After suffering a host of injuries to the Seattle Sounders on Saturday and Sunday, the Timbers held a light practice today as they prepare for the quick turnaround before heading to San Jose tomorrow afternoon. The team held and extended warm up followed by a series of keep away games before wrapping up practice early.
Diego Chara, Jake Gleeson, and Donovan Ricketts were all held out of practice today as their injuries are evaluated. Chara and Ricketts will miss Wednesday's game while Gleeson is questionable pending the result of an MRI on his hand today.
Injuries and Absences
Chara arrived at the team's Beaverton training facility as practice was about to begin and was greeted by cheers from the assembled players. After receiving more than his fair share of abuse from Seattle on Saturday, including a missed penalty kick when Andy Rose kicked him in the back of the leg, Chara did not practice today and, according to Gavin Wilkinson, will miss the next two weeks. Wilkinson did not get into specifics of Chara's injury, just saying that it was a groin injury.
Ricketts suffered a grade 1 separated shoulder in his collision with Eddie Johnson on Saturday which will rule him out for two weeks, according to Wilkinson. The team will be sending Ricketts out for a second opinion later today.
Jake Gleeson, who took a late Sounder boot in Sunday's reserve game, was absent from practice this morning while getting an MRI on his hand. Gleeson has not yet been ruled out of Wednesday's game against the Earthquakes, pending the results of the MRI.
Out and participating in practice today were Steven Smith and Freddie Braun. Smith, who missed last week's practices while recovering from an ankle injury, participated in the full practice. Braun, who i still coming back from an abdominal strain, warmed up with the team, but did not participate in the games of keep away, instead breaking off to do some individual running.
Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Steve Purdy both missed practice today after missing all of last week. Jean-Baptiste is still rehabbing a strained hamstring while Steve Purdy is out with a bruised toe, suffered while on duty with the El Salvadoran national team.
Cam Vickers, fresh off an impressive run out against the Sounders reserves on Sunday, continues to practice with the team as a practice player.
The mood in training was light today as the team prepares to play their next two games on the road, starting with San Jose on Wednesday. There was a lot of laughing and joking around in practice from both the players and coaches.
Sean McAuley jumped in to one of the games of keep away and showed the youngsters what to do, getting the ball back quickly each time he was in the center.
Joe Bendik was the focus of a lot of media attention today and a lot of film was taken of him practicing one on one with keeper coach Mike Toshack with his fellow keepers not practicing.
On the relaxed attitude in practice after Saturday's game against the Seattle Sounders
To tie, it is something to build on. For us it is important to prepare for Wednesday and we didn't want to put too much on the legs today. It was very relaxing mentally. We tried to get them to relax a little bit and have a fun day.
On playing San Jose immediately after such a high profile game
I think that everyone gets themselves prepared mentally and physically for the local derby games. Seattle was a big game for us and we finished the game with ten players with Deigo Chara coming out injured so the players needed to work a little bit harder, physically, at the end.
On the team's injuries
Diego and Donovan Ricketts, those two are definitely out. Franck Songo'o should be fine. We have got to make the necessary adjustments for those two players.
On the team's lack of goalies
We will get a league pool goalkeeper. We have got the choice of two players and we will make the decision today after training, but we haven't ruled Jake out either. He is getting an MRI this morning and we will know more after that.
On Donovan Ricketts
It is a grade one separated shoulder. He is off seeing the doctor again. He has already seen the doctor yesterday, but we are getting him to look at it again just to make sure that he as made the right diagnosis and we will move forward from there.
We are looking at two weeks, four weeks being the absolute maximum. For Diego Chara and Donovan Ricketts, two weeks is what we are looking at.
On Joe Bendik
I think his first moment in the game, nothing to do with him whatsoever, was picking the ball out of the net and mentally, I thought he showed a lot of character. The saves he made late in the game and how he went for the ball was fantastic for him.
Goalkeepers are different, in a good way. Jake Gleeson is very confident and very comfortable and so is Joe Bendik. It is what you need in that position to be successful.
On the San Jose Earthquakes
San Jose is a very good team and I think they have a lot of self-belief at the moment. They work extremely hard for each other and they are doing very well. Their home record is fantastic and their belief is very good. They always believe that they have a chance to win. They have players that have bought into the system and players that get their jobs done.
For us it is important to go in there and see how we fare and see how we match up on the road where we've struggled. I think this will be a good test for us.
On Real Salt Lake
Salt Lake City is at altitude, a very talented team, they keep the ball, they keep the ball moving. Their possession stat is one of the best in the league and it is important for us to deal with that and play with patience and a lot of maturity.
I know I keep saying that, but when you go into Salt Lake you can't just defend, or San Jose. You can't defend for ninety minutes and expect to get a result. You have got to go out and impact the game in the way that you play and the way that you want to play and see how you can put them under pressure.
On missing Diego Chara
It is definitely difficult to replace Diego. We've had some good results without him and I think that players coming in know how much he has contributed and worked and it sets the standard very high for the players coming in.
Diego will definitely be missed, but any one player in this game has to be replaceable. It gives Eric Alexander, or somebody similar, a chance to come in and when he has come in in the past he has done pretty well.
On Rodney Wallace's play against Seattle
I thought Rodney was a highlight for us. He came in and did his job and did very well for us. The energy that he brought in to the game I thought was fantastic. He's come back from the Costa Rican national team and settled in and gotten his job done, so for Rodney, I give him top marks in the game. He was one of our better players.
We don't identify too many individuals, but I thought his contribution to the game overall and his energy and his commitment to the game and the result was fantastic.
On Diego Chara
We have got to take a long view with Diego. He puts a lot of miles on those legs and works very hard. We want to get him back as soon as possible but we are going to take it easy on him.
On keeping the team motivated for the remaining non-Cascadia games
It goes back to us saying that we need to find out more about the team and about the individuals; find out what they're made of and what we're made of collectively as a group. It's also a chance for them to showcase themselves for Caleb Porter. To try and make sure that they have got a place to play next season and so that they know that we value them and want to keep them here and try and work about the process to keep them here.
For players individually they need to perform, they need to work hard, and they need to get their jobs done. Collectively as a group we are seeing how they can make the necessary adjustments that we need them to make in games.
On Caleb Porter's response to the game against Seattle
That he was sorry he couldn't be here, was extremely excited, and that some of the players are showing more and more about themselves, which for that game was very positive. He is definitely looking forward to the challenge and is excited about the challenge. His actual words were, I've been jumping off the coach all afternoon watching this game and I'm extremely excited.
On Jose Adolfo Valencia
I thought that for the first time he has played in eight or nine months, just to have him out of the field was a small victory. There was a moment in the game where one of our players had the ball and he sort of removed the other player off the ball and took it and went at goal. I am just delighted for him. His smile after the game and the emotion from him after the game just said it all.
He definitely worked well. He's a good young player with a huge upside. Now we get to see that upside and we get to keep him healthy and get him match fit, so we will keep him here for as long as possible in the offseason, let him see his family for a little bit, and make the decision on his future with the club.
Quotes from Joe Bendik, Jack Jewsbury, and David Horst will have to wait for the morning.