The Portland Timbers held a closed practice this morning ahead of tomorrow's match against visiting FC Dallas. After a warmup consisting of a series of stretches and agility drills, the press were ushered off the pitch and into the bowels of Jeld-Wen while the team went through their final preparations for Dallas.
After practice wrapped up, Porter addressed the press and talked about the week's training.
It's been a great week of training. You know, it is nice to have a week to build it up and to do a progression, physically and tactically, where you can get a lot out of it. That has been nice, the attitude has been great, and we accomplished a lot. I am confident we will take what we worked on into the game tomorrow.
With Dallas widely speculated to be switching to a 4-4-2 diamond formation Porter also addressed the possibility of seeing something new from Dallas, a team that the Timbers have faced twice in league play, once in the Open Cup, and once in the preseason already this year.
We've prepared the guys to see a 4-2-3-1, which is what they have typically played all year, and we have prepared the guys to deal with a 4-4-2 diamond. Within that there are a few options they could go with, personnel-wise. I think the guys are prepared. They know what they could see. There might be a tweak in the shape that they use, but overall their personnel is the same, their characteristics are the same.
Porter took a moment to elaborate on what those characteristics are.
They are a team that is good on set pieces. We have to be aware of that and they are a team that hs some very talented individual players: Castillo, Jackson, Ferreira, Perez, Cooper if he is in there. These are players that could hurt you individually. They like to get balls into the box. They are good in there. The are things that we have worked on and talked about and shown on film. We have prepared the guys for a couple different looks, but the biggest thing we need to do is play our game.
Dallas may be in a slump currently, one that started with a 2-2 draw against the Colorado Rapids but was really kicked off by Dallas's 1-0 loss to the Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field back in June, but Porter is not counting them out.
It doesn't get any easier. Everyone is talking about Dallas being in a slump, going ten games without winning; they are still on 33 points and it is easy to forget that they were on of the best teams in the first half of the year. They are still the same team. They have lost a little bit of confidence, but overall they are a dangerous team and they know they can turn the tend of the season around here by getting a result.
Injuries and Absences
Will Johnson did not take part in training today. Johnson has been called "day to day" by Caleb Porter since coming out of last Wednesday's match again Real Salt Lake with a knock to his shoulder. The Timbers captain was out on the field after practice wrapped up. Johnson appeared to still be holding his arm gingerly.
Jack Jewsbury, who has been in and out of the warmups for the last two weeks with an ankle injury, was back in training today, although he seemed hesitant when putting pressure on the ankle. Jewsbury was also labeled "day to day" by Porter.
Frederic Piquionne, who has been out of practice since the match against the Vancouver Whitecaps two weeks ago, was on the sidelines today, stretching and riding an exercise bike while the team worked out. Although Piquionne tweeted that he hoped to be back for tomorrow's game at the time of the injury, he seems like a scratch for this one, despite also being called "day to day" by Porter.
Also riding an exercise bike on the sidelines was Futty Danso. Futty has been out since the Timbers' friendly against Norwich City last month thanks to a "foot injury".
Brent Richards, who earlier this week got his first opportunity to warm up with the Timbers since he tore his ACL back in February, was not warming up with the team today. Richards did take in practice from the sidelines.