Today's practice was a lighthearted regen session, starting out with the usual assortment of warm-ups and games of keep away. The team wrapped things up with a long soccer-volleyball tournament. Unfortunately, all this took place at the far end of the pitch from where the press were stationed, so we did not get a good look at some of the more acrobatic stunts pulled (although I did see Frederic Piquionne pull off an excellent scissor-kick/spike to earn his team a point).
The Timbers' keepers, however, worked out at the near end of the pitch and put in a low-impact workout. Distribution was the order of the day as the keeper spent time with the ball at their feet or receiving back passes, calling to mind Donovan Rickett's scary moment of hesitation before clearing one of Mikael Silvestre's back passes on Saturday.
Injuries and Absences
The most surprising absence of the day was Hanyer Mosquera who has returned to Colombia indefinitely for personal reasons. According to the Timbers' staff Mosquera's return to Colombia is not due to an emergency and he remains on the team's roster.
Making a return to practice today was David Horst. Horst has been out since the beginning of February with a niggling groin strain. With today's practice being relatively low key, Horst participated fully and stayed out on the pitch to do some running after the rest of the team had headed inside.
The Timbers who received call-ups for this week's international friendlies and World Cup Qualifiers were not in camp today as they left following the weekend's games. The players receiving call-ups were Will Johnson for Canada, Ryan Johnson and Donovan Ricketts for Jamaica, and Futty Danso for the Gambia.
Brent Richards, Bright Dike, and Sal Zizzo all remained out of practice following their respective knee injuries. Richards did make an appearance on the sidelines of practice, doing some balancing exercises before heading back indoors.
Trialists and Guest Players
Kazuya Murata joined the Timbers for training today after playing with the team in Sunday's reserve league game against the Seattle Sounders. Murata, 24, is a Japanese midfielder who played for Cerezo Osaka in the J-League. On Sunday he played on the right wing for the Timbers, coming on for Ryan Kawulok in the 67th minute.
Kyle Altman continued his trial with the team. Altman seems like a probable replacement for Mosquera if his return to Colombia should change from "indefinite" to permanent.
David Meves continued his time training with the team as well, although he is not considered a trialist.
Anders Vest Hansen was no longer with the team today after returning to school at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Vest Hansen was training with the Timbers during his spring break.
- Kazuya Murata was definitely one of the smaller players on the pitch today. He looked to be about the same size as Diego Chara and Michael Nanchoff but of a smaller build.
- Murata did seem light on his feet in the games of keep away and had very quick lateral movement. He never stayed on the defensive side of keep away for long, but he did seem to end up there fairly often.
- While watching Murata defend I couldn't hep but notice that he takes a similar stance to Kosuke Kimura: a low center of gravity with feet spread more than shoulder width apart.