Rodney Wallace, Steve Purdy, and Futty Danso were all away on international duty today and will be returning tomorrow, with Purdy the most likely to take part in the game. Wallace received yet another cap for Costa Rica, playing in the midfield before being substituted in the 69th minute. Purdy and Danso have not yet played.
Sal Zizzo once again warmed up with the team and did individual running after. Lovel Palmer and Darlington Nagbe continued to work their ways back from injury and participated in practice.
After the usual warm-ups and running, the Timbers broke down to work on some short passing as the press were ushered off the field.
At the end of practice as the press were let back in Kris Boyd, Charles Renken, Sebastian Rincon, and Freddy Braun were practicing their finishing as John Spencer fed them the ball. Boyd, who has still looked like he is struggling to catch up to the team’s level of fitness, looked deadly when striking the ball. Although his right foot looked measurably better than his left, he was able to finish well with either foot. Renken has consistently impressed in practice and continued to do so with his finishing. Renken hits the ball solidly and with power but also manages to place it, which, if he can make his way onto the field, could make for a very exciting addition to the Timbers. Rincon looked out of sorts today and sent many of his shots wide of the post. Braun, who always seems to be one of the last off the pitch, was inconsistent in his finishing, but toward the end of the drill had really gotten a hold of the ball and could provide a credible, Jewsbury-esque, threat out of the midfield.
Quotes from John Spencer after the jump.
On tomorrow night’s game against Chivas USA
There’s so many guys missing. There’s a couple of niggling injuries and guys away on internationals, so we’re hoping that Steve Purdy gets back, and maybe he can get some minutes, but for us it will probably be three or four or five changes max. Some guys may have to come in at halftime and sub some guys out that played 90 the other night. You’ve got to deal with it. It is preseason, you get injuries, guys are missing, there is nothing you can do about it.
On if Kris Boyd will play
Probably not. We’re trying to get him fit. He’s been over at Nike for the last few days with Paul Winsper and his gang. We’re trying to get him battered this week but the last thing that we want to do is put him in a situation where he’s really fatigued right now and has sore muscles and pulls something and is out for six weeks. That does nobody any favors at all. We’re being a little bit cautious with him right now.
On recovering from Monday’s match against San Jose
Everybody is still getting the preseason blues where you get the sore muscles still. The game was more intense than it was when we were down in the Home Depot Center and guys were getting at it from both teams, which was good. It serves well for both teams starting the season. You can see it wasn’t just a preseason friendly so it puts an edge in the game. The guys are a little bit sore but there is nothing that we can do. We’re short of bodies right now.
On the competition for a starting spot and how that motivates players
I think that we’re definitely stronger this year. We’ve got more strength and depth. You’ve got [Franck Songo’o] coming, Sal Zizzo is getting back, Eric Alexander is in good form so you’ve got good competition in wide places. Obviously Boydie is coming in. You’ve got good competition. I would hope that you wouldn’t need competition to fire you up to keep your job in the team, to keep your place in the team, because when you step out here and you’re not mentally prepared and ready to go they’ll sort you out pretty quickly and you won’t be here long.
I would hope that the guys are simply excited to play here and stay for a long time and that is why they fight.
On Franck Songo’o
His visa has been approved and he’s in Spain right now, but he tweaked his MCL a little bit against OSU. He probably wouldn’t have played anyway for the last couple of games but it is nice to start getting guys back healthy and around the camp.
I’m hoping that he’s back in the next two or three days, but we’re not missing him. He wouldn’t be playing anyway. We’re hoping that he’ll back back ready for the Philadelphia game.
On Sal Zizzo
Sal Zizzo is not far away, which gives us a huge boost. Sal is a player that I like. He is a player that excites me and I’m sure he excites the fans as well so I am glad to get him back on the field.
On the weather today
It’s a great environment. What do you do? You go somewhere else in the country where it is warmer and you play in front of three people or you play here in the cold and it is almost like a champions league cup final. So I know that I would rather play in front of the crowd and get the juices flowing. I think that San Jose felt the same. You could see Wondolowski, who I know well, during the national anthem when you had the fans going, he was like, this is what it is all about.
On what the Timbers need to do in the last two preseason games
Win them. Plain and simple. People come here, I think anybody that is involved here, knowing the owner that we have, knowing the fan base that we have, they demand wins. It’s the culture that we’re trying to create here as soon as you put on the uniform. We don’t have MLS Cup Championship trophies to back us up history-wise so it is up to us to try and create that and you’ll only do that by having a winning mentality from the start. You start in preseason and hopefully that carries you right through the season and the playoffs the championship. I am all for training how you play.