The Portland Timbers returned to practice this Wednesday after taking Tuesday off to rest and recuperate. After the usual passing drills the Timbers broke into a 10v10 full-field passing drill followed by a full 11v11 scrimmage.
Futty Danso participated in the full practice once again and looked like he was rapidly approaching full match fitness, particularly in the full-field drill where he was not shy about contesting a header and knocking Rodney Wallace out of his way (and right out of the air).
However, despite the return of Futty, the Timbers were still missing a number of players with only 21 on hand for the practice.
More injury news and some random observations, plus quotes from Coach John Spencer, Lovel Palmer, and Captain Jack Jewsbury after the jump.
Eddie Johnson and Adin Brown remained out of practice with no estimated return date while they each recover from concussions.
David Horst remains out after sustaining a groin strain against Philadelphia on Saturday and will likely be a game time decision against the Revolution.
Jorge Perlaza, according to John Spencer, reported for practice but had been vomiting for the last two days and was sent home as a precaution to prevent his illness from spreading but should be fine by Friday.
Troy Perkins was absent to deal with a family matter and will be fine for Friday's game against New England.
Jake Gleeson was the only goalie on hand, so the Timbers' keeper coach Adam Smith filled in during the scrimmage.
The scrimmage saw Futty lining up alongside Eric Brunner in the center of the defense while Darlington Nagbe and Kenny Cooper paired up in the forward position. Rodney Wallace also made an appearance with the first team during the scrimmage, although Chabala lined up in that position during the passing drills earlier in practice.
Up front Nagbe displayed his silky-smooth moves and generally made combining with his teammates look easy. However, he still displayed a propensity for turning his back to goal and holding up the ball even when Cooper was making a run forward.
Bright Dike looked consistently dangerous throughout practice, and not just because his shot could break a man in half and he heads the ball harder than some guys can kick it. He made good runs throughout practice and looked like he is ready to cause some trouble for New England on Friday.
On some fuzz in my beard
"You've got a little bit of popcorn in your beard there. You don't want me looking at it all the time, you know what I mean?"
On the changes to New England's squad
"Well, obviously they've added Feilhaber who brings them a lot of quality and a lot of experience. He's a really good player. I actually recommended that my brother-in-law, when he was at Derby County, sign him. He signed him and it obviously didn't work out for whatever reasons but he is a quality individual and he can win a game on his own. We need to be very, very wary of him when he comes here because he is a good footballer."
On the pressure the team is under
"They're all big games. Any club that has the following that we have doesn't play small games."
On playing Rodney Wallace in a midfield position
"I felt that they were starting to come down our left side too fast and too frequent. I just felt it was more of a defensive substitution."
"He may have played there in college to some level, but I think we've seen him there some weeks ago score a diving header against... um... in his national team debut. I dont know who it was against, but."
On Rodney Wallace scoring against the USMNT
"I didn't want to mention that in case I get denied for my green card."
On the Timbers emphasis on fast attacking play
"The one thing you can't coach is speed. You can't coach somebody to be quicker if they are not quick. One thing that we do have with some players is great speed, especially with Sal, Darlington, Jorge. We have got guys that have pace that can cause teams problems."
On what it will take to reach the playoffs
"I think it is going to be more than just three wins to get there but we have got as good a chance as any team that is fighting for the last couple spots right now."
On the result in Philadelphia
"We've played a lot better at times and gotten nothing from the game. It could be a valuable point where you don't play well but it is the point that gets you into the playoffs at the end of the day."
On the team's chemistry
"All the guys, they really want it. They know what is at stake. Very few expansion teams make the playoffs in their first season and we want to be one of those teams. Everyone is just gunning for that."
On the team's chemistry
"I think that this group has had faith in ourselves and our coaching staff has had it in us and the whole group feels good about things right now."
On the result in Philadelphia
"Getting a good point on the road this past weekend I think was a step in the right direction, especially for the way we have played on the road this season, so we are excited about that and ready to be back here at home."
On the possibility of making the playoffs
"It would be huge, I think. For us as the players that has been the goal from second one."
I think that a lot of people counted us out in the beginning, wanting to say that we are an expansion team and we are happy with winning a few games here and there. We feel like we are at a good spot right now, but we could be at an even better spot. We gave away some points earlier on in the season that would have moved us up in the standings, but at the end of the day it is on us now."