The Timbers closed practice today after getting off to a late start while the team was still watching film in preparation for tomorrow's game. For the first fifteen minutes of practice, Jose Adolfo Valencia was alone on the field, taking shots, free kicks, and penalty kicks. Valencia showed off a wicked curve on several strikes as he bent the ball into the corner of the net, something he did not have the chance to do this year for the Timbers. After the team took the field, they went through their usual jogging and warm ups followed by games of keep away before closing training to the press.
Injuries and Absences
Hanyer Mosquera, who has been out of practice since the weekend with a tight IT band, jogged around the field today before heading inside as the rest of the team started their warm ups. Earlier in the week Mosco received a shot to his knee and, according to the Timbers FO, would be evaluated today. Gavin Wilkinson and the assistant coaches were not available to speak to the press today, so we could not get confirmation, but it looks very unlikely that we will see Mosco on the pitch tomorrow.
Chris Taylor, Futty Danso, and Eric Brunner were all missing from practice today as all three have undergone surgery this season and will not be able to train until next year's preseason camp.
Ian Hogg, who has been working his way back from a rolled ankle, trained with the team today, even participating in the games of keep away, which he had stayed out of until earlier this week.
Kris Boyd and Kalif Alhassan, both of whom have missed significant time due to injury, were out with the team today and looked like they participated in the full practice, leaving the door open for potential substitute appearances in tomorrow's game.
Trialists and Guest Players
Dustin Corea was no longer out there with the team today, although I did not find out if his trial was over or if he had other obligations.
Cam Vickers, however, continued training with the team.
Andrew Jean-Baptiste is the one change to the Timbers line up that I am confident about this week. With Brunner and Futty out for sure and all signs pointing to Mosco missing the game, Jean-Baptiste is going to get the start. He has been training with the starters this week while his main competition for the spot, Steve Purdy, has continued to train with the team's young players.
The only other possible changes that I see happening are the potential insertion of Danny Mwanga and Eric Alexander in to the starting eleven. Alexander and Mwanga are two of the biggest question marks on the team as far as their futures with the club. Neither have seen much playing time under Gavin Wilkinson and questions have been raised about how they will fit in to the system that Caleb Porter will play. In the end I don't their either will push someone out of the starting line up for a game that will be as much about fan-service for the Timbers organization as anything else.
My Starting Line-up: Ricketts, Kimura, Horst, Jean-Baptiste, Smith, Jewsbury, Chara, Zizzo, Songo'o, Nagbe, Dike
My Alternative Line-up: Ricketts, Kimura, Horst, Jean-Baptiste, Smith, Jewsbury, Alexander, Nagbe, Mwanga, Songo'o, Dike
On the possibility of getting out on the field with the first team
"It is almost like the first game, the home opener. I am just going to go out there, perform as well as I can, and try to get a result, keep a clean sheet, and hopefully come out with a win."
On if it will be a physical game
"I wasn't expecting anything else and they have got big guys up top and we have got me and [David Horst] in the back. If anything, we'll just put up the battle. If they are going to make it a war we will fight back."
On Chris Wondolowski's attempt to break the MLS goal scoring record
"I don't really look at it as we are keeping him from a record, I look at it as we are just going to play another team and we are going up to perform well and keep a clean sheet. The fact that he is chasing for that record, good for him. We are still just going to go out there and do what we are meant to do and keep clean sheets and win games."
On if he is nervous to be back playing with the first team
"Nah. I mean, there is a little bit of butterflies in my stomach, but that is all players. If you don't have butterflies in your stomach no matter who you are playing, no matter what level, there is something wrong with you. Everybody gets nervous."
On if he is starting against San Jose
"I've just been training with the first team as usual. Just playing with them. Whatever decision the coaches make when the game time comes up I will be read for. If I am able to start then I will perform, and if I am not then I will just be ready for my chance to come in."