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Portland Timbers Training Notes And Quotes: Playoff Weather Edition

Today’s practice took place at Jeld-Wen Field under overcast skies.  By the end of practice the crisp breeze blowing through the stadium would be supplemented by just the slightest sprinkling of rain.  As Captain Jack would later tell us, it was the kind of weather that lets you know it is time to do or die.

The practice was somewhat short-handed with five players away on national team duty.  Futty Danso (Gambia) and Brian Umony (Uganda) will be playing in the African Cup of Nations tomorrow, while Steve Purdy (El Salvador) and James Marcelin (Haiti) play World Cup Qualifiers today; and Diego Chara (Columbia) plays Tuesday.

Thoughts on practice and trialist Omar Jasseh after the jump.

Omar Jasseh continues his trial with the Timbers and despite struggling early on he seemed to be working well with the team by the end of the day.  Early in practice he was having some trouble adjusting to the slippery turf of Jeld-Wen which had been sprayed down before practice got under way.  However, as the practice went on he seemed to get more used to the surface and became much more involved.  During the 10v10 short field game that the Timbers closed practice with Jasseh exhibited excellent speed and skill on the ball, playing a similar game to Sal Zizzo, but with more of a penchant to move inside to receive the ball.

The Timbers strikers seemed to be on top of their game at practice today with Kenny Cooper and Darlington Nagbe in particular scoring a number of goals.  Nagbe managed to flick a back-heeled ball around keeper Troy Perkins early on in the 10v10 game.  With each passing practice I am more and more impressed with Nagbe’s skill set as well as his physical abilities.  Numerous times during practice today he was able to beat a defender on the dribble or blow by them with speed.

Kalif Alhassan seemed to be playing a central midfield position for much of the 10v10 game which, thanks to the size of the field being utilized, made him almost seem like a defensive midfielder.  Given his penchant for trying to dribble out of trouble or play low percentage passes, I do not think we will be seeing him lined up as a DM for the Timbers any time soon.

Finally, the match up between Bright Dike and David Horst was an epic one that saw Horst coming away with a fist full of Dike’s jersey and Dike knocking Horst out of the air and onto his butt while contesting a header.  I would not want to get in the way of either.

I have some quotes from team captain Jack Jewsbury and defender Mike Chabala, but they will have to wait until tomorrow, so make sure to check back.  In the mean time... I am late for work.