The Portland Timbers held a regeneration session today at their Beaverton training facility. With Saturday's starters, minus Lovel Palmer, heading inside after a brief workout the Timbers youngsters had a chance to shine in the the team's first open practice in months.
After the hard-fought, if futile, game over the weekend it was good to see all of the Timbers back on the pitch today. Rodney Wallace, Eric Brunner, and Chris Taylor were all missing from practice with injuries, and Jake Gleeson continues his time abroad with the New Zealand Olympic team, but otherwise the Timbers looked to be free of knocks. Even Jose Adolfo Valencia appeared briefly, coming outside from working out to observe practice.
Trialist Salim Arrache was still practicing with the team today. Timbers U23s keeper Spencer Richie was also training with the squad in the absence of Gleeson and the recent signing by LA of MLS pool keeper Brian Rowe, who had been working out with the Timbers for the last several months. Richie received plenty of one on one coaching from goalkeeper coach Mike Toshack.
Practice consisted of warm ups, followed by alternating games of keep away and short field games, and concluded with some two on two and three on three match ups that showed off some slick moments of skill and some slightly frayed tempers.
More Timbers notes plus quotes from Troy Perkins, Kris Boyd, and Eric Alexander, and video of Gavin Wilkinson after the jump.
- Ryan Kawulok showed off his scoring touch several times in practice, curing in two beautiful shots during the early short field games and following them up with several goals in the two on two match ups later on. Kawulok was also no slouch crossing the ball in when the team started doing finishing drills after practice concluded, providing some excellent service.
- Brent Richards also stood out in practice, showing off his excellent ability to create space for himself with a quick step away from his defender or a smart run into space. Richards' ability to make space clearly frustrated Troy Perkins after Richards was allowed to get a shot off unmolested from the center of the short pitch they were playing on.
- Hanyer Mosquera looked a little off his game in practice, often clearing the ball all the way out of the short pitch, rather than passing to a player. Mosco's defense was still steady, but if the Timbers have ambitions of pressuring teams with possession his passing today would not help.
- Charles Renken got into a battle for the ball with Mike Chabala and ended up flipping the left back over his shoulder while holding possession along the sideline. Renken was playing with some intensity today and, despite his slight frame, was not afraid to try to muscle a player off the ball.
Gavin Wilkinson (via Andy Wheeler)
Thanks, Andy, for recording Gavin. Sorry for the shaky video, folks. Those press scrums are killer.
On the one p.m. start against Chivas USA on Wednesday
It is a strange, strange time and a strange game, but it is still a game and we have to go with the utmost professionalism and take it as if we are looking to get three points.
On the challenges that Chivas present
Speed. I don't know if [Juan Agudelo] is still injured or what the story is, but if he is able to play he is very dangerous, and then you have guys on the flanks that can really punish us, as they did here.
On Gavin Wilkinson's comment that he is a leader of this team
He's not saying it to me, but that doesn't matter. It is the way I am. I love this club. I hate to see things go the way they are. For me it is a personal thing and it affects my family, it affects me, and it affects this club, which is an extension of my family, so I want to do everything I can to right the ship. Whether it is the right way or the wrong way, somethign has to be done.
On what he provides the team as a leader
Discipline on the field. Not letting little things go. Before, when you are winning it is easy to let little things go and now we are getting punished for the little things so now we have to nip them in the bud and make sure that doesn't happen again.
On if he needed to watch the film from Saturday's game
You've got to watch it. You've got to learn from your mistakes and that is something I've been saying for a long time. If you don't watch game film, if you don't learn from your mistakes, you will keep making them and as you can tell we have just been making the same mistakes over and over. We have got to learn, we have got to learn quickly, and we have to grow up and be men.
On if any of Saturday's goals were savable
From my point of view? As a goalkeeper, nothing. Quality finishing all the way around. Defensively, can we do better? Yeah. If we just do little things, the opportunity doesn't present itself.
On his reaction to Beckham's goals when watching them after the game
That is why he makes that much money. That is why he is who he is, and why he has played for the clubs that he has played for, and played in world cups and everything else. If you give a guy that time and space, for who he is, he could have picked out anywhere to put that ball.
On his reaction to Wilkinson's goal of 45 points
We need goals. We have to have benchmarks, we have to have things to reach for and obtain.
If we don't do it it is our own fault. For me, I would have said more. Why not? What have we got to lose? It is a fantastic thing to do and it is something that we should have done earlier.
On the positives from last weekend
We created opportunities, especially in the second half. I know they were sitting back ad not pressing the game, but we still created opportunities where in the past I think we would have wasted them.
Kris Boyd is getting balls on target now. I think he is feeling good about himself, he is confident, and that is a good thing. Now if we can just find ourselves in the midfield and defensively, keep the ball and our shape, then I think the sky is the limit for us.
On playing a game without John Spencer
It was certainly an odd sensation being out there for that game and it was a weird game to begin with. Leading up to it it was a strange week all around. There is no excuses for losing at home with that score line, but it was surreal.
On how comfortable he is feeling with Gavin Wilkinson
We are obviously disappointed with the result. To score three goals at home and lose the game is hard to take, but we need to move forward. We have got to go to the game on Wednesday in LA and hopefully we can go there and get the three points off Chivas. It's going to be a difficult game, we know that, but I think that when you look at the game on Saturday there is a lot of positives to take out of it and hopefully we can use them to get the three points.
On trying to win away and "get the monkey off the team's back"
We need to because the monkey keeps getting bigger. It is up to us as players. It doesn't make a difference who is in charge. When you cross that white line we need to go and we need to express ourselves on the pitch to get the three points. We know it is going to be difficult, but that's every game. You don't get an easy game in this league and I think that has shown when you watch the highlights from every game. It is a difficult environment to play, especially at one o'clock in the afternoon as well, which won't help, but it is up to us to go into the game and, hopefully, once we cross that white line we will get the three points.
More quotes from Boyd to come.
On heading back to Dallas
I'm not looking forward to the heat, but it'll be nice to see some old friends.
On whether he still keeps up with his old teammates
A couple of them here and there, but you know, the season's pretty busy, and they're kind of our opponents now.
On playing center mid
Yeah, I'm comfortable in the center, it's kind of where I've played my whole life. Obviously it was only for a half, but I got a lot of touches. I'd like to be back in there, but you know, Diego's coming back, and Jack played well in there too. So, who knows if it's gonna be a consistent thing or what. I really have no idea yet. They're both really good players, so while I'm out on the wing, hopefully I can create a little more production out there. But if they need me in the middle, I'd be happy to play there.
On if he sees himself in a role that sets up the attack
I think that's what I'm most fit to do, let Darlington do a little more of the attacking in there. I think he's a little more creative in the final third, and I think I might be a better distributor -- getting guys who are good on the ball, get them the ball.
On the LA result
I think we had a couple of communication breakdowns that cost us some goals. We talked about it a little today -- they weren't beating us with eight- or nine-pass plays. It was mistakes that we brought on ourselves, miscommunications, missed tackles and what not. I've never been in a game where we gave up five goals, so it's pretty wild, but I think we'll be able to fix that pretty quick.
I think three goals at home is a pretty good amount of goals to score. I think the attack went pretty well, we were pretty fluid. We had a lot of plays where we were stringing together multiple passes. I thought we did a better job, we had a lot of crosses and a lot of corners, so we were getting opportunities. It easily could have been 5-5.
On the goal of finishing the season with 45 points
I think it's pretty reasonable. It's gonna be tough, obviously. We have to definitely pick up our road performances and at least start getting draws. But other than that I think it's a pretty reasonable goal. I think with the new playoff system, with five teams from each conference, it's definitely obtainable.