The Timbers started practice later than usual as they held a meeting indoors until after 10:15. The day's session started off with some intensive warmups followed by shooting drills for the attacking players and passing drills for everyone else. The team finished the day's training off with a large game of keep away and finally a short field eleven on eleven scrimmage.
Trialists and Guest Players
The Timbers' mystery trialist and unnamed college player are no longer total unknowns. The trialist is Rauwshan McKenzie, a 26 year old central defender who has plied his trade in Major League Soccer since 2008 when he was drafted by the Kansas City Wizards. McKenzie played for Chivas USA in 2012, playing twenty games for the Goats before being waived this February.
The college player who has been training with the Timbers is midfielder Ema Boateng, who is with the team during his spring break. Boateng is a freshman at UC Santa Barbara. TopDrawerSoccer.com rates Boateng as the #3 freshman in the nation, according to their 2012 poll.
David Meves continued practicing with the team in his role as a guest player.
The group of Timbers' Oregon academy players also practiced with the team again today, working under the supervision of Cameron Knowles and Sean McAuley.
Trialist Kazuya Murata was no longer with the group today after training with the Timbers since last week.
Injuries and Absences
Darlington Nagbe was back in the thick of things after missing practice for most of last week with an ankle injury. Caleb Porter was unwilling to speculate on if Nagbe would be available for Saturday's game in Colorado, only saying that the team is "still evaluating" Nagbe and that today's practice was a "step in the right direction".
Mobi Fehr participated in the team's warmups today but did not take part in the rest of practice, instead jogging and passing the ball off to the side. According to Porter, Fehr hurt his ankle at the end of last week.
The Timbers' international call-ups were not back in training yet. All four players are expected to be back for practice on Thursday with Will Johnson and Futty Danso likely arriving in Portland today while Ryan Johnson and Donovan Ricketts arrive tomorrow.
Sal Zizzo is nearing a return to training and, according to Porter, is "doing a little more every day". No specific date Zizzo's return was available.
Brent Richards and Bright Dike both remain out in the long term as they recover from preseason knee surgeries.
- David Horst was grinning like a madman during the short races that were a part of today's warmups. Horst may not be the favorite of every Timbers fan, but the man just looks thrilled to be back out there.
- The team's short field game was a defensive mess with two full sides on half a field. Horst, followed by Ben Zemanski and Dylan Tucker-Gangnes, was certainly the loudest voice on the pitch as he stepped back into his role of yelling at everything and tackling the ball with enthusiasm.
- At one point during the team's relatively low-scoring scrimmage Caleb Porter stopped play and told the players, "remember, we want to have possession to score, not just to have possession."
- Porter also emphasized switching the field during practice and keeping good spacing in order to keep open the team's passing lanes.