The Portland Timbers practiced today at their Beaverton training facility, holding a closed session as they prepare to go back on the road to face FC Dallas this Saturday.
After practice wrapped up, Jack Jewsbury talked about what the Timbers need to do if they want to get a result this weekend.
I think the start is going to be key for us. We realize that they are on a good start, as they were last year, and they are a team that plays really the same formation that we do, so I think it is going to be a battle of guys in individual positions and, individually and collectively, winning those duels.
Will Johnson also gave his thoughts on what the Timbers need to do at Dallas.
I think defensively we need to keep a zero. We haven't been able to do that yet in three games, so that has been disappointing from a team point of view because we all defend together and they have got some very good attackers.
Then in and around the box we have got to score some goals. We are getting some really good chances. We are getting good looks; even down a man the other day we still had looks at the end that we were not able to put in.
It's box defending and box attacking. If we take care of business in those two areas of the field we'll be just fine.
Trialists and Guest Players
MLS pool keeper Daniel Withrow joined the team at practice today to provide cover for Andrew Weber in Saturday's match against FC Dallas. Withrow played the 2013 season with the Columbus Crew before being waived. He made one appearance with the Crew first team, playing 40 minutes in a friendly against Wigan Athletic.
Jason Dodson, formerly of the Portland Timbers U-23s, was also on hand to provide an extra body in goal for today's practice session.
Injuries and Absences
Donovan Ricketts was not on the pitch today, missing his second practice in a row. After practice yesterday, Caleb Porter told the press that Ricketts may have suffered an MCL injury, but that the team was waiting to talk to his doctors to determine his status.
Steven Evans, who has been on the sidelines of practice since the beginning of the year, got into the team warm up for the first time today. Evans underwent back surgery over the offseason and has been rehabbing himself since then.
Norberto Paparatto and Kalif Alhassan both were in the team warm up today as well. Both players suffered going strains, with Kalif's coming against the Philadelphia Union in the season opener and Papratto's occuring the next week against he Chicago Fire. Both players warmed up with the team yesterday, although Paparatto stayed in for a possession drill, while Kalif headed to the sidelines to work with a trainer.
Rodney Wallace was the lone Timbers player on the sidelines at the start of practice today. Wallace is still rehabbing his ACL, which was torn in the final game of the playoffs last season against Real Salt Lake. Given the usual timetable for a return from an ACL injury, Wallace could be back in full practices in around one month.