The Timbers Started out today's practice with a brief warm-up before diving into the yo-yo fitness test, or "beep" test. After testing was complete the team went back to their usual activities, playing several games of keep away before finishing up practice with a short fielded game of six on six.
Caleb Porter was quick to point out that the yo-yo fitness test was part of a consistent fitness monitoring program that includes the everyday use of heart-rate monitors and accelerometers, likely the Adidas miCoach system. With the recent signing of Frederic Piquionne as well as the return of Jack Jewsbury and David Horst to full training, the yo-yo fitness test also helped the team get a better understanding of their progression toward game fitness.
Today's practice saw another interesting development as eleven of the Timbers Academy players from Oregon trained with the first team coaches during their spring break. The academy players in attendance included U-16's keeper Joe Wheelwright, and U-18's forward Christian Desir.
Next week a group of players from Washington will join the team during their spring break.
Trialists and Guest Players
The Timbers' mystery trialist from last Friday returned today and continued to practice with the team. In the team's games of 6 on 6 during practice today he lined up on the right side of the defense but did not get forward significantly, making me think he is either a center back or a defensively minded right back. (Correction: I tweeted during practice that he was not with the team during warm-ups, but the Timbers staff tell me he was. Less tweeting, more observing.)
The mystery college player who trained with the team on Friday was also still in attendance, although he trained with the Timbers academy players.
Named trialist Kazuya Murata also continued his time with the Timbers today.
Finally, David Meves continued his stint training with the team as a practice player in anticipation of the upcoming U-23's season, where it is rumored he will be a player.
Injuries and Absences
Darlington Nagbe rode an exercise bike on the sidelines alongside Sal Zizzo and Mobi Fehr for the majority of practice today. Nagbe and Fehr took part in the team's early warm-ups but left before the fitness testing began.
Hanyer Mosquera continued his leave of absence from the team today. Mosco has been back in Colombia for one week now.
The Timbers' international call-ups are all still away with their respective national teams. Futty Danso is expected to be back in town today and to practice tomorrow, while Donovan Ricketts, Ryan Johnson, and Will Johnson are all expected back tomorrow and will practice with the team on Thursday (there is no training scheduled for Wednesday).
Brent Richards and Bright Dike both remain out in the long term following their respective knee injuries during preseason. Richards was on the sidelines for much of practice today, doing some stretching, light exercises, and even a little juggling of the ball.
Kazuya Murata is nifty with the ball at his feet. He does not use flashy moves to beat defenders but seems to be good at causing defenders to hesitate, which gives him room to get a shot off.
Murata's right footed shot looks deadly, while his left footed shot looks at least passable.
The style of play that Murata showed off today reminds me of Nagbe. He is strong on the dribble, has a nice shot, good if not great passing, and seems to like to cut in from outside. He also lined up in a similar left wing position to what we have seen Nagbe play so far this year.