unbelievable amount of quality from Valencia. I think we saw the same last year with Ajax coming in. They spend a tremendous amount of money, salary-wise. They're a big, big European team that is going to compete in the Champions League. You're going to see a team that is full of quality from back to front.
On if having a number of non-league games during the break will benefit the team
For sure. You want to play games. I think that we've got a decent squad and if you were talking to me earlier in the season when we had a lot of injuries and we played almost the same starting eleven, we're getting guys back, [Kalif Alhassan]'s back getting near enough to being healthy, [Sal Zizzo] and David Horst, we're getting to see the neucleus of that squad, our a-team, coming backand we're feeling stronger and more confident. For me, the more games that we get for Sal and Kalif and Horst, the better.
On yesterday's game against the Chicago Fire
I think passion-wise [it was what I wanted to see]. I think energy-wise [it was what I wanted to see]. Quality-wise, I'm still pining for more. I want to see us getting that ball down, especially in the opponents half, and then getting five, six, seven, eight, or ten passes and then shots at goal. I want to see quality football, so myself and the staff are greedy little so-and-sos right now. We want more.
I believe that we have the quality to get more, but at times like this you've got to fight tooth and nail. Sometimes in games you've got to win ugly. I wouldn't say it was our best performance, I certainly wouldn't say it was our worst performance, but we'll certainly take the three points.
On seeing Sal Zizzo back on the pitch
As I say, I would pay money to watch Sal Zizzo myself. He's the kind of guy, and I said it in the press conference afterwards, he's the kind of guy that when he gets the ball at his feet you can just sense the excitement in the crowd. HE doesn't always do the right thing, nobody does, but when he goes past that fullback and Dan Gargan is chopping him down you can feel the energy in the crowd and the belief coming.
He's a little bit different from most of the midfield players that we've got. He's an out and out winger and he does run beyond the back four and causes them problems. It's certainly nice to get him and Kalif coming back, and David Horst for sure.
On playing against Rodney Wallace with the El Salvadoran national team
It's great. We're going to have a chance to play against each other at one of the highest levels when a lot of people are going to be watching. There's a lot of passion with these games, so it's going to be very exciting.
On defending against Wallace when he slots into a midfield role for Costa Rica
I saw that with Costa Rica he has been scoring goals there at left mid, so I know in the winter he scored a goal and I think when he first came up he scored against the USA. He does a really good job at left mid for Costa Rican and recently for the Timbers. I play center back for El Salvador but there still might be a couple of chances where I go one on one with him.
On Valencia CF
They're a team that is going to punish you if you make mistakes. That is what our main focus should be: to play simple, play solid defense, and, when we have those opportunities to score, to take advantage of those so that we can get up early or switch the tide of the game to where we can kind of control play a little bit.
On the Cascadia Cup match on Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
It took a little while for it to start up but now that it is here there is obviously a lot of passion. It is going to be great to play Vancouver in Portland. I think it's a great opportunity for us to get some momentum. We got a win in last night's game so we've got to keep that going into the break and especially if we get a Cascadia win that is going to just give us a lot of momentum and a lot of energy for the next game after the break.
On the importance of Saturday's match against Vancouver
Call it what you want, it is a big deal and it's a chance for us to move up the table.
You don't want to go into a time off without a win, or at least a good performance.
On Vancouver's improvement from last season
They've got good players but in the league, as you've seen, anything can happen. They could go on a six game losing streak or a six game winning streak. It's up to them, and it is also up to us to make sure that it doesn't happen against us.
On what Sebastian LeToux adds to the Whitecaps
He gives them something that they didn't have last year. He's someone that can just create things himself. He's an incredibly dangerous play and when he is on his game he is probably one of the most dangerous players in the league and I think he's someone that we have got to take care of early.
On the Timbers current form
We haven't stuck our heads in the sand and hoped that no one will see us. That's the way this league is, it's up and down. As you can see, LA goes on a huge winning streak last season, wins the cup, and now they are in last place in the west, so you never know. They could, all of a sudden, win ten games in a row. We could win ten games in a row. It's somethign that you can't really look forward to or look behind, you just have to stay with what game is ahead of you.
On if the team is moving in the right direction
You just keep plugging away. You keep doing the things you know how to do, you don't get down on yourself, and you sit back and understand that it will come.
On how much longer he will be wearing the mask
Probably at least two to three weeks, still. There are still fractures up in the sinus bones and everything else.
My kid likes to hit me in the face. It doesn't feel good. I'mgoing to wear the mask at home now, I think.
On if he will keep wearing the mask if the team keeps winning
No. It has nothing to do with it.
I just don't want to get kicked in the face. Once is enough, you know?
On Sanna Nyassi not getting suspended
It is incredibly strange. You know, I could sit here and rant and rant and rant and get in trouble for what I say but I'm not [going to]. At the end of the day, it is what it is. They make their choices.
I am still a little bitter about no reprecussion for taking the bottom of a boot in my face.
I know they sent the video out to a couple of other leagues around the world to get their opinion on it. I know the opinion wasn't good, but it is their decision and it is what it is.
On what to expect from Valencia
Good possession. It will be an entertaining game. They're a quality team. I don't know who they are bringing, if they are going to play their big guys or not, but no nmatter what a Spanish La Liga team is always entertaining to watch.