The Portland Timbers got back in to action today as they held an open practice at their Beaverton training center. Although the team is out of their busiest stretch of games this season, having just completed five games without a full week between matches, the Timbers now find themselves preparing for the second leg of a three game road swing.
Caleb Porter's focus is entirely on the weekend's game against D.C. United, despite some controversial calls in Vancouver on both sides of the ball.
I don't really care what people were talking about, to be honest. I care about what my team thinks and the next game. At the end of the day we got a point. That's all I care about. We've moved on.
As the Timbers seek to continue their current ten game unbeaten streak, and maintain their undefeated record on the road, the consensus among the players is that the team's mental toughness is a large part of their success. Caleb Porter, however, puts a different emphasis on the team's success away from home.
Sometimes we assume that it should be that much different and that much harder, and I think that, from a psychological standpoint, we approach games assuming that. By doing that what you are doing is sending the wrong message to your team by saying that it is going to be harder. So, what I say is that it is no different.
To that end, the Timbers practice today was no different than their usual post-game fare. After warmups, the Timbers broke into several small groups and played small sided games, including a double-netted version of soccer tennis. The Timbers followed that up by a large game of keep away before rounding practice out with a series of short field matches. Interestingly, in the short field games, Pa Modou Kah and Futty Danso were paired up on defense, despite Futty's suspension against DC.
Injuries and Absences
Both Will Johnson and Diego Valeri were surprise absences from today's practice as both picked up knocks in the game against Vancouver, which was hardly a surprise given some of the treatment that Valeri in particular was subjected to. According to Caleb Porter, Johnson, who watched much of practice from the sidelines with the coaches, has a muscle contusion and was given time to recover. Porter also confirmed that Valeri had a tight hamstring, remarking that the team would treat him properly.
Sebastian Rincon and Michael Nanchoff, both of whom missed time last week thanks to a pair of knocks, were again sidelined today. Both players did some jogging on the sidelines during practice. Of the two, Nanchoff has been out the longest, missing several practices due to a string of relatively minor injuries, the latest of which is a bruised heel. Rincon only missed practice on Friday last week as he recovers from a hamstring issue.
Of the Timbers' long term absences, both Brent Richards and David Horst made appearances at training today. Horst spent time on the sidelines riding an exercise bike and Richards juggled a ball during his brief foray onto the pitch. Bright Dike and Mikael Silvestre, who comprise the rest of the Timbers' long term injury list, were not spotted at the training center today.
Darlington Nagbe, who was forced to leave the Vancouver game thanks to an ankle injury, took part in the full practice today.
Trialists and Guest Players
Rauwshan McKenzie (I forgot the "w" a few times last week. My bad.) continued his trial with the Timbers today. Even in the absence of an injury to a defender, Futty's red card has once again made depth a pressing issue at centerback for the Timbers.
David Meves did not practice with the team today as he will be playing with the Timbers U-23s in tonight's US Open Cup match against the Charleston Battery.