Today's training session for the Portland Timbers was scheduled later than normal for the first time this season to allow the Portland Timbers to take in the United States' narrow escape from the Group of Death this morning. With the World Cup out of the way, the Timbers got to it, practicing at Providence Park ahead of the team's rematch against Sporting Kansas City tomorrow night.
Only two days removed from the Timbers' 3-1 win over SKC, the team had little recovery time between the two matches and consequently kept today's training session simple. With practice closed to the press, the Timbers started things off with a video session, and then hit the pitch for a relatively short workout.
Once practice had wrapped up and the majority of the team had left the pitch, Caleb Porter addressed the press and gave some insight into the Timbers' mindset going into tomorrow's match against SKC.
This game tomorrow is a very important game. We have a chance to move above the red line and put ourselves in a good position, so we are going to give everything to this game tomorrow and it is nice to know that we have a bunch of options and that the physical side of things won't be a much of a factor.
The physical side of the match that Porter is referring to is the Timbers' current squad rotation policy, something that Porter said would be very beneficial to the Timbers.
In this window the rotation of our squad is probably the biggest factor. We had a plan going into the week, a tentative plan for both games, the way we play each game, but it is tentative because after the first game you want to see the physical shape that the guys are in.
While Porter refused to say who would be rotated out of the group that played on Tuesday, he did say that the Timbers were planning on keeping some players from their most recent lineup.
We know we would have a few guys that would overlap. How many? Maybe it is four, five, or six. Maybe it is three. We wanted to have the ability to rotate if we need to. That is why we kept six guys back and that is why we didn't start a couple of guys, so potentially we could have fresh players.
Injuries and Absences
Pa Modou Kah was out on the pitch today as the press was let out onto the field. Wearing the tell-tale cleats and kicking the ball around with his teammates, Kah looked fit and ready to go after his long layoff while returning from achilles tendinitis. After practice, Porter told the press that Kah was doing well and should be available for tomorrow's match.
Norberto Paparatto was not at practice after taking a knock in the first half of the Timbers' match on Tuesday. Although Porter did not go into detail on the nature of Paparatto's injury, he confirmed that the tall defender had been taken out due to injury.
Ben Zemanski also continued his absence from training today as he continued his return from a concussion suffered against Chivas USA almost one month ago.
After practice had wrapped up, Rodney Wallace took a turn in goal as a number of his teammates took shots on him, including Kah and Michael Nanchoff from the half-way line. Although he made several acrobatic dives, it seems unlikely that Wallace will challenge for the starting keeper spot any time soon.