The Portland Timbers practiced both yesterday and today at the team's Beaverton training facility as they look to move on from Saturday's close 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake. Practice was closed to the press on both days as the Timbers work hard to improve on their recent run of bad form.
When the press were let out to see the pitch on Tuesday, the Timbers' starters were heading indoors, but the reserves were in the middle of an intense, short field game of five on five. Gaston Fernandez provided the highlight of the match, getting in behind the defense and faking out Justin Luthy before dribbling around him and putting the ball into the back of the net.
Today the whole of the squad was in the middle of their team stretching and headed indoors once the press arrived at the field.
According to Jack Jewsbury after practice today, the Timbers have started their preparations for the weekend's match against the Houston Dynamo.
"Today we did some stuff on the field in terms of matching up against them," said Jewsbury. The Timbers will likely start their team video breakdown of the Dynamo tomorrow to "pick them apart," as Jewsbury put it.
The focus of practice so far this week has been on holding on to the positives from the Timbers' performance against RSL and identifying the areas that need improvement.
Looking forward to Houston, Jewsbury shared the Timbers' view on their next road opponents.
"Especially at home they are a very, very tough team to beat. We know that but at the same time we are pretty confident. We went on the road in Salt Lake and didn't get the result that we wanted but I thought we played some of our better soccer that we have played this year."
Injuries and Absences
The Latest on the Loanees
The Latest on the Loanees
Steve Zakuani was not on the pitch when the press were allowed out onto the pitch after Tuesday or Wednesday's practice, although Caleb Porter confirmed that he had participated in a half-practice on Tuesday. Zakuani has been recovering from a tight hamstring that has dogged him since his start against the Colorado Rapids four weeks ago.
Frederic Piquionne was absent from practice this week due to a family emergency. According to Porter, Piquionne is currently in Martinique.
Rodney Wallace continued to make progress on his return from ACL surgery. Tuesday saw Wallace passing a ball with trainer Nik Wald before taking a touch and shooting on goal. On Wednesday, Wallace was again out on the pitch, but appeared to have wrapped up his workout when the press was allowed out to the pitch.