The Portland Timbers are back in town following the team's hard-fought 3-1 extra time loss against the Seattle Sounders in the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup on Wednesday. There is no time for the Timbers to lick their wounds, however, as the two teams play again this Sunday, once again in Seattle.
Liam Ridgewell, the Timbers' new designated player, practiced with the team today at the Timbers' Beaverton training facility and, as they worked on recovering for Sunday's rematch, Caleb Porter was evaluating Ridgewell's fitness. Unfortunately for those who want defensive reinforcements now, Ridgewell will not be available for Sunday's match, according to Porter.
Porter did tell the press that Ridgewell was in better shape than he had thought that he would be, but reminded the press that Ridgewell had not practiced since April, when he strained his MCL and ended his season in the EPL.
For his part, Ridgewell confirmed that he still had a ways to go before being back at full fitness.
Obviously I have had a little time off for the preseason. I got to do a little bit while I was at home, but it was nice to just get out there and start kicking the ball around again, to be honest.
Talking more about his fitness, Ridgewell wouldn't speculate on a time frame, but did use the word "gaffer", which has not been said on a soccer pitch in Portland since 2012.
That was the first proper training session that I have done. I felt really good, but we are just going to assess it and see how I get on. It'll be me telling the gaffer how I feel and the gaffer seeing how I feel and just taking it from there. I fell really good today and we will just take it day by day.
Beyond his return to the pitch, Ridgewell seemed excited to be in Portland and joining the team.
When I came to visit [Portland] was just a fantastic city and watching the games and what I saw of it was great. It'll be a new experience, a new challenge for me in my football career, and one that I am ready to relish and start my career with Portland. It was a big decision, obviously, coming from London, but one that I am going to throw myself right into and try to help the team.
Trialists and Guest Players
The Timbers had two trialists in training today, Ghanaian youngsters Lord Ofosuhene and Abdul Fatawu Safiu, both currently with International Allies FC.
Ofosuhene, 20, is a striker listed at 5'8" who spent the last two years on the books with FC Porto, going on loan to Portuguese youth side Rio Ave FC.
Safiu, also 20, is an offensively minded winger, previously of Sweden's Vimmerby IF. Safiu's highlights, compiled in 2012, can be found here.
Injuries and Absences
Pa Modou Kah did not practice with the team today, according to Porter, as he is still recovering from the achilles tendinitis that has dogged him this year.
Norberto Paparatto participated in some of the day's practice and will be questionable for this weekend, Porter said.
Maximiliano Urruti Did some work on the pitch with the team's trainers, but will not be available for this weekend's match.
Ben Zemanski was again doing some running on the pitch, under the direction of the team's trainers.