The Portland Timbers got back to training this morning after spending Tuesday in a regenerative pool session. Today's practice, held at the Beaverton training facility, started off with a team meeting on the practice pitch and a series of warmups before closing to the press.
With this weekend's match against the Seattle Sounders looming large, Jack Jewsbury talked about the team's approach to big games this season.
I think at times the best we have played this year is when the games have meant the most and this in one of those games where the atmosphere will be there. The vibe around the city all week has been, there is a buzz about this game. Our guys step up in big games, so we're ready for it.
Although the Timbers have the week off, the Sounders play against Vancouver tonight in a match that will greatly affect where the Timbers end up in the standings three weeks from now. Jewsbury says that he hopes that the Timbers are watching.
I think we'll watch the games and see the results. With the game on Sunday against Seattle you like to see who they put out there and how they look, but we're focused, as we are every week, with the task at hand and the next game.
With the Sounders' lineup in flux thanks to call ups for Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans, as well as ongoing injury concerns for Obafami Martins and Clint Dempsey, the Timbers will have to prepare for multiple looks from Seattle.
We know they have some dangerous guys, whether it is Dempsey, Johnson, Obafemi... and then Lamar Neagle who has been a guy that when guys have been out or injured he's stepped in there and played exceptional, probably his best year by far, he's another danger. They've got a lot of threats, but at the end of the day we are at home. We expect to win, we expect to be on the front foot, and nothing changes no matter who is on the field for them.
Injuries and Absences
Diego Valeri was on the sidelines of training today after he did not start in Sunday's match against Vancouver, instead coming in as a substitute in the 67'. According to Caleb Porter, Valeri suffered a setback on Saturday with the adductor strain that he has been battling since last month and the team's doctors were concerned that he would not be able to go the full 90'.
Darlington Nagbe, who came out of the Vancouver match in the 86' following an egregious tackle by Camilo Sanvezzo, was participated in the team warmups today. However, after practice Caleb Porter did not confirm that Nagbe had practiced today, only calling him "day to day".
Donovan Ricketts, who Porter confirmed has a "thumb injury", practiced as normal during the warmups today. Ricketts has been wearing a brace on his right hand in recent weeks outside of practice, which you can see here in a tweet posted by Andrew Jean Baptiste yesterday.
Ryan Johnson, Alvas Powell, and Rodney Wallace all were absent from training today as they have joined their respective national teams for this weekend's World Cup Qualifiers. All three will likely not back until Wednesday of next week at the earliest.
Ryan Miller was a surprise sighting coming off the training field after practice today, just six weeks removed from surgery to put a rod in his leg. Miller was walking unassisted and did not have a cast or brace on his leg.
Mikael Silvestre continued his return to fitness after being sidelined by knee surgery early in the season. Silvestre did not warm up with the team today, instead doing some jogging and passing with the team's trainers.
Brent Richards, who is also recovering from knee surgery, observed practice from the sidelines today.