Today's Portland Timbers training session at Jeld-Wen Field was preceded by a longer than usual video session, one that kept the Timbers indoors almost forty minutes. When they did take the pitch, the team seemed to be in good spirits, first kicking the ball around then going through their warmups before training was closed.
Perhaps the biggest question facing Caleb Porter in his post practice press scrum today was the fate of Pa Modou Kah in his first game with the Timbers. Porter confirmed that Kah would travel and dress, but was unlikely to break into the starting line up after one and a half practices with the team and a month in between games.
Injuries and Absences
Michael Nanchoff continued to make progress as he works his way back from the heel bruise that has kept him out of training this week. Although Nanchoff did some jogging around the outside of the pitch while the rest of the team trained he will not travel north to take part in this weekend's reserve game.
Sebastian Rincon made a brief appearance before warmups commenced and talked to fitness coach John Cone before heading inside. According to Caleb Porter Rincon was held out today with a hamstring issue, but he will travel with the reserves.
David Horst made an appearance on the sidelines today, riding an exercise bike while the rest of the team warmed up. Horst is still getting around on crutches and likely will be for a while yet as the bone in his knee fully heals.
Brent Richards was also on the sidelines of the pitch today. Richards, who is probably the furthest along in his recovery of all the Timbers injured players, did some juggling and kicking a ball against the wall as he observed practice.
Bright Dike showed up on the pitch after practice had wrapped up. He passed the ball back and forth with Mobi Fehr as Caleb Porter addressed the press. Although he was wearing a knee brace, Dike looked to be moving well. Both Dike and Richards are expected to be recovered from their injuries in August.
Mikael Silvestre, who is out with a long term knee injury as well, was not on the field at practice today.
Trialists and Guest Players
Rauwshan McKenzie continued his second trial of the season with the Timbers today. McKenzie is a central defender who most recently played for Chivas USA. According to Caleb Porter earlier this week, McKenzie is being looked at to increase the depth available at centerback. Porter also noted that one of the challenges that McKenzie faced was regaining his level of fitness, something that has been evident in his training.
David Meves did not train with the team yesterday after the Timbers U-23s' 2-0 defeat of the Seattle Sounders U-23s in their home opener yesterday.
- As the team was kicking the ball around before their warmups, several players were practicing taking penalty kicks. Ben Zemanski, after taking a few shots himself, bravely stepped into goal. Although Zemanski did not make any saves, I am willing to credit him with psyching out Will Johnson, who put his spot kick and the ensuing follow up off the crossbar.
- Trialist Rauwshan McKenzie had a crack from the center spot as well, placing one PK into the lower left hand corner then faking out Zemanski, his teammate at Chivas USA for half a season, and putting his second attempt into the lower right corner.
- Pa Modou Kah, in what may have been his first time on the pitch at Jeld-Wen Field, took a moment to kneel down and, in a motion familiar to football fans everywhere, picked up a piece of the turf and kissed it before heading out to practice.