After their week off the Portland Timbers are diving back into league play head first this week and adjusting their practices accordingly. With a midweek game against Real Salt Lake, the Timbers held a closed practice today at their Beaverton training center that was equal parts regeneration and preparation.
Practice started off with some light jogging and agility drills designed to loosen the players up without fatiguing them. From there the Timbers moved into a series of passing drills emphasizing attacking runs and breaking the opponent's lines as the team will look to penetrate the Salt Lake defense on Wednesday like we saw in the first half against FC Dallas. The team then played some games of 8v8+2 keep away before splitting into groups of attackers and defenders to work on their roles for Wednesday. Finally, the players who did not see the pitch on Saturday had a small game to close out practice.
After training wrapped up, Caleb Porter talked about the pace of this week after having all of last week to train.
It's just a shorter window so we have less opportunities to work on things in training and we got right back to work today. Saturday was done and no one was having any halo from Saturday. That was done. It's back to business. That was filed away and now we are focused on Salt Lake. We are going to put everything into winning that game and getting three points.
Injuries and Absences
Will Johnson was at practice today, but he did not warm up with the team. Johnson stayed on the sidelines and worked with one of the Timbers' trainers, doing stability exercises. He has been out since the Timbers' US Open Cup match against RSL two weeks ago. After practice, Caleb Porter again called Johnson "day to day", however, Geoffrey C. Arnold of the Oregonian tweeted that Johnson said he would not play on Wednesday.
Ben Zemanski, who has regularly featured in the Timbers' midfield in the absence of Johnson or Diego Chara, was confirmed by Porter to be available and not, as some has speculated, suspended due to yellow card accumulation. While Zemanski did pick up his fifth yellow of the year on Saturday, he had gone three games without a yellow card and therefore had his total number of cards reduced before then.
Jack Jewsbury was missing from practice today. Jewsbury has been out of practice, other than a few warmup sessions, since he picked up an ankle injury in the match against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Despite not practicing recently, Jewsbury has been on the bench for both the cup game against RSL and Saturday's match against Dallas.
Frederic Piquionne, who has also been out since the Vancouver game with an ankle injury, was at the training center today working out indoors.
Futty Danso was also at the training facility today but did not train with the team. Futty was likely riding once of the exercise bikes on the sidelines of the training pitch, as he was on Thursday and Friday last week.
Trialists and Guest Players
Although they were not really trialists or guest players, the Timbers' academy teams were also present today. The academy players observed the Timbers' training and practiced on the facility's turf field after the Timbers had finished.