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Portland Timbers Training Notes And Quotes: The Last Practice Edition

PORTLAND, OR - OCTOBER 14:  The Timbers Army, fans of the Portland Timbers, cheer at Jeld-Wen Field on October 14, 2011 in Portland Oregon. The Dynamo won over the Timbers 2-0. (Photo by Jay Drowns/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OR - OCTOBER 14: The Timbers Army, fans of the Portland Timbers, cheer at Jeld-Wen Field on October 14, 2011 in Portland Oregon. The Dynamo won over the Timbers 2-0. (Photo by Jay Drowns/Getty Images)
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After a rough home defeat to the Houston Dynamo on Friday, the Portland Timbers trained today for the last time in Portland before the end of the season. Despite the overcast weather the mood in practice was light and optimistic as the Timbers kept it light as they recovered and prepared to travel to the District of Columbia for Wednesday’s match.

The Timbers focused primarily on quick passes and maintaining possession, spending most of the practice on variants of the 5v2 or 7v2 keep away drills that can be seen on any practice field. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the team lead by Kenny Cooper and Jack Jewsbury had the most success in quick passing situations.

Thoughts on practice and quotes from coach John Spencer and captain Jack Jewsbury after the jump.

Missing from practice was outside midfielder Sal Zizzo who could miss the next two games after taking an injury against Houston.

Darlington Nagbe also left practice early after taking a knock, which was a simple precautionary measure according to John Spencer.

Kalif Alhassan always seems to be juggling the ball in his down time. He is often joined by Rodrigo Lopez or Eric Alexander.


Coach John Spencer

On the Timbers playoff chances

I think that the guys realized that the results went our way this weekend, but you can’t keep waiting for other people to do things for you. You’ve got to do it yourself and that’s the disappointing thing, looking at the game. We never took full advantage of our last two home games. We would’ve been in a real good position, but someone up there likes us right now and gave us another life and a chance to go at it. So we’ll give it our best shot in D.C. and Salt Lake.

We need to go and get points. We need six points. If you say, if you get four you might... just go and get the six and if four is enough when you’ve got the six then great. One thing you don’t want to do is say let’s get four points and you need six. I think you prepare for the worst and hope for the best and for us D.C. is going to be a tough game at [their] home. They have lost the last four, they are obviously going to want to try to finish this season on a high. I know their head coach is a very, very competitive guy and they are a really, really good organization in the league for years. They are going to want to finish the season well at home. They are not going to want us to get to the playoffs, that’s for sure.

On Sal Zizzo’s injury

We’re going to get the results back this morning. He’ll probably miss the next two games for sure. We’ll see how it goes. Maybe Dr. Greenleaf give us good news.

On Darlington Nagbe leaving practice early

He just got a kick in the back of his calf the other night. There was a little bit of bruising in there so we’d rather not take any chances this time of year, just get him in and get him some therapy.

On Friday’s game against Houston

It was a very, very disappointing loss. I’m glad you put it like that. I don’t think it was a disappointing performance, I don’t think we got out played. I think we got out fouled, I thought they were more physical than us and at this time of year teams are going to fight, kick, scratch, do anything they can for three points and, frankly, the Dynamo came and got the three points; which probably propels them into the playoffs and puts us into a position where we’re fighting and trying to go on the road to get points, which is a difficult thing to do. I truly believe in this group and that were good enough to go and get three points in each place.

On D.C. United’s mentality for Wednesday’s game

I think that they’ll be looking to finish the season on a high and get as many points as possible and get into the playoffs. Anything is possible. I this league you can never tell what teams are going to play like. Look at Chicago. They’ve come with their late run as well. A few weeks ago they were dead and buried. … That’s what everybody has got to do, whether you’re in the playoffs or not, because the last thing that you want to do if you are in the playoffs is take your foot off the gas, coast in there, and then try to kick on again. It’s a hard thing to do. For us, we’re going to give it full pelt, this game and the next game, and see what we get from it.

On playing Dwayne DeRosario again this season

DeRosario is what he is in this league and he has been, and done what he’s done in this league, for the last ten years plain and simply because he is a top class player and he has unbelievable training habits. He’s probably one of the best trainers I’ve seen in my time in the game. Everything that he does, possession, five v. two, cross and finish, finishing exercises, he does it at game speed [with] game mentality and that is why it carries on. He trains like that every day so that is why it is just a natural reaction for him to go on the field and score goals and play well, because that is what he does every day in practice.

On the Timbers final road trip

Every other team has traveled. L.A. has traveled, Seattle has traveled, Salt Lake, they’ve all traveled [and] they’re in the playoffs, so why should it affect us? Why should we have the excuses that we’re an expansion team. We have got to travel in this league. It is as simple as that. [It is an] easy excuse to say I haven’t played well because I am tired from the travel, well, there [are] hundreds of other players in the league playing well that traveled too, so that is not an excuse. If you are looking for excuses you are going to find them. The bottom line is you’re selected to play, play well. Don’t blame the turf, don’t blame the size of the field, don’t blame the grass if it’s too wet.

Jack Jewsbury

On the Timbers playoff chances

You don’t like to have to look at those things, but at the end of the day yesterday was a pretty good day for us in terms of [the results around the league]. [We have got] two games left to make the playoffs. I think we all know what we have to do. Go to D.C. Have a good performance, better than this past weekend, knowing that our season is on the line.

[That was a] crazy ending to the D.C. game, obviously, you never know what is going to happen and I am sure that they are heart broken right now but they are still alive as well so that game on Wednesday is going to be huge.

As you guys saw after the game everybody was pretty devastated in the locker room. We didn’t know exactly what our chances were going to be. We were kind of just disappointed in the performance and the result, to be quite honest. So at that point, everybody went home and regrouped. Then to see those results go that way gives you that hope that we can still do this and makes sure that everyone in the locker room does know that there is a good chance and that this D.C. game is all or nothing. We have got to come out with a huge effort.

On playing Dwayne DeRosario again this season

Ever since he has been at D.C. he’s been on a great run of form, even before that. No matter when you are playing him you have got to be aware of him in big games because, as you’ve seen over his career, when the big games come up he is ready to play. [We’ve] definitely got to be aware of him. He’s a guy that always wants to be on the ball. He’s playing up top for them but definitely comes back into the midfield and tries to create a lot. [We’ve] just got to be aware of him. Communication is going to be key for myself and Eric Brunner always knowing where he is at, but at the end of the day we have got to focus on ourselves, the way we approach the game, and the mindset going in.