Portland Timbers Training Quotes and Notes: Balance at the Back

Michael Harrington talks to the press after practice. 3/8/13 - William Conwell

The Portland Timbers held practice at their Beaverton training facility this morning as the team ramps up their preparations for Saturday's game against the visiting Montreal Impact.

Practice today was closed after the team's usual warm ups and was just wrapping up as the press were allowed back out onto the pitch.

As practice was shut down the starters went to one end of the pitch and broke into two groups, one comprised of defenders and the other of midfielders and forwards. The attacking group needed to score while the defenders were tasked with clearing the ball out of the area and into one of two small goals down the field.

The drill emphasized defensive shape for the Timbers' backs, something on the minds of the team today ahead of this weekend's game against Montreal who play a counterattacking style. Defender Michael Harrington talked briefly about the need for the defense and midfield to maintain a balanced shape in order to deal with Montreal's dangerous wide players:

Me and [Ryan Miller] especially, or [Diego Chara] and [Will Johnson] in the middle, we have got to have that balance. If one goes the other has got to hold. If we manage that properly I don't think it will be an issue.

Injuries and Absences

David Horst continued to miss practice today while he works his way back from an ongoing groin strain. Horst has been out since the team's preseason training camp in Tucson.

Donovan Ricketts took to the field today for practice after training inside on Monday and Tuesday.

Frederic Piquionne is still overseas applying for his visa. According to Caleb Porter's comments earlier this week, Piquionne has a meeting scheduled with the DM addy to have his visa approved, but there no exact estimate for his arrival date yet.

Bright Dike, Brent Richards, and Sal Zizzo all remain out after undergoing assorted knee surgeries.

Trialists and Guest Players

Kyle Altman continued training with the Timbers today as the team's coaching staff evaluates him.

David Meves is also still with the team as a practice player.

Practice Notes

  • Jack Jewsbury worked with the usual group of starters today as their eleventh man, playing with the backs as a defensive midfielder in a drill that pitted the forwards and midfield against the defense. This might indicate that Jack is not as far outside the game day line up as I speculated after Tuesday's practice.
  • After practice Will Johnson, Ryan Johnson, and Ryan Miller worked on playing the ball into the corner and getting off a cross with WJ playing in Miller who would send a first-time cross in to RJ.
  • Caleb Porter stayed out on the pitch today for quite a while after most of the team had headed inside while he worked one on one with Andrew Jean-Baptiste. It looked like Porter was emphasizing positioning and adjusting to high pressure.
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