The Timbers held a closed training session at their Beaverton practice facility today as they prepared to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps this Saturday. With every player but Chris Taylor (Taylor was added to the IR list last week) present, the Timbers had a record 32 players in training today, more than were at any practice this year before this week.
Kosuke Kimura, Kalif Alhassan, and Jose Adolfo Valencia all warmed up with the team, just like yesterday, before breaking off to work out separately. After being supervised by trainer Nic Wald yesterday, all three worked with fitness coach John Ireland and were doing some conditioning drills as practice was closed.
Kimura is expected to be available for Saturday's game against the Whitecaps, while Alhassan is a possibility. Valencia, despite rejoining the team for practice, have not been added to the active roster. It is unclear if he is able to be activated this year or not, which is determined by if he was put on the disabled list (possible) or the season-ending injury list (not possible).
Trialist Pablo Di Fiori continued his time with the team, and will likely stay with them through next week given Gavin's comments on him yesterday. This video of his highlights has been doing the rounds on twitter.
Timbers U23's player Cam Vickers continued training with the team today as well.
On what Jake Gleeson told him about Portland before he came here
I've been on teams with Jake for the last five years and ever since he's been playing here he has always been saying what a wonderful city it is and that it has good training facilities and good support, so as soon as [Gavin Wilkinson] gave me the call I didn't hesitate at all to jump on the plane and come over.
On how he is approaching his time with the Timbers
Obviously, coming from New Zealand the standard isn't as good as over here, so I suppose it is a matter of seeing how I fit in and seeing how I develop. I am just taking it one day at a time, taking every opportunity I am given. I am looking forward to playing in the reserve game this weekend. I've heard tell there is going to be a really good crowd. I guess I am just trying to learn off of the little bit more experienced players and hopefully do enough to get a contract for next season.
On his style of play
I like to think I am an attacking left back. I like to get up and down, get stuck into the tackle, and I like to get crosses in and stuff like that. I'm hard working, I play for the team, I just try to do the basics, and basically just work hard and try to get some assists.
On how he is fitting in with the team
It has been good. The first week I got here I was just training with the younger guys and that was good as well to just get the travel out of my legs. The quality is good out there. I've really enjoyed it so far and there are some great players on the team.
On what he has seen of Portland
I haven't seen too much. Jake has been showing me around downtown, we've been to a few places to eat, and I think that next weekend, with a Friday game we might have a couple of days to do something; go around and see some attractions.
The weather has been hot, which is nice. It hasn't been too hot the last few days. It is a great city.
On if he is prepared for the rain
I've heard about the rain, but it is still a little ways off, I think. Eventually I will have to go and get some rain jackets because I came straight from the Olympics. I've got no gear, really.
On his time at the Olympics
Amazing. It was my second time around and this time I kind of appreciated it a lot more, being in London, the soccer nation. It was amazing playing in the big stadiums that you watch on TV. I was lucky enough to stay for the closing ceremony and see all the performers which I will cherish that for the rest of my life.
On coming close on two occasions to finally getting a win on the road
It is frustrating. Like we have said for the last couple of weeks, I think there have been some positive performances, but the reality is that in this business you need to get results. In the Toronto game we were somewhat happy with one point. We thought we probably deserved more. In the New York game, a pretty wild game where we played well, we came in on the wrong side of things. The performances are good but it is a matter of us putting those performances together and getting three points out of them and not one.
On the refereeing during the games in Toronto and New York
No matter what league you are in there are going to be some discrepencies on calls.
Obviously the one in New York, you could see that [David Horst] and I both had some problems with it. I've honestly never seen something like that. If it was a PK, it was a PK. Dave would probably argue that it didn't even hit his arm, but the reality is that the whistle was blown and at that point the play should be dead.
Sometimes things don't go your way and you have to bounce back. I thought we reacted well in the second half and created some chances, three one v ones, and when you are one the road you have got to finish your chances to get three points, so we have got to be a little bit better in that aspect.
On the team's shift to an emphasis on the attack
Yeah, it is just a matter of guys going out there and implementing themselves on the game. We have, from day one since I have been here, some unbelievably talented guys in the attacking third and I think that their qualities are starting to show more and more. Whether it is [Franck Songo'o] or [Sal Zizzo] or [Kalif Alhassan], whoever it is, we have got those guys in the attacking third and they can put guys under pressure and really keep them on their heels. They have done a great job of that and hopefully they continue that.
On playing at home again
I think that a long road trip was good for camaraderie and for the group staying together, but at the end of the day we really enjoy being back here in front of our fans and the Timbers Army. Especially in a big rivalry game like this there is going to be some guys buzzing around that first fifteen minutes. We will definitely have a different feel to the game and we are excited to be here, to be back at Jeld-Wen, and to get three points.
On if the pressure of playing a Cascadia Cup match is good for the team at this point in the season
Right now is the point in the season where there is pressure whether it is us in a rivalry game or teams fighting for playoff spots. Whatever it may be, at the end of the season there is always that pressure that guys kind of thrive one. At least for me that is what you should thrive on in this profession, so it is good. Obviously the Cascadia Cup is a huge thing for us and we want to continue to climb up the standings in that one as well.