The Portland Timbers held a closed practice at Providence Park this morning as they make their final preparations for tomorrow's match against the Philadelphia Union. The day started off with a long team meeting, standard procedure for the day before a match, before the Timbers hit the field for their usual tactical run through behind closed doors.
Caleb Porter was more guarded than usual as he spoke to the press after practice.
I don't get to high or low. I just prepare my team and focus on what I can control to win the game. It is a long season so this game is three points just like the next game and the next game for 34 games. We are excited; it is going to be fun and the crowd is going to be electric. It is always exciting when you start the season, but we are going to stay pretty level-headed and I think you will see a group that is approaching it the right way.
As always, Porter was unwilling to reveal much of his plans for the next day, but he did not that having seen Diego Valeri in action was helpful when determining just how the Timbers' front four would come together.
I think it helps having Valeri in the last couple of weeks because you can see some evidence in a game that gives you something to go on. It could change after this game, but I think we know where we are at going into this game with what we have seen in the past games.
If the replacement referees who will be officiating the matches tomorrow were concerning Porter, he did not show it.
Injuries and Absences
Schillo Tshuma was back in the team warm ups before practice was closed to the press today after being spotted on the sidelines working with a trainer yesterday. When asked about Tshuma's availability tomorrow, Porter held his cards close to his chest, telling the press, "you'll see."