After canceling practice yesterday (a decision that came before the Timbers shocking Open Cup defeat), the Timbers got back on the pitch at their new training facility today. With a long rest starting for the first team and a reserve game tomorrow, the Timbers did not have a very strenuous practice but did close the proceedings to the press after completing their warm-ups.
A number of players were missing from practice today thanks to recent injuries. Eric Brunner, David Horst, Steven Smith, and Jack Jewsbury all picked up knocks in the last week and did not train today. Kris Boyd was also absent from training, as he had flown back to Scotland to get married. Steven Smith will also be departing during the break to get married, although he is still in town currently.
The Timbers were also missing five players to international duty. Futty Danso, Rodney Wallace, Steve Purdy, Lovel Palmer, and Jake Gleeson are all away with their respective national teams currently and will be returning over the course of the break, with Wallace and Palmer returning before the Timbers play another league game.
- Although he did not take the field, Steven Smith was at the training center and watched the end of practice from the entrance to the boot room.
- While much of the team took part in finishing drills after practice concluded, Mike Chabala ran several laps of the field and was one of the first inside, something that is quite uncharacteristic as he is usually on of the last players off the pitch.
- The shooting drills were not pretty. Although it is hard to say if they were actually worse than usual, I could not help but notice the number of balls that were ending up behind the net.
- The team's shooting did improve as they settled in, with Mike Fucito striking the ball particularly well. Darlington Nagbe also had several nice shots from tough angles.
On the players not currently with the team
Boydie is in trouble. He is away getting married, so he has had to fly back and take care of business there. Steven Smith will be another one who is flying back to get married as well, unfortunately. We tried to talk them out of it, but to no avail.
Jack is just struggling a little bit. He got a head knock the other day and he has got seven stitches in his forehead, so we just need to be careful with him. He has a little bit of a tight groin also, so it is a good time to have a little bit of niggles and strains as we've got a couple of weeks to get guys over it.
On how the team is moving on from the loss to Cal FC
We've got to move on. As I say, when things are going great, you know get a good victory at home, as soon as the clock strikes twelve going in to the next day you have got to forget about it even if you've scored a hat-trick. If you've won three-nil, lost three-nil, won ten-nil, it doesn't matter. You've got to move on. You can't dwell on the highs and you can't dwell on the lows. For us, we have got to move on and get back to getting back on the training field. We've got a game, a reserve game, tomorrow so the guys are preparing for that but come monday it is all systems go again.
On if the timing of the break is beneficial to the team
I think it is coming at a good time. Probably with the niggles and strains that we've got and with Boydie going back to get married it has probably come at a good time for us.
It doesn't really matter. The game is done and gone. The result is what it is. As I've said to the media [Wednesday], the FA Cup in England is known for upsets. We've had an upset. They're magic when you are far away from them and reading about them and thinking that is a fairytale result, but when you're involved in them it is a nightmare. You have got to wake up and move on and that is what we're doing.
On what the team needs to do over the break before the team's next game in LA
We haven't had a great record at the [Home Depot Center] and that is something that we have got to put right, but this will give us a couple of weeks to get some good work done on the training field and to get ourselves prepared mentally and physically for the game.
We will probably mix it up and do a little bit of everything. We will be working hard. We have a couple of weeks break and the main thing is that we don't take too many days off and get our feet up and go into relaxed mode. We realize that it is a big job in the next two months coming up so we will do a lot of hard work on the training field and take some days off when we feel the need to.
On his conversations with Merritt Paulson since Wednesday
I don't think that should be public knowledge, what I am speaking to the owner about. We speak on a daily basis. He is obviously dissapointed, as well as myself and the players are, but what goes on in the office between him and myself and [Gavin Wilkinson] will remain private.
On if there were issues other than finishing
I think if you get 42 [shots], I don't think it was lack of effort. I know people were voicing their opinions, saying, "care like we do". The fans were frustraited. Believe me, the players feel the pain more. I think if ti was a lack of effort, we wouldn't have had 42 shots at goal. Lack of concentraition, lack of quality on the night cost us dearly.
When you create that many chances you have got to hit the target. I keep telling the guys, if you hit the target consistantly, you will be a consistant goal scorer. You couldn't have scripted it, but just sitting on the bench and being involved in the game for a long time as a play and a coach, you are saying to yourself, it can't be one of these nights. Not tonight for us. It happened. It is one of the games that you are going to look back at in ten or fifteen years and say, oh geez, we were part of one of the worst results in Timbers history.
We can't do nothing about it except look forward to the Galaxy and the other games that are coming up. I think we have got ten games that are in conference games so we are going to have to make sure that our minds are clear and ready for the job at hand.
On if the team can focus on their recent defensive efforts
As I say, we can't forget that we've been on a decent run. Should we have gotten the three points against Vancouver? Of course we should have. If we go out and get two victories and good results against the next two opponents then I am pretty sure that this result will kind of, not be erased from people's minds, but ease the pain a little bit.
On the team's confidence after the loss and giving up a late winner against Vancouver
I don't think it has hit their confidence. The guys are shellshocked, there is no doubt about it. After the game we were shocked. I think everybody that was in the stadium was shocked, but we can't keep focusing on the negatives. The positives are that we created an unbelieveable amount of chances, enough to possibly win four games, and we did the same against Vancouver. I've been asking the guys for creativity and the gave us the creativity. Now it is down to whatever forward is playing to put the ball into the back of the net. Confidence is not a problem right now, I must admit.
On if he heard the Timbers Army's chants
Of course. You don't hear much when the stadium is packed, but when there is a gap in the seating you can hear everything that is said and they have the right to voice their opinions. They pay their money to come in and voice their opinions, but when you try to verbally assault someone, if you do that in the street someone will punch you in the mouth. Just because you bought your ticket you can comein and voice your opinion, but that doesn't mean you can assault someone verbally.
On if the comments as the team was reentering the tunnel were over the top
I didn't see it. I was in the office then I heard there was an incident outside, but I believe it has been dealt with. The last thing we want to do is create a situation where it is fans versus the team, because if that is what happens then you are never going to get success here. Players aren't going to want to play for the club, fans are just going to get frustrated, then you're on a downward spiral.
The most important thing is that we take a deep breath. We all realize, believe me, the players realize, the magnitude of the loss. It wasn't just the embarrassment of losing to an amateur team, there are huge financial implications with us losing a game at home to Seattle. We mustn't forget that we are all in this together. Fans want to win games. Players, believe me, want to win for this club. We can't have an us versus you situation because it is only going to lead to more negativesand a lot of bad problems.
On how the team is moving on from the Open Cup defeat
I don't know. I know it is hard for me to move on. Still a couple of sleepless nights, but you've got to move on. If you dwell on it, the worse it becomes and it will eat you away, so you put it behind you, move on, learn from it, and it's a new day.
On how frustraited the players felt on the field
When you see that number of shots it is very frustraiting that you can't get at least one goal in. I was just one of those nights where nothing could go right for you.
On if he, or any of the other players, had ever been a part of a loss to an amateur club before
No, I can't say that I have. It is probably a first for everyone.
On if there are any positives to take away from the match
I think it is pretty hard to look at too many positives there. Like I said, you have got to move forward. You can't sit there and let things linger and just fester in your mind or it becomes even worse. You've got to move on and put it behind you.
On how the game will affect the team's offense
I don't know. We've got some time off, so that is a good thing. Defensively I still think we were pretty sharp for most of the game. The one lapse where it is just a lack of concentraition from the guys, not staying with runners, and any team is going to be able to thread a ball through there with that much space. We need to learn from that and we have got three games coming up that are huge for us that really could move us up in the standings.
On staying focused over the break in league play
To be honest, I think for the next week you just forget about it. You know, you do your work here and don;t think too much about anything. Just come and enjoy it, then that week leading up to the game is when you start kicking it back into gear. If you start thinking too far ahead of time you will work yourself out of it.
It is a chance to get back to the basics. No matter what level you are at, you always need to get back to the simple things and the little things that got you here. This is a time for us to look back and get back to those things.
On if the timing of the break is a good thing for the team
It is a thin line. You want to be able to get back out and prove yourself. I know a lot of guys are really down on themselves at this point, but like I said it is a chance to move on, a chance to get back to the little things, to get back to just little passing drills and shooting drills. Stuff like that is going to build you back up and we have got polenty of time to do it now.
On if he would rather be playing now
Both. I have got a lot of stuff to take care of at home. When you are playing games a lot and you are traveling, with kids it is tough. You keep putting things off. Also it is a chance to get away from the game. You know, still come and train hard and do that but mentally you can turn off when you go home instead of being switched on all day.
On if he heard the chants from the Timbers Army at Wednesday's game
I heard it all. I heard things that I wish I wouldn't have heard, but that is part of it. They're people who work hard for the money that they earn and they come to support us and they expect us to give the same thing back to them. I am as disgusted as they are about not winning.
On if the comments as the team was reentering the tunnel were over the top
If it was anywhere other than this city, I would say yes, but those guys, those fans, not matter what game it is they are there. They are giving everything they have. They're passionate about the team, they're passionate about the sport, and win or lose they are going to share their opinion.
On the headgear he has been wearing
[It is for] protection. [The collision with Sanna Nyassi] was pretty alarming every time I've seen it and, talking to different doctors, it was incredibly lucky to even be able to play again after that andnot have too severe of injuries. I am just taking any precaution I can.
Probably for the rest of my career I will wear something.
On his nose
It is good. I actually have no feeling in the tip because, I think, one of the nerves was severed. It's strange. It is good, it's healed, it's fine now.
On his scar
On days like today when you get a little hot it gets really red on me, but it is okay. My wife wants me to get it fixed and I don't want to get it fixed, I like it.