Timbers trade-apalooza continued today with Mike Chabala missing from practice after being traded away to DC United. The Timbers held an open practice at their Beaverton training center that was sparsely attended between trades, call ups, and sicknesses.
Missing from practice today were Jack Jewsbury and Steve Purdy. Gavin Wilkinson confirmed that Jewsbury is suffering from gastrointestinitis. Purdy was called up to the El Salvador national team for an upcoming friendly with Guatamala on Saturday. Lovel Palmer has also been called up for Jamaica, but he has not yet departed.
The Timbers new signings, Ian Hogg and Donovan Ricketts, have not yet arrived at training. Ricketts is expected to train with the team tomorrow morning in a closed session. Hogg, a teammate of Jake Gleeson's on the New Zealand Olympic squad, is still staying at the Olympic village while waiting for his visa to be approved.
Cam Vickers, who played for the Timbers U23s this season, continued training with the team today.
More practice notes plus quotes from Gavin Wilkinson after the jump.
- Jake Gleeson, who is recovering from a groin strain, left practice about halfway through and headed inside.
- The mood around practice today seemed tense as a number of players were a little off in their passes and runs. Bright Dike and Kalif Alhassan exchanged strong tackles during one drill with neither player looking happy with the other.
- Rodney Wallace has been lining up primarily as a midfielder with the team in practice recently and, when the team divided into defenders, midfielders, and forwards for drills today he lined up with the midfielders.
- Eric Alexander has not seen much time on the outside in recent practices, mostly playing as a central midfielder.
- After practice was over, Vickers and Kosuke Kimura worked together on crossing the ball for quite some time.
On the Mike Chabala trade
It was a situation that was beneficial to all groups. I think that Mike Chabala is a very likable person, and again we keep saying that they are good professionals about all these guys, but it is very true. Fine character. Carried himself extremely well.
He wasn't getting the playing time here and it was frustrating, but he kept it professional. It was an opportunity that I presented to Mike that he decided he would like to take the opportunity. It wasn't something where we said to Mike, look, you are going to DC. It was a matter of, Mike, this is the situation, what do you want? It was a situation that he decided what was best for him right now.
It was different how this one happened, but in doing that we have players in each position that give us different salary cap numbers. We had the opportunity to bring in a young left back to put him in a different environment for the rest ofthe season to see how he does. He has just participated in the Olympics and he is a very good athlete, which is first and foremost coming into this league, that you can compete and he fit the bill on that one.
On him being from New Zealand helping his catch on with the team
I left New Zealand when I was very young.
He is a bit of a fighter, he has got the desire to succeed, and he is hungry. He has been at Crystal Palace on trial and we got him out of that trial as soon as this opportunity opened up.
It was important to bring in a young left back. We are reduced to Steven Smith. Rodney Wallace can play there also, but this gives us a chance to look at somebody in that position for next year.
On how long he has been tracking Ian Hogg before signing him
I have notes on most national teams and being that I follow [Jake Gleeson] when Jake goes away, and Jake has been in and around the mix for the U23s, I have been following him for quite some time. It is not something that we signed a player just because he has become available.
He matured late in my opinion. He is a very good back and wing, still a little bit raw, there is no doubt that he is not the finished product, but he is going to be on the minimum wage, so there is no risk on our behalf. It is a semi-guaranteed contract and it gives him the opportunity to be successful.
Ian is a young player that I have watched for several years now and, speaking to other people around Ian and some of his coaching staff, there is no doubting that he has the right attitude to be successful. I would put him in the same boat as Jake Gleeson; just a tremendous person and very hungry to succeed.
On when Hogg will arrive
He is going through the visa process at the moment, so he is still at the Olympic village as we speak. As soon as we get the visa part processed I will be able to give you a date.
On Jack Jewsbury
Jack has gastrointestinitis so he is not available today.
On Steve Purdy
He is away on national team duty.
On Eric Brunner's availability
He is training, just not at full fitness. Brunner is a welcome addition and one that is is good to have back and involved in training, but remember he has got to get his feet under him. He's got to get a little more fitness.
On if there is a sense of urgency to bring in a new coach
Yeah. I think so. We've conducted another interview this morning and the search is continuing. It is going very well. I will probably let Merritt speak more about that. The candidates that we have spoken to... Maybe they have been involved in hypothetical situations that resulted in some of the trades. That is all I can say in regards to that.
On changes being made to the team
The coaching staff have a job to do and if you are a coach and you are not trying to fix stuff, you are not trying to find a solution, people are going to talk. Even though it is hard to see Troy leave, coach Gavin he has a job to do and if he thinks that it is Troy who has to leave for the team to do better or if it is me or whoever it is, he has to do his job because at the end of the day, he is the one that everyone is going to look at.
He is the one who is calling that shots and he thinks that is what is best for the team. It is his call and we have to support it. We have to go out and play against Toronto and try to get points.
On the Mike Chabala trade
He is a a great professional, he never stopped working. After practice you would see that guy, even if he was the only one on the pitch, he would be out there running or trying to improve on something. He is a great guy and a good friend of mine. We played for a bit in Houston and we moved here together so he is a good friend of mine and I wish him all the best.
On Chabala's chances to get more playing time in DC
Yeah, plus he will be reunited with Danny Cruz, his roommate for five or six years. I think he will be okay. He will probably get a couple of opportunities to play and hopefully he does well.
On the team's off weekend before going to Toronto and New York
Sometimes you want a break but sometimes when you are not doing well you want the next game to come, you want to put the last one behind you. It has been good. The team has been training well.
I am just thinking of it as, we are at the bottom of the table and we will be relegated if we don't get soem points right now, so let's try to finish as high as possible. Probably take playoffs out of our minds but just try to finish as high as possible on the table.
On how well he knows Donovan Ricketts
I've known Donovan a long time. Growing up in Jamaica and watching him play for the national team and watching him play in the top division he is a really good goalkeeper. I started playing professionally in Jamaica, I started playing against him, then I started playing with the national team together and he is someone who I really look up to a lot.
He is a great guy to be around, a good motivator, and a great goalkeeper. I just wished that he could come here and help us to turn things around.
On Ricketts trying to fill the shoes of Troy Perkins
I know he is a good professional and he's a good goalkeeper, so whatever has been said I am sure that he is going to come here and [win over the fans].
On his reaction to the Mike Chabala trade
I was sad. He called me yesterday and told me, "I'm out."
To be honest, I was happy for him, but at the same time I was sad. He hasn't been playing much here as we all know, for whatever reason, but he wanted out and he got the opportunity. Hopefully he gets some playing time in DC and hopefully he can do well. He is a good friend of mine and I wish him well wherever he is, but it is a part of the game. Sometimes you are going to be playing, sometimes you are not. It is just what you do or how you take it after everything happens. He is a good professional and I wish him all the best.
On seeing two of the team's more experienced players traded away in the last three days
You get your head down and you get on with it. It is part and parcel of football. Some players come, some people go, and you get on with it. It's hard but players leave and that's part and parcel of football.
On his reaction to the trades
The club, as a whole, have made the decision to do it. There is nothing we can do about it. For us, as players, we move on and we look to the game next Wednesday against Toronto. Hopefully we perform and we get the result in Toronto.
Troy and Mike Chabala, they have been great professionals here, so it is a tough game. It is obviously a disappointment when you see teammates go, but, as I said, it is part and parcel of football. The club has made a decision and we'll stick by that as a club.
On why he wore a long sleeved under shirt, a training top, and a jacket to training on a mild day
It's what I've worn my whole life. What I'm comfortable training with I wear. I've always trained with a rain jacket on, even when I was back home. It's nothing new to me. It is something I've always done and I will continue to do it.