Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
The Portland Timbers held an open practice today at their Beaverton training facility. The practice was spirited but sloppy as the team got back into the swing of things on their day off.
Today's training session got started late as the team met inside before practice. However, the proceedings eventually got underway with the usual assortment of passing drills and games of keep away before eventually graduating on to a series of short field games. Breaking from the usual regen day formula, the team's starters practiced alongside the rest of the team, but were sent inside midway through the short field game the team was playing.
The big news for the team today was the upcoming arrival of Frederic Piquionne later today. Piquionne has received his visa will likely practice with the team tomorrow. There was no specific word on his international transfer certificate, although a team staffer did say that the process was going smoothly.
Trialists and Guest Players
The Timbers had a new player training with the team today, Anders Vest Hansen, a 21 year old Danish midfielder who plays for Fairleigh Dickinson University. Vest Hansen will be a junior with FDU for the 2013 season and has played as a defensive midfielder during his two years with the university. He is training with the Timbers while on his spring break.
Kyle Altman continued his trial with the team today. Altman has now been with the Timbers since the final week of the preseason. As of last week Caleb Porter confirmed that Altman is still being considered for a roster spot, but had not yet shown the Timbers enough to make a decision.
David Meves also continued to train with the team today.
Injuries and Absences
David Horst, after missing all of February thanks to a groin strain, has been working his way back to fitness. Although Horst will likely not practice with the team this week, he was out on the pitch doing some jogging under the supervision of team trainer Nik Wald after practice had wrapped up.
Brent Richards was spotted spending some time on the sidelines watching practice today. Richards, along with Bright Dike and Sal Zizzo, is still recovering from knee surgery. Richards and Dike are expected to be out for another five months, while Zizzo could return at the end of the month.
- Especially in the early games of keep away the team did not seem sharp with their passing, but were very aggressive in their defending. There were lots of slide tackles on the still wet grass, some more in control than others.
- Steven Evans just seems like an annoying player to go up against. Going forward he is very strong when holding off defenders and on defense he seems like he is always pulling jerseys and sticking a foot in the way. He still has a ways to go in his positioning (although playing as a striker in some of the games today probably didn't help) and was popping up all over the field at practice today.
- My top moment at practice today was a Sebastian Rincon half-volley from about twenty yards out that was hit with power and curled down right into the upper corner of the net. It was a very well struck volley that would be a certain goal of the week contender if done in a game.
- Darlington Nagbe also had a nice moment during the short field game as he received the ball around the six, turned, and chipped over an onrushing David Meves. It was a class finish and one done with no hesitation.
- Vest Hansen played as a defensive midfielder during the short field games and started out playing very high and putting pressure on the defenders. Midway through the game the field was lengthened and with more room to work in he laid back further.
- When the starters headed inside, Will Johnson stayed out on the turf pitch and continued running for some time before going indoors as well.
- Ben Zemanski played primarily at right back today, sending in several early crosses reminiscent of the one that found Ryan Johnson for the Timbers lone goal on Saturday. On the goal Zemanski had this to say after practice today:
I was just trying to make up for the one I hit before that that went into the stands. I just got a good ball from Chara, picked my head up, and I saw a couple guys going to the back post so I tried to get it there.