Today's Timbers practice was once again closed to the press as the team trained at the Beaverton training facility. However, for the first time since the beginning of the break, the team was still out on the field kicking the ball around when the press was allowed to return.
Kris Boyd, who put in an appearance at the season ticket holders event last night after getting back in to town earlier in the day, practiced with the team today. Boyd was not on the field for the full practice this morning,
heading inside after an hour, but. According to Boyd, he will work out again this afternoon in an effort to get back to full fitness and catch up with his teammates. Steven Smith was still overseas getting married and will not be back in town until next week.
Missing practice due to injury today were Eric Brunner and Rodney Wallace. Brunner continues to recover from a concussion while Wallace is out with a sprained ankle.
More Timbers training notes, plus quotes from Kris Boyd and Danny Mwanga, after the jump.
The Timbers international call-ups were all still absent from practice and will be returning over the next couple of days. Lovel Palmer, who played 90 minutes on the right wing in Jamaica's 0-0 tie with Antigua and Barbuda, and Steve Purdy, who also went the distance at centerback in El Salvador's 2-1 loss to Mexico, will be back for practice on Friday before the team heads to LA this weekend. Jake Gleeson should be back sometime this week from his time with the New Zealand national team, while Futty Danso will not return to the Timbers until next week thanks to an African Cup game this Saturday.
- We finally got to see Danny Mwanga kick a ball today as much of the team participated in finishing drills after practice was concluded. Mwanga's shots seemed off at first but he finished off the drill with several wicked finishes.
- Eric Alexander looked very good in the finishing drills, consistently putting the ball away, unlike most of his teammates.
- After the finishing drills were completed, most of the team gathered up for a game of keepy uppy, where Mwanga showed some very nice moves and ball control.
- Mike Fucito and John Spencer worked one on one for several minutes with Spencer rapidly feeding Fucito balls inside the six yard box and Fucito burying them in the corner. Joe Bendik had the unenviable task of getting shots fired on him from about two yards away and managed a couple of impressive stops.
- Brent Richards, who has already gotten some notice for his aerial feats, took a few acrobatic bicycle kick shots on goal, coming close on two of them before scoring with the third (just as I looked away, of course).
- Franck Songo'o took the time to practice his free kicks from outside the box while Sal Zizzo cheered him on from the sidelines in a manner reminiscent of the "good job, good effort" kid.
- Joe Bendik and Brian Rowe took a moment to show off their new free kick routine. It looked something like this (but high and wide).
On the firing of Piotr Nowak earlier today
I just found out now. I have no clue. I haven't talked to much with my teammates back there. To be honest, I am not quite sure what to say. There was rumors that he was supposed to leave and stuff, but, like I said, I haven't been keeping in touch with all my teammates there so I am not quite sure what is going on.
On if he is happy to have gotten out of Philadelphia given the changes going on there
Regardless of what happened there, whether the coach was fired or not, this move, me coming here, I was really excited about it because I grew up here. My family is here. That was a really good thing for me and now that things are going like that there, it just makes you think twice, but I really feel fortunate to be here and, once again, I would like to thank the coaching staff here and the fron office for giving me the opportunity to come here and play for my hometown team.
On getting a chance to play alongside Kris Boyd
It was good. I think that, for the first time playing together, it wasn't bad at all. We tried to combine a lot and we had a lot of chances at practice.That was only the first time training together, so I think after a week, or maybe a couple more weeks, we will be on the same page for sure.
He is a guy that will try to occupy the two centerbacks and then you just have to make a run off of him and that is what I was trying to do and I think it went well.
On his current level of fitness
I don't think I am that far away. I think that maybe after three weeks of full training I should be right there. I mean, I came froma team where I was not a regular starter every game, so that kind of effects you a little but, so to come in here in a different environment I think after three or four weeks of training I should be where I should be.
On if the last week was the best week of his life
For a few days, it was. The rest was just travelling, but it is good to be back and get back in to training.
On being back in Scotland for his marriage
It was good to get back home and, to get married as well, it was a bit special, but it is finished with now and you move on and I'm back to training and I look forward to the game on the weekend.
On getting used to playing alongside Danny Mwanga
I think that the boys have been working hard so it is up to me to get my head down and work hard so that I am at the same level of fitness with them.
On the process of adjusting to a new teammate
It's not so difficult for us; it's more difficult for Danny coming in to settle, but I think that the way he trained this morning he looks as if he's been here all his life. It's good for him, it's good for the team, that there are striking options and I'm sure he'll be looking to start over the weekend and get himself on the score sheet.
On what he has seen of Mwanga's game so far
I've only trained this morning but he looked sharpe, as did the rest of the boys. They've obviously been working very hard and it gives us a great chance at the weekend.
On if he is anxious to get back out on the field to play a game
I think that every football player wants to be playering. Everybody want to get back playing and I am no different. It's great to be back at the training field this morning and I will be back here this afternoon to do a bit extra to catch up for what I missed.
On the goal that was ruled offsides in the Timbers previous match against the LA Galaxy
When you look back at the game, I probably should have had us two-nil up, but these things happen in football. Sometimes it goes for you, sometimes it goes against you. It is up to us, when we go down there over the weekend, to go and get the three points and put on a performance where we deserve the three points.
On that night, we probably huffed and puffed. We had a few chances and we probably should have been two-nil up, but these things happen and it is up to us, on the weekend, to go and take the three points.
On this weekend's match against LA
We just don't want to be the team that are turned over against and give away the three points to kickstart their season, so it is up to us to go down there and start the game in a proper manner and keep them on their back foot. Hopefully we can do what we did last time and go a goal up, or maybe two goals up, and we can couse them problems, because we know that if we do that we are a good enough team to take goals off of other teams. It is up to us in the manner that suits us, the way we want to play, and causes them troubles.
On if the Timbers' first half performance against LA earlier in the season gives them confidence that they can win this weekend
Yes. We know that going anywhere in the league we can cause teams problems, but it is up to which Portland Timbers team turn up. We've seen in the Vancouver game that we set about it tremendously well, we caused them problems, we created opportunities. Then we look back at the cup game and it was so dissapointing. It is up to us to go and be the team that takes the game to the Galaxy and, hopefully, get the three points.
On the season ticket holders event
It was good to be out amongst the puboic and get to speak to a few of them, even though I was a bit tired. I enjoyed it.