Scott Olmos-US PRESSWIRE
The Timbers held afternoon training today after a fitness session this morning. The big news to come out of practice today was the announcement from Caleb Porter that Franck Songo'o would no longer feature in the team's plans.
Update: Quotes from Diego Valeri have been added.
After two days of closed practices, the Timbers held their first open practice of the year today at Jeld-Wen Field. Today's practice was also the team's first taste of Oregon rain in the preseason, leaving the field somewhat waterlogged by the time training wrapped up.
Today's practice was once again without Kris Boyd and Franck Songo'o. Boyd had been confirmed as leaving the team, but Songo'o was still in discussions with the club as of the beginning of the week. However, after an ominous tweet from Songo'o last night, Caleb Porter confirmed in his post practice remarks that Songo'o was no longer in the team's plans.
This afternoon focused on movement and passing, and started to explore the different formations that the team could use. Practice started out with a series of passing drills that saw groups of four running the field and passing around and through the other groups; the team then played keep away with two ten man teams each passing a ball around the pitch until a whistle would blow when one team would try to take the ball from the other; finally, the team walked through the 4-4-2 diamond and 4-3-3 formations.
First Team: Harrington (LB), Horst (CB), Jean-Baptiste (CB), Miller (RB), Jewsbury (CDM), W.Johnson (LM), Chara (RM), Valeri (CAM), R.Johnson (F), Nagbe (F)
Second Team: Kawulok (LB), Silvestre (CB), Danso (CB), Richards (RB), Alexander (CDM), Alhassan (LM), Zizzo (RM), Mwanga (CAM), Valencia (F), Dike (F)
First Team: Harrington (LB), Horst (CB), Jean-Baptiste (CB), Miller (RB), Jewsbury (CDM), Chara (CDM), W.Johnson (CAM), Nagbe (LW), R.Johnson (CF), Valeri (RW)
Second Team: Kawulok (LB), Silvestre (CB), Danso (CB), Richards (RB), Alexander (CDM), Alhassan (CAM), Mwanga (CAM), Valencia (LW), Dike (CF), Zizzo (RW)
Trialists and Guest Players
Highly profile trialist Mikael Silvestre continued training with the team today. Likewise, former Akron and Vancouver Whitecaps player Michael Nanchoff continued his time with the Timbers.
Dylan Tucker-Gangnes remains the only draftee in camp so far this year, but keeper David Meves should arrive for practice tomorrow. Chris Hegngi's arrival date remains unknown.
Sean Dodson, former Timbers U23's keeper, also continues to practice with the team. Dodson has been classified more accurately as a guest player.
Injuries and Absences
Today Hanyer Mosquera rode an exercise bike on the sidelines for the second day in a row. Mosco was sidelined thanks to a sore knee, although Caleb Porter does not expect it to be a long term injury.
Rodney Wallace also continued to miss practice while on duty with the Costa Rican National team at the Copa Sudamericana.
On his initial impressions of the Timbers
I have a really good impression from teh beginning. I see a lot of really good things. We have a great group of people and we just have to work on a lot of things now. Things look really good.
On why he came to MLS and Portland
I think this is a great club, this is a great team, and I am just surprised how well organized the infrastructure of the MLS is. This team in particular is very good people, all of them professionals, and basically what we need to do is translate what they do outside the field onto the field and put a good product together. This club is going to continue to grow year after year.
On his style of play
One of the first things that coach told us on the first day si that we need to treat the ball really well and basically that is what we are working on during practice here. Everybody here, we have a style of game that is very technical and that style of game suits my skills very well. That is what we are going to try to do: move the ball around, work on the timing of the games, control games by managing the possession of the ball.
On what the team has done to help him get used to living in Portland
From the very beginning [Gavin Wilkinson], my coach, everybody has provided me with everything I need to be here. This is a great city. I am already here with my family. I love it. It is a great city, but it is all thanks to the organization. These guys have everything organized and they have made it possible for us to be here now. We have just started to know the city and just going around and knowing places around the city; it is wonderful.
On what research he did before coming to Portland
I have been following the league for a while. I have friends playing here. Javier Morales from [Real Salt Lake], he is a friend of mine and I have stayed in touch with him. He has been telling me about the league and once the team got interested in me I started doing research on some of the teams. I watched some of the game when I was coming here for medical analysis and all of that, so it has always been of interest to me.
On how his game might compliment Diego Chara's
The general idea is that whoever is on the field will maintain possession of the ball, so whether it is Diego, [Darlington Nagbe], or anybody else on the team, what we are working on is possession of the ball so that we can hurt other teams just by doing that. So, it is just going to be that: create some possession, run some plays, score goals, and just put a good style of play on the field.
On how the style of play in Portland compared to what he is used to
It is actually very similar. We always tried to be the leader, maintain control of game, because that is the only way you will be able to hurt other teams. Move the ball around, try to make some good passes, and create opportunities so that you can capitalize on them. That is what we are going to be doing here too, to try to be the leader on the field. We are going to be the main attraction, that is the goal.