COMMERCE CITY, CO - APRIL 21: Mike Magee #18 of the Los Angeles Galaxy and Kosuke Kimura # of the Colorado Rapids vie for the ball at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on April 21, 2012 in Commerce City, Colorado. The Galaxy defeated the Rapids 2-1. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Today's practice was a tricky one with all sorts of news, rumors, and misinterpreted tweets flying around. Despite all that, practice kicked off like any other out in Beaverton before being closed to the press.
Kosuke Kimura, the team's new signing, had not yet been announced and was not with the team at the beginning of training, but apparently he worked out with the team after the press was removed. Kimura came out to talk to the press after practice and spoke about his first day of practice, saying that he was very excited to be here. (Catch some quotes form Kimura after the jump.)
Of course, Kimura was not the only new face on the training pitch today. The Timber also had a trialist with the team. Salim Arrache, a 29 year old Algerian International who most recently played for Al Quadisiya in Kuwait, was with the team, although there was little to be seen of him outside of the warm ups.
More training notes plus quotes from Kosuke Kimura and John Spencer after the jump.
Rodney Wallace was missing form training today, leading many to speculate over his departure as Kimura's acquisition was revealed, however he is still with the team. Unfortunately, I did not hear what it was that kept him from training.
Eric Brunner remains out with no new news on his condition today.
Jose Adolfo Valencia spent today jogging around the pitch while the rest of the Timbers warmed up. Valencia has been hard at work learning English while he rehabs his knee and we got to see that in action today as Timbers trainer Nik Wald told him to tie his shoe. After some back and forth, Valencia had picked up the new phrase and was repeating it to himself as he jogged off.
Lovel Palmer and Jake Gleeson both looked to have picked up knocks at practice today. Palmer appeared to roll his ankle during a game of keep away early on during practice, while Gleeson came off the pitch holding his elbow after practice was over.
On coming to Portland
I talked to my agent a couple of times and I talked to Paul Bravo, the [general manager] for the Rapids] and we had a really good conversation two days ago actually. He said he has no interest in trading me and I talked to him and said it is not working out for me well and I think it might be time for me to go and he said, "Alright Kosuke, here is the thing, if you don't really get a good deal, we can't let you go. You have done so much for the club and it is going to be tough for us."
Last night after the game he called me and he said, "You know Kosuke we have got to meet up. The Timbers offered a really good deal and I think this is it."
I played there for six years. It is tough for me to leave there and I couldn't even say goodbye to anybody because it was so quick and I had to come here this morning. It was tough, but at the same time I am really, really excited to be here. I hear so much good about the Timbers, all the fans, all the people, all the players, all the coaches and coaching staff.
I know John Ireland so well and I know John Spencer used to play for the Rapids. I know a bunch of guys who used to play with them and every time I heard good about them. I am so excited to be here and I can't wait to put on the green jersey and play for this team. I will do anything I can to bring the championship here.
On playing the Rapids rivals Real Salt Lake in his first game with the Timbers
It is a quick turnover. I am still trying to digest in my head what is going on. I am here now and all I have got to do is just focus on the game. That is it. Every day, day in and day out in training.
I see a bunch of younger guys here. I played with them today already. They have a bunch of energy, they just need to go in the same direction with everybody together. They need to put all the energy in one place and go in the same direction and I think we have so many good coaches here that we can do that. All we need to do is just keep our heads up and just keep walking hard for Salt Lake.
When we go there we are going to do everything we can to win every single second.
On what John Spencer told him his expectations were
Right before the training he came in with John Ireland and he told me, "I'm so excited, Kosuke. I am so excited to have you here. We have been working on you deal for a long time, almost two months now." He was so happy and he told me at the same time that we have a bunch of younger guys and we need somebody to direct these guys in the right fashion.
That is what he told me and I think I am up for that. I have been in MLS for almost six years. I know what it take, I won a championship, so I think I can bring something to this club and hopefully they are going to accept me and we are going to build a good team here.
On if playing with a new team will be difficult this weekend
Definitely. One thing I have got to do after today, I am going to go to the hotel and go over the roster. I need to memorize everybody's name because I am no good with names.
I have been playing against Salt Lake for a long time because they are [the Rapids'] rivals. I know everybody on that team because for most of the guys playing on the Rapids they are the huge rivals. Definitely for me it is exciting. I didn't play the last two games, but I am in shape and all I have to do is go out there and help my team as much as I can and win the game.
On the acquisition of Kosuke Kimura
I think it is a good move for us. He's been in the league for a number of years and played a lot of games. He's a good age, a 28 year old, still with his best years in front of him and, if I am not mistaken, he played in every game in the year that they won the championship. We are trying to get championship experience in here and we're delighted with that.
He is a good piece that wasn't getting in the game in the last couple of weeks because of Hunter Freeman's form and they they were in a position like us, and like other teams in the league, to make a move. We enquired about him at the start of preseason and just kept tabs on him. We said to Colorado, if you come to the conclusion that you are looking to move him, please give us a call. The two GM's got together and got the deal done and we are happy to have him.
I think he has great experience, he's a tremendous athlete, a great talker, and he played on a championship winning team, which is very difficult to get players for what we got him for.
On if Kimura is fully fit
He will play on Saturday in Salt Lake. That is why we brought him here: we brought him here to play and he is going to play.
On what he saw from Kimura at practice today
He's a terrific person, great character, unbelievable enthusiasm, came right in and starts talking and bossing guys around. That is what experienced players do.
On what he knows about Kimura
He has been in the league for a number of years. I've seen him get better and better as the years go by. He has played more and more games. With that experience he has become a better player. I know Gary Smith rated him very highly when he was the head coach and the biggest compliment you can play anybody, respect-wise, is by picking them every week and he never missed many games up until this year.
On if right back has been a position of need for the team
I think that we're the first ones to say that [Jack Jewsbury] is not an actual right back. It is not his favorite position, although he has gone there and done a great job, he has done a captain's job, for us and I have no complaints. He put the team before himself, like Lovel before that, trying to basically put a square peg into a round hole, another central midfield player hoping that we can convert them to right back. The good thing about Kos is that he is a natural right back and he will have no problems playing there, so he is a great addition to the group.
On if Jewsbury will shift back into the midfield
It gives us an option now to put Jack in there in his favored position. As I said, I think he has done a good job for us out there. He's kept his mouth shut and his head down and worked hard and put the team before himself, so you have got to take your hat off to him for that.
On Bright Dike's loan
Bright will be coming back. Bright's been away and, as I say, we put Bright on loan for a reason, not because we didn't like him, because he came off a bad injury and we wanted to get him some games. It wasn't that we were trying to squeeze Bright out the door, but he has went away and done well. I have heard good reports that he has scored a few goals. He should be now starting to feel a lot more confident and better with himself and his mind and his body. We will be getting him back soon and maybe looking to loan maybe one or two other guys out.
On Franck Songo'o
He feels better today. He has just come down to the doctor's office as we speak just to get a little scan on it and see what the problem is, so I will know more after practice.
On Kalif Alhassan
He is back in practice. Obviously he has missed a lot this week, he has missed a lot of training this year, actually, with injuries one after another, so it is a matter of trying to get him match fit again.
On playing three games in seven days
Everybody came in this morning with a clean bill of health, except for probably Franck so for us we are happy with the group and we will start trying to build an eleven tomorrow when we know that everybody is clear and healthy.