The Timbers continued their post season training today, playing an 8v8 scrimmage which occasionally featured an extra attacking player going either way.
Bright Dike, James Marcelin and Steve Purdy worked off to the side with the Timbers strength and conditioning coach Karim Derqaoui early on before leaving the field early. When I arrived they were primarily working on jump distance and Dike seemed to be just barely edging out the competition.
More notes from practice plus John Spencer talks about injuries and traveling abroad after the jump.
Tony McManus continued working out with the team and took part in the 8v8, looking quite at home mixing it up on the pitch at Jeld-Wen.
Eddie Johnson continued his return, practicing with a padded headband. Although there were no battles going on in mid-air during the scrimmage, Johnson did not shy away from taking what headers came to him. He seemed a little rusty and behind the speed of play but still created several good chances for his teammates in the scrimmage.
Two players that have been much discussed here at Stumptown Footy recently, Kalif Alhassan and Eric Alexander, had good showings this practice. Both created well from their midfield positions and were among the most creative players on the pitch. Additionally, both took several long shots out of the midfield, scoring several goals. Overall, I would say Alexander’s shots looked more dangerous as he is more apt to strike them with power while Kalif generally tries to finesse them.
Other players that impressed during this practice were Freddy Braun and Rodney Wallace. Both got forward well from their defensive positions but each impressed for different reasons. Braun occasionally struggled to pass the ball off when he got forward, but he was a ball of energy throughout the match and never seemed to give up on a tackle, similar to Diego Chara. Wallace, on the other hand, was very impressive going forward and had several excellent moves to beat defenders that lead to some of the best crosses of the scrimmage. More than any player on the Timbers, Wallace is will to play in an early cross to a player crashing the box rather than pulling back and waiting for more players to arrive.
Missing from practice were Darlington Nagbe, Jack Jewsbury, and Jorge Perlaza, all of whom Coach Spencer touched upon after practice.
Coach John Spencer
On Sal Zizzo
He’s had surgery. He’s starting his rehabilitation now so [it is a] big bummer for us [and a] big bummer for him. If you’re going to have it the best time to have it really is the end of the year when we can get him surgery and get him rehabbed and hopefully get him back in time for the start of the season, if not just a month in.
On Ryan Pore
The situation hasn’t changed. He’s obviously been up there for the year on loan, there is no point in bringing him in if we are only going to train for the next seven or eight days so there’s no point.
On Darlington Nagbe
He just tweaked his knee a little bit, so as I say this time of year there is no point in bringing him back for what? For ten days training? So he’s just in the gym rehabbing and just making sure we get everything right with him.
On Jack Jewsbury
He had a little bit of numbness in his fingers.
There was a nerve that was trapped in his elbow so he is getting that cleaned up.
On Jorge Perlaza
Jorge just had problems with his lower back. That’s why he never played a lot of minutes toward the end of the year. It wasn’t that he was dropped or fell out of favor or anything. We have a lot of respect for him, we feel that he’s going to be a quality player for a number of years here, so we just don’t want to take chances, you know.
On post-season practices
If the guys here are fit and able to do it then they come out to practice. The problem is [that] if you shut the practice down the guys would probably come in and work out anyway so it is better to try and do it in more of a controlled environment.
On traveling to scout talent
Gavin goes tonight and he’s away in South America. I would love to be going myself but I have to wait for my travel documents and obviously I am getting my green card and stuff so I cannot leave the country at the moment. Once I get my documents through, it should be in the next week or so, then I’ll be off on my travels as well.
I am hoping that we’ll go on at least one trip together. I was penciled in to go on this trip but my documents just took a little longer than we thought, so he’s off on his own.