The Portland Timbers put in their first training session of the new year today, hitting the pitch at Jeld-Wen Field under a sunny, blue sky. Practice was not overly ambitious today as the team began getting used to playing together again, starting off with a number of passing drills before switching into some short field games and more passing drills.
We will forgo the usual "injuries and absences" header here as we all work on coming to grips with all the new faces on the roster. Instead, let's run through the list of who was on hand for the first day of the preseason.
- Kalif Alhassan - Present.
- Diego Chara - Present.
Victor Chavez - Present.
- Futty Danso - Present.
- Steven Evans - Present. Evans was on the pitch for the start of practice, during the team huddle, but headed indoors for his workout. No word yet on the specifics of why he did not practice with the team.
- Gaston Fernandez - Present. Fernandez was wearing the number ten shirt at practice today, the only new arrival already sporting a number.
George Fochive - Present. For a player that lined up as a defensive midfielder in college, Fochive is slight fellow. He is athletic and skillful from the little we saw of him today, but he will likely need to bulk up if he is going to survive as a pro.
- Bryan Gallego - Present. Gallego was easily one of the most comfortable on the ball of the draft picks and other young, new arrivals.
- Jake Gleeson - Present.
- Michael Harrington - Absent. Harrington is still with the USMNT in Brazil and will miss the Timbers' first week of training. He will likely join the team in Tucson.
- Jack Jewsbury - Present.
Will Johnson - Present. Johnson admitted that his current haircut (or lack thereof) had already gotten him made fun of in the locker room.
Ryan Johnson - Absent. Johnson is rumored to be attempting to ply his trade overseas.
- Pa Modou Kah - Present.
- Milos Kocic - Absent. Kocic's MLS rights may be owned by the Timbers, but he has retired from the professional game, according to his website. It seems unlikely that we will see him back in Portland.
- Nikita Kotlov - Present.
Aaron Long - Present. Long is a big guy and would certainly add a presence to the Timbers' midfield that it has never had. That being said, he seems like more of the single pivot sort of midfielder that Porter might play if Will Johnson and Diego Chara were not on the team.
- Rauwshan McKenzie - Present.
- Darlington Nagbe - Present.
- Michael Nanchoff - Present.
Norberto Paparatto - Absent. According to Porter, Paparatto will arrive in Portland today and have his medical before joining the team for practice tomorrow.
- Taylor Peay - Present.
- Frederic Piquionne - Present. (Froderic - Absent.)
- Alvas Powell - Present.
- Donovan Ricketts - Present.
Mikael Silvestre - Absent. Porter managed to get through practice without being asked about Silvestre, but there seems to be every indication that he will not be back.
Schillo Tshuma - Present. Tshuma is quick. His skill was not particularly on display today, but there were several moments where he went from standing still to full speed in an instant. Physically, he is very reminiscent of Darlington Nagbe when he first entered the league.
Maximiliano Urruti - Absent. Urruti is currently inbound from Argentina, according to Porter, and should be in practice tomorrow.
Jose Adolfo Valencia - Absent. Valencia is on a year long loan to Club Olimpo in Argentina.
Diego Valeri - Present. Valeri, who had sports hernia surgery at the end of the 2013 season, was on the pitch for the team huddle but went indoors to continue his recovery work.
- Jorge Villafana - Present.
Rodney Wallace - Present. Wallace was present for the team huddle at the start of practice before going inside. Wallace's ACL tear in the Timbers' playoff match against Real Salt Lake will likely keep him out of practice until well into the season.
- Andrew Weber - Present.
Steve Zakuani - Present. Zakuani was out on the field for the initial team huddle before heading indoors to work out. At the end of last season, Zakuani was out as he recovered from sports hernia surgery and he is still getting back to full health after that procedure.
- Ben Zemanski - Present.
Trialists and Guest Players
The Timbers had three non-roster players with the team today. In addition to Gleeson, Ricketts, and Weber, the Timbers had two keepers training with the team today. The third non-roster player was identified by Caleb Porter as trialist Richie Menjivar, a Salvadoran national team midfielder.
Although Menjivar spent 2013 with the Atlanta Silverbacks, Timbers fans will remember him from the team's scarring 1-0 loss to Cal FC in the US Open Cup in 2012. It was Menjivar's hand ball that gave the Timbers' their penalty kick and a chance to tie the game, only to have Kris Boyd sky the ball into the stands.