Working at their Beaverton training facility, the Portland Timbers held their second to last practice today before they take on Real Salt Lake in Sunday's do-or-die Western Conference Final second leg.
After today's closed session wrapped up, Caleb Porter took a moment to speak to the press. Talking about the Timbers' amazing six matches against RSL this year, Porter was ready to wrap up the series between the two teams.
I've never played a team five times in one season, especially in the tight time-frame that we have. I think we are getting sick and tired of seeing them and they are getting sick and tired of seeing us... I think we're all eager, I know we are and they are, to get this thing kicked off and to figure out who is going to be in the championship game and who's season is ending.
Will Johnson took a more diplomatic tact when talking about playing his former club so many times in one season.
Usually it is broken up a little bit better. Obviously, of our games down the stretch there were a lot of big ones against Salt Lake, but it has been fun. It's been quality soccer for the neutral. I think it has been quality for both fanbases to see a lot of entertaining matches between the two. Even the 0-0 I thought was an entertaining game, so we'll have to produce another quality performance and I am sure that they are feeling the same way.
Both Porter and Johnson agreed that they had never faced this often in this short of a time in their careers.
Injuries and Absences
I got to practice late today after getting stuck in line for a drive through coffee-hut. (How many coffees can you order from one vehicle? A lot, apparently.) Regardless, here are the two guys that I asked Porter about after practice.
Diego Valeri, who Merritt Paulson confirmed on twitter has been playing with a sports hernia for the last several months (before quickly deleting the tweet), was in practice today. This is the second day this week that Valeri has trained with the team after being out all of last week.
Pa Modou Kah was again practicing today, although he was wearing a different colored pinny than everyone else (per @jamiebgoldberg), which likely indicated that he was not to be part of the contact portions of practice. Kah has been dealing with a rib injury for the last several weeks that kept him out of practice for most of last week.
In response to questions about Kah and Valeri, Porter told the press that both players are healthy and will be ready for Sunday.
They both trained today and they both looked really good, really sharp. They looked as healthy as they can be.