The Portland Timbers practiced today after returning from their fruitful trip to take on D.C. United over the weekend. With the team's first match in the 2013 US Open Cup coming up on Wednesday, the Timbers focused on recovering and preparing for the match.
While the first team headed indoors, the reserves went through a series of passing drills before breaking into two teams for a series of short field games. There were several well taken chances on the day, particularly from Jose Adolfo Valencia and Diego Valeri, as players strove to secure a spot in Wednesday's game.
After practice today Caleb Porter quickly confirmed that the Timbers are "in it to win it." However, as in all aspects of the game, Porter went more in depth in his approach to the game.
We look at it as an opportunity in the first game [of the US Open Cup] to get some key reserves major minutes. I don't really look at it as we are playing reserves, because really we can only pick eleven guys to start, so there are guys on the bench who are not really reserves, they are starters. At this point we want to get some of those guys major minutes.
With the new 4-4-2 look that the Timbers ran out against D.C. United, which Porter described as something he "had in [his] bag", the variety of changes the Timbers could make for the upcoming games are numerous. That is not to say that the Timbers will rest all of their starters.
We trust our depth so we'll use a few guys, some starters and maybe a few guys that haven't been starting, a mix, but we ultimately want to win the game. We're not approaching it with any mindset other than that we want to win.
Injuries and Absences
Pa Modou Kah participated in the starters' regen session today but appeared to come up short as they headed indoors. After practice, Caleb Porter confirmed that Kah was suffering from an achilles tendon knock, saying that, while he wanted Kah to become used to the Timbers backline, Kah's playing time on Wednesday would be up to how the veteran defender feels.
Diego Valeri, Michael Nanchoff, and Sebastian Rincon all practiced today after missing time last week due to assorted injuries.
Trialists and Guest Players
Good news, everyone! David Meves was back practicing with the Timbers today for the first time since his debut with the Timbers U-23s.
The Timbers had a second guest player in practice today as Dustin Corea, a local boy currently playing with Jonkopings Sodra IF in Denmark's second division. Corea, a left wing, also joined the Timbers as a guest player for several days last season.
Dustin Corea is pretty sharp. He put several very well struck volleys on target during the day's short field games.
Michael Nanchoff looked fully recovered in today's games, putting in an impressive shift with some very nice passing.
Diego Valeri was back in the middle of everything today and looked like he was on top of things, slotting home the ball every time he was given half a foot of space.
Jake Gleeson made several impressive saves during the short field games, including one palmed away swerving shot that seemed destined for the back of the net.
Defense was not at a premium on the day as almost every player got on the board and only a pair of centerbacks, Futty Danso and Rauwshan McKenzie, were dedicated to playing defense.