The Portland Timbers trained at Jeld-Wen Field on Monday in positive spirits two days removed from their 0-0 draw in Philadelphia.
Futty Danso appeared to be at near full strength as he participated in the short field 8v8 two-touch scrimmage. Also participating in the scrimmage was John Spencer, which is reportedly a regular occurrence at the practice after a match.
More interesting factoids plus a whole mess of quotes after the jump.Saturday's starters spent the morning recuperating from Saturday's match, with only the reserves, subs and keepers joining John Spencer in the scrimmage. Coach Spencer played at right back for most of the scrimmage. He likes the long, cross-field switch.
James Marcelin seemed eager to build off his goals for Haiti, scoring on a few absolute cannons in the scrimmage against both Jake Gleeson and Troy Perkins. He played like he meant it and clearly wants some minutes.
Peter Lowry, as usual, was also impressive, and Eric Alexander looks like he's starting to mesh well with the rest of the group.
After the coaches had packed it in the team stuck around and worked more informally individually or in small groups. Some players worked on their touches, Perkins and Gleeson worked on their long balls, Sal Zizzo took some shots from range, and Merritt Paulson worked on his own skill from outside the area. A certain Oregonian writer humbly suggested that he should stick to running the team.
Later on I had a chance to chat with some players, including Rodney Wallace in his triumphant return from his performance with Costa Rica. He didn't have a lot to say about it.
On the result against the Philadelphia Union:
Obviously we try to win every game, but they're a good team, and as our road record shows, we haven't been the best on the road, so a good point, especially at this part of the season, is important for us. They had some opportunities, we had some, but to walk out with a point after having two and a half weeks off and getting ourselves back in, especially a point on the road, against a good opponent, you know, we'll take it and make sure we take advantage of our games at home now.
On the qualities that helped the Timbers gain the positive result:
I think this group has matured a lot over the past month and a half or so. I think you saw a new, matured Portland Timbers squad out there. I don't think there was one point in that game, especially in the last ten minutes, where one guy was worried about, "Oh no, we're gonna concede a goal," or "Oh my gosh, we're in a tough spot right now, you know, we're conceding a lot of pressure." I think everybody as a whole, from the front guys all the way to Troy were very composed, and I think that was the biggest difference for us.
On taking a point and keeping a clean sheet in Philadelphia:
It's satisfying in the respect that we went and we battled for 90 minutes against a team that really came out in the first twenty minutes and took it to us. Not many teams have gone there and gotten a result, and for us to walk away with a point -- it helps us, but three points would have been better.
I think it (the clean sheet) is a positive for the guys in front of me. They fought nail and tooth to get it. Obviously we took our knocks, as in any game you're going to have to fight for it, but it's that time of the season where every team and every game is like that ... and that's what it takes to get a good result.
On playing in front of the Philadelphia crowd:
They're loud, but they're not as loud as here or our partners up north. It's Philadelphia. They're a sports town, they're probably some of the most outspoken fans, they're not the nicest people in the world -- it's a hostile environment... I think the league is moving towards that, and the Pacific Northwest has really set the standard.
On scrimmaging with John Spencer:
Sometimes he gets pretty winded pretty quickly, so if he's on your team, defensively you're stuck. But he's still got it. He can still play.
On getting into the playoffs:
Personally it'd be much easier, and my life would be much better, if we were already in the playoffs, or if we were up in that fifth or sixth position. But we find ourselves in this position -- it's our own fault, not taking care of games here at home, where we were up 3-1 or 2-0 and we go down. It's our own dinner, as we made it, and we gotta be able to win these next games at home and hopefully get a couple of results on the road to put ourselves in the playoffs.