Our boys had a good weekend to take it easy in the middle of their 2.5 weeks between matches, but it was definitely back to business on the practice field Monday morning.
We saw the return of Futty Danso, as he worked out with a trainer to recover from his hamstring pull. We also saw Brian Umony rejoin the regular practice squad -- he looks to be mostly recovered from his knee injury.
More notes plus John Spencer quotes after the jump. (William Conwell contributed to this report.)Missing from practice were Lovel Palmer, James Marcelin, Steve Purdy, and Rodney Wallace the Giant Slayer, all still away with their international clubs.
Also missing was Adin Brown. We didn't hear an official report on his absence.
The only trialist present was Douglas Nyame. Nyame also played 88 minutes of the reserve match last Thursday as one of the Timbers' center backs before he was replaced by Alex Nimo.
After some early fitness drills and one touch passing drills (Jack Jewsbury makes it look so easy), the team switched to a 10 v 10 short field game. With very few exceptions, the orange pinafores were worn by first team members, with reserves wearing their white practice kits unadorned. The orange team kinda dominated.
John Spencer regularly stopped play to give his players his, erm, frank assessment of their performance. He spoke specifically about moving off the ball and encouraged midfielders to make more runs forward (as opposed to providing safe outlets behind the play).
Peter Lowry again showed some impressive work in the center midfield and had some solid shots on the frame. If he were but a few inches taller, I believe we'd be seeing him a lot more.
Eric Alexander appeared to struggle with weighing his passes effectively, but he was doing well on defense, breaking up passes and getting in the way.
The most obvious observation we had was how much intensity the guys had. Bright Dike was fighting for every ball, no matter how insignificant, he was playing his position with aplomb and really making a case for himself. Kenny Cooper was doing no less on the other end of the pitch. Meanwhile, we saw no shortage of cleats-up tackles, one in particular messing up Lowry for a few minutes. And by the way, Jake Gleeson hates being scored on, even during practice, and he let's people know about it.
Coach John Spencer (who let us know that he is a fan of the US National Team and, after living in the US for as long as he has, follows them more than the national team of his native Scotland):
On Rodney Wallace's winning goal for Costa Rica against USMNT:
"I've seen the goal, obviously very happy for him. His first international game for the national team is obviously a very proud moment for him and his family. And obviously, him representing his national team is good for the Timbers. It was nice to see him getting the goal and beating the US; obviously, we don't want to see them beating the US, but it was nice to see him getting the goal -- and if there was anybody I wanted to score, it'd be a Timbers player, so, very happy for him."
On Scotland's chances to qualify for Euro 2012 after a controversial result vs. Czech Republic:
"Puts them in a little bit of a tough spot now to qualify, but you never know. They might beat Spain. Maybe. They'll probably beat Spain."
On whether the long span of time between matches will help or hurt the team against the Philadelphia Union:
"If you get a good result against Philly, then it's been great for us. If you don't get a good result, then, was it too many days off? So it depends on the result, what you think about it. We did play a lot of games and had a lot of travel, so it was nice to be able to be at home for a couple of weeks and get the guys a little bit of rest, but starting today and for the rest of the week, we're going to have to work hard and get ourselves back into match mentality for the game coming up this weekend."