The Portland Timbers practiced at the team's Beaverton training facility today, getting back to it after two days of recovery following their 1-1 draw against the LA Galaxy on Sunday. The Timbers were put through their paces today, getting in some hard work early in a week with a quick turnaround.
The morning started off with a team meeting, according to Caleb Porter, where he broke down the need for urgency from the team. Porter told the press after practice that the Timbers need to get to 51 points if they want to make the playoffs, a mark that the team would need fourteen wins from their last 24 matches to reach, discounting ties.
After wrapping up the meeting, the Timbers went through a stretching regimen before breaking into two groups, nominal starters and reserves, with one group running a circuit around the outside of the pitch and the other playing a short field possession game in the center.
The circuit involved running through a ladder, over some low hurdles, and receiving a bouncing ball to dribble through a series of obstacles before shooting on goal. The possession game was a five on five drill in the center of the pitch that saw teams trying to complete quick passes in tight spaces while the other team pressed to win back the ball.
Finally, the Timbers finished off practice with a finishing drill that saw the Timbers go two on two in the box with the ball getting served from the outside, then three on two in the box with the ball being carried in.
Trialists and Guest Players
Defender Danny O'Rourke was on trial with the Timbers today. An MLS cup winner with the Columbus Crew in 2008, O'Rourke has been in MLS since 2008, spending the last six years with Columbus. During his eight seasons in MLS, O'Rourke was a consistant contributor for the Crew, the San Jose Earthquakes, and the New York Red Bulls, playing more than twenty games in every season except 2005 and 2011. According to Porter, O'Rourke can play any position across the back line or as a defensive midfielder; a level of flexibility that, if he is signed, could be very helpful with Michael Harrington out, Porter mentioned specifically.
The Timbers had an extra goalkeeper in camp as well, potentially Brendan Moore of the Timbers U-23s. Justin Luthy, who will be playing with the U-23s this season and who played in last night's 3-2 U.S. Open Cup loss, continued practicing with the Timbers today.
Injuries and Absences
Michael Harrington missed today's training session due to a rolled ankle that he suffered early in Sunday's match. Harrington will miss this weekend's match against the Columbus Crew.
Diego Chara was not in practice today and will miss the next two weeks after having surgery to repair a broken bone in his hand, also suffered in Sunday's game.
Fanendo Adi had not yet joined the team for practice today. As of yesterday's press release, Adi was still waiting on his P-1 visa before joining the team. Adi could be potentially waiting on his international transfer certificate before he can play as well.
Steve Zakuani, who has had regular injury issues this season, went through the team warmups and one lap of the circuit in training before breaking off to work one on one with a trainer. Zakuani played 90' for the first time this year in the match against LA.
Rodney Wallace continued taking steps forward in his recovery from offseason ACL surgery. Wallace participated in the full training today, including the possession games in the center of the pitch that he had had minimal participation in last week.
During the finishing drills at the end of practice, the Timbers regularly had one group of Wallace, Michael Nanchoff, and Jorge Villafana, the three most left-sided players on the team other than Zakuani, running together.
Gaston Fernandez got in one on one against Donovan Ricketts and got the big man to his the dirt early. Fernandez went for the "easy" chip over Ricketts, but did not account for the keeper's quick reflexes and long arms as Ricketts stuck a paw up in the air from his prone position and batted the ball away.
Most of the finishing drill saw the Timbers keeper staying on their line, but Andrew Weber kept Maximiliano Urruti honest when the forward took a big initial touch. Weber saw the ball rolling into his box and immediately rushed out to pick it up, laving Urruti to jog back into line.