Practice took place at the Timbers' Beaverton training facility this morning. After yesterday's light regen session, today's practice was more physically intense as the team played a round robin tournament of short field games.
Caleb Porter emphasized the opportunity afforded to the team by this bye-week to train and continue coming together as a team after seeing the Timbers' strengths and weaknesses in season's first three games.
"Obviously we know some things after three games that we did not know, that we need to correct as well," said Porter of the team's progress early in the season.
"We have a whole new team. I don't know if there is another team in the league that has been starting six new guys. We have been starting six brand new players and there are a lot of guys also who are on the bench that are new as well. We are still building our chemistry, we are still evolving into the team we want to be."
Injuries and Absences
Sal Zizzo returned to training today, taking part in the team's early warm-ups before heading back inside to continue his recovery from a torn meniscus.
David Horst, who trained with the team yesterday for the first time since the Timbers' preseason camp in Tucson, was also on the pitch today. Horst took part in the team's warm-ups and passing drills before breaking off to work out independently with fitness coach John Cone.
On the return of Horst and Zizzo to practice, Porter had this to say, "to get Sal back, to get Horst back, it is only going to strengthen our team."
Darlington Nagbe was surprisingly absent from today's practice and was reportedly training indoors.
Also missing from practice were Hanyer Mosquera on a leave of absence in Colombia, Will Johnson with the Canadian national team, Donovan Ricketts and Ryan Johnson with the Jamaican national team, Futty Danso with the Gambian national team, and Bright Dike and Brent Richards out due to knee injuries suffered during the preseason.
Trialists and Guest Players
Trialists Kyle Altman and Kazuya Murata continued training with the team today. Altman has been with the team since the preseason, while Murata joined the Timbers in Seattle for Sunday's reserve league game.
Training player David Meves also continued training with the Timbers today.
Rounding out the numbers in today's practice with keeper Donovan Ricketts on international duty with Jamaica was Timbers' Academy keeper Collin Partee. Partee plays for the Timbers' U-18's.
- During the team's mini tournament Michael Nanchoff and Sebastian Rincon regularly combined for some excellent one-two passes that lead to goals. Those two have some excellent chemistry.
- Another pair of players that meshed well together was Frederic Piquionne and Mikael Silvestre. The two long-serving veterans clearly know all the tricks of the trade and used them to good effect on their younger teammates. Particularly impressive (an maybe a little unfair) was Silvestre's shoulder fake on Academy keeper Collin Partee that nearly had the young goalie fall over while Silvestre drilled the ball home at the near post.
- Rodney Wallace and Diego Chara were the final impressive pair that I noticed in the mini tournament. Both players made regular late runs into the box and scored some nice goals thanks to their timely arrivals. Their team, which also included Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Kalif Alhassan, and Ben Zemanski, had the best defense of the tournament thanks to their solid shape on defense.