Practice started with the usual lap around the field, followed by some basic stretching and core exercises. From there the Timbers broke into two groups: one running a circuit around the periphery of the field and the other playing a small five on five game in the center of it.
The circuit consisted of two mirrored series of obstacles, one on each side of the field. Each side started with a quick pair of agility obstacles, a ladder and a series of low hurdles, to run through, then saw the players receive a ball from a coach and play a one-two pass around a dummy, dribble through a series of poles, then cut through a group of three more dummies to shoot on goal.
In the center of the pitch, the two sides squaring off each had a pair of goals on which to shoot, but the goals were positioned with one on each side of the square area on which they played and each team's goals facing each other (ie. one team had goals on the north and south ends, while the other had goals on the east and west).
After around half an hour of rotating through the pair of intense drills, the Timbers moved on to a small field game of seven on seven. The Timbers reserves, substitutes from Saturday, and a pair of trialists made up the teams in this match, while the starters from Saturday stretched and eventually headed indoors to complete their recovery regimen.
Playing a series short periods, the Timbers reached the end of the game with the score still close and the Blue Team leading the Green Team 6-5. Caleb Porter then declared to the team that the first to reach seven goals would be the winner.
Where the game had exhibited the usual intensity of professionals going about their business before, now it was stepped up a notch, with both teams going hard for the win. After a series of goal-line stops, the Green Team managed to even up the score at 6-apiece when Gaston Fernandez slipped a ball to George Fochive in space on the left wing and the midfielder, not usually a crack shot, tucked the ball just inside the far post.
The Blue Team had the next, best chance as Rauwshan McKenzie, who had scored two of the earlier goals for the Blues, broke forward and cracked one on goal only to see his shot carom off the post.
Fernandez looked to turn provider again a moment later as his scooped pass dropped over the shoulder of Schillo Tshuma as he burst past the Blues' back line. Tshuma, not lacking in ambition, took the ball with his first touch before it could hit the ground, sending a spinning shot just wide of the near post corner.
The game continued its furious back and forth until, finally, Blues striker Maximiliano Urruti got in on goal, running onto a ball at point blank range and crushing it into the back of the net from a sharp angle. Overjoyed at having grabbed the game winner, Urruti sprinted thirty-five yard off the pitch to celebrate with Fanendo Adi, who was sitting, watching on the sidelines.
Trialists and Guest Players
The Timbers had a pair of trialists at training today, but with no media availability, there was little information on offer about them. The pair seemed like possible signings for the Timbers' long rumored USL Pro side, but did not seem up to snuff with the rest of the first team.
(Pardon the crappy i-photography. -Will)
The first of the two trialists, called Jair during the end of practice match, played both as a defensive midfielder and a right back.
The second trialist, called Lorenzo during practice, played along the back line, but seemed to move into the center of the pitch even when deployed out further toward the wing.
Injuries and Absences
Pa Modou Kah went through the warmups with the rest of the team today then moved to the sidelines to work with a trainer as the rest of the team moved into the circuit workout. Kah continued working out with the trainers for the remainder of practice and looked to be moving well while passing the ball and doing a series of sprints toward the end of the session.
Alvas Powell continued his time away with the Jamaican National Team today and played 90 minutes in Jamaica's 1-0 loss to Japan in Niigata this morning.
For a short while during the circuit, Urruti, Diego Valeri, and Darlington Nagbe all looked like finishing robots. Get the ball, place it perfectly, repeat.
Liam Ridgewell was very active during the circuit training. Not only did he push the pace of the circuit, he also hustled to squeeze in one more run through the obstacles as Porter was calling the end of the drill, shouting "One more! One more! One more!" as he sprinted through the cooldown area. Rather than dribble through the obstacles, however, Ridgewell elected to juggle the ball the length of the course then fire off a dipping volley that Andrew Weber had to lay out across the face of the goal to save.
Michael Nanchoff had one beautifully curled shot that dipped just inside the goals' upper-90. It was just a really nicely placed shot.
Urruti's game winner in the seven on seven match was not his only goal of the match. The most notable one was a wickedly curving side-volley that, if it had gone straight, should have hit a defender and Jake Gleeson, but instead curled around both of them.