The Portland Timbers continued their bye week between the away and home legs of their Western Conference Final match up against Real Salt Lake with a training session at their Beaverton training facility.
The Timbers started practice off with their normal assortment of warm-ups, then moved into a series of passing drills emphasizing quick, decisive touches and interplay. From there the team started a series of possession games, starting with small groups before moving up to one large game of 8v8+2. The day's session ended with a finishing drill that saw the Timbers working the ball down the flanks of the field before sending it into the center of the pitch while the centerbacks attempted to clear.
The more regimented nature of practice today lent itself to to a more serious and competitive air around most of the practice.
The lone exception to this seemed to be the goalkeepers, who spent much of the day joking with each other as they worked on their punching. Surprisingly, David Meves was the team's most consistent puncher of the ball, although he was less consistent at blocking the followup shot than his fellows. Among all the keepers there were several amusing wiffs on the the ball, the first was from Donovan Ricketts, who barely got a knuckle to the ball on his clearance attempt immediately after the one pictured at the top of the article.
Injuries and Absences
Diego Valeri was not at practice today. The Timbers seem to be treating their star midfielder with kid gloves this week as they try to get him as fit as possible for next Sunday's game despite the adductor strain that has held Valeri back since the end of August.
Pa Modou Kah, who is recovering from a shoulder injury, was on the sidelines of practice today riding an exercise bike. Kah has spent both days of practice this week on the sidelines. Today, however, Kah did spend some time working with John Cone and doing some jogging on the sidelines of practice.
Mikael Silvestre, who has been working his way back to fitness since having surgery to repair his ACL in May, was again not at practice today after telling Manchester United blog Talk to the Devils that he had resumed full training last week.
David Horst, who is returning from a knee sprain suffered in the Timbers' final reserve league game of the season, took part in the early warmups and passing drills today before joining Kah and Cone and doing some running on the sidelines.
Alvas Powell, who the Timbers confirmed this morning had been called up by the Jamaican National Team, was not with the Timbers today.
Sebastian Rincon was again absent from practice as he continued his training stint in Argentina.
Michael Nanchoff, who is back from his loan in Sweden, was still out of practice today as he recovers form an ankle injury.