Today’s Portland Timbers practice was an open one, meaning we got our first look at Kris Boyd on the field.
The Timbers trialists were all still present and taking part fully in the practice. Darlington Nagbe, Sal Zizzo, and Lovel Palmer worked on their rehabilitation today and both Zizzo and Palmer even touched a ball toward the end of the day. David Horst and Jose Adolfo Valencia did not work out with the team but both were sighted briefly at the end of practice.
The notable absence for the day was Brent Richards who has not been at any of the practices this week. According to the Timbers’ front office his absence is school related.
The Timbers followed their warm-ups with several short rounds of 5v2 keep-away before transitioning to a half field scrimmage.
From the start of practice Kris Boyd looked much more energetic than he did earlier in the week. In the games of keep-away he looked calm and collected on the ball, picking his pass carefully rather than simply moving the ball on as quickly as possible.
In the half field scrimmage Boyd showed off his finishing abilities, knocking in several goals that ranged from placed shots to side volleys to tap ins. Boyd’s ability to turn and shoot no matter the circumstance caused problems for all the defenders on the field.
More practice notes plus quotes from Mike Chabala after the jump.
However, Boyd was not the only player to impress today. Ryan Kowaluk, lined up again as a right back, opened the scoring with a beautifully curled shot that probably made Kalif Alhassan cry. Franck Songo’o was prolific on the left wing and was found time and again on the back post, converting several excellent chances. Finally, Eric Alexander, playing on the right wing, served in some excellent crosses and created some good chances for him self that he finished well.
One final tidbit from today’s practice: Charles Renken finally has a number. He has taken #26, formerly worn by Brian Umony.
On being with the Timbers for preseason
I would say that the biggest thing, personally, is just to get to see how [John Spencer] runs his camp for the beginning. He is a much different coach as an assistant than a head coach and he has higher expectations and demands. It is good to be able to start from the very beginning and do all the work that everybody else is doing.
With my teammates it is a place for me to do the running next to them, to be in the same position as them: down in the trenches, doing the work, getting on the same page and working toward that first game of the year. It is tough, you know, putting on a jersey half-way through and all of a sudden you’re on a different team and trying to say we’re best friends, let’s go out there and win an MLS Cup together. Its a tough position to come in to but it is a part of the job and everybody understands that.
Being able to start from scratch, from the beginning, and work toward a common goal, toward March 12th, is more important. I think it brings the group closer together. I feel that it has been beneficial just being here for the start of the season.
On playing at home on Monday night
I think that every game has been important, I just think that this is a different phase of the preseason. Now we are getting to some games that start to be more important. You’ll start to see more minutes for more guys and you’ll start to see a bit more intensity from the coaching staff because they need to parley that into March 12th and there are not many days left. We need to take advantage of every day we are out here and every game coming up.
It is a game that we are going to treat like a regular season match. We want to go undefeated during the preseason and get ourselves off on a good foot starting March 12th.