With the Timbers' off season roster moves continuing to come this week, it was no surprise that the group in practice this morning saw several changes from the group that left for Arizona. The biggest news was the departure of Mikaël Silvestre who, after a three week trial, is no longer training with the team. Silvestre reportedly stayed in Arizona to go on trial with another Major League Soccer team. According to Caleb Porter, Silvestre has not been ruled out as a potential signing.
Trialists and Guest Players
While Silvestre was no longer with the team, the Timbers brought in several new trialists to take a look at.
At forward, the Timbers added Deon McCauley, 25, a Belize international and the CONCACAF minnows' all-time leading scorer. McCauley has primarily played his football in Belize with stints in the Mexican and Honduran leagues.
The team also brought in English defender Calum Angus, 26, a player whose trial with the Timbers was leaked over the weekend. Angus joins the Timbers after three years and 61 appearances with Swedish side GAIS, who were relegated from the Allsvenskan at the end of last season.
The final new addition to practice today was Supplemental Draft pick Chris Hegngi. Although he was listed at times as a defensive midfielder, Hegngi was played as a forward today, the same position that he played in college at Ohio State.
The Timbers other Supplemental Draft pick, David Meves, continued to practice with the team today, as did trialist Michael Nanchoff.
Injuries and Absences
After picking up a number of knocks while training in Arizona, the Timbers were missing several players at training today due to injury.
Chris Taylor was not at practice today thanks to a knee sprain he suffered in Tuscon.
Jake Gleeson was held out of practice as a precautionary measure after feeling some back soreness, which left Mike Toshack to work with a group of three keepers completely different from the group he had at this time last year.
Jack Jewsbury trained in the gym today as he rehabs a hamstring injury that he suffered in the first game of the preseason. Jewsbury did come out onto the pitch to observe the team's final drills, but he did not take part.
David Horst was out on the pitch at the beginning of practice and did some jogging by himself before riding an exercise bike on the side of the pitch under the watchful eye of John Cone for the remainder of practice. Horst is recovering from a groin strain.
Futty Danso participated in the team warm ups before joining David Horst on the exercise bikes on the sidelines as the rest of the team transitioned into the usual games of keep away. Futty has been suffering from a sore hamstring, although it was not confirmed that that was the cause of his withdrawl from practice.
Finally, Darlington Nagbe missed practice today as he is taking part in an MLS media and marketing tour.
- When the team split up into groups for some half field games that pitted defenders against attackers, Rodney Wallace was included in the group of starting defensive players alongside Hanyer Mosquera, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Ryan Miller, and Michael Harrington. Opposing them were Diego Valeri, Diego Chara, Kalif Alhassan, Will Johnson, and Ryan Johnson. Kalif and Wallace later switched sides.
- With his first shot in practice, Kalif tried to curl the ball into the corner of the net and struck post right on the the upper-ninety. From there on he took four more shots, three of which were attempted curling shots. The other was an open goal.
- Deon McCauley seemed to shoot early and often. He struck the ball well, but did not seem to have the power behind the ball or the precision in his placement to beat the Timbers' keepers, although he rarely failed to force a save.
- The Timbers finished out practice with a fast break drill that saw a group of three attacking players take on two defenders and have eight seconds to score. It was pretty clear during this drill that the Timbers have a number of very one-footed players, with Ryan Johnson and Sebastian Rincon looking like the worst culprits on the day. Jose Adolfo Valencia was also pretty bad, but as soon as I made a conscious note of the phenomenon he scored a goal with his weaker left foot.
I have to head to work now, so today's training report will be cut a little short. I will have more time for tomorrow's training report.