The Portland Timbers got in one last practice before leaving for LA this afternoon where they will take on Chivas USA in the Timbers final game of the regular season. With the team flying out soon the Timbers kept today's closed practice session short, wrapping things up after around 45' on the pitch.
Talking to the press after practice, Caleb Porter reflected on the Timbers' last match against Chivas, a 1-1 draw in LA on 9/14.
I think that the biggest thing is that we didn't come out with the right mentality last time. For whatever reason we didn't start proactive enough, aggressive enough. We were a little casual on the ball and got caught in the buildup a few times, turned over.
Anytime that happens early in the game you give the other team life, which we did. We fell asleep on a cross and gave up the first goal, and when that happens you make it harder on yourselves and we did that. We had a much better second half, played with urgency, and played like we should have played to start the game... We didn't like the way we played, we weren't happy with it and we made some changes. We've been much better starting games. Our mentality is right every game since then.
This is a great opportunity to go full circle, go back and play the team that got us started on a negative and we turned it into a positive. It would be a great way, a fitting way, to close the season with a good result there.
Porter also looked forward at what the Timbers will see from Chivas tomorrow.
They are very predictable... They've played pretty much the same lineup for the most part. A little bit of change in the back line, but they have been very predictable in how they've played. I think it's real clear what they've been doing, real clear how they play, real clear how they attack, real clear how they defend.
I think it is more about us. Making sure that we start the game the right way, like we have been.
Injuries and Absences
Diego Valeri was in the Timbers' warmups for the second day in a row after spending Monday and Tuesday on the sidelines riding an exercise bike. After practice, Porter said that Valeri will most likely start tomorrow, citing a good week of practice, a need for Valeri to get back in sync with the team after being in and out of training for several weeks, and the necessity of getting a win to put the Timbers on top of the Western Conference.
Andrew Jean-Baptiste was back in practice today after spending training yesterday on an exercise bike on the sidelines of practice and being spotted wearing a walking boot afterward.
Maximiliano Urruti was again on the sidelines of practice, watching the proceedings as he recovers from a hamstring sprain. Earlier this week, Porter said that Urruti would likely miss the match against Chivas as the team tries to get him healthy for the playoffs.
David Horst and Ryan Miller were on the sidelines riding exercise bikes today as they recover from their respective injuries. Horst is dealing with a knee sprain that should see him return to practice soon, while Miller is recovering from a stress fracture to his tibia that will keep him out for the rest of the season.