The Portland Timbers practiced at their Beaverton training facility today, putting in a recovery workout following the team's 2-0 loss in Seattle on Sunday. With today's practice open to the press, the Timbers kept it short, wrapping up after an hour's work.
The day started with a team huddle and Caleb Porter addressing the team before they got down to it with a series of simple agility warm up drills. From there the team went to a passing drill that saw the Timbers moving the ball in rapid triangles, gradually reducing the number of touches taken on the ball while increase the drill's speed.
After the warm up period was completed, Sunday's starters headed to the sidelines to do some stretching under the direction of the team's trainers, while the rest of the team got into some larger-scale drills. After some of the Timbers' usual possession games, the team broke into two blocks of six, one defending and one attacking. Setting up in one half of the field, the attacking team tried to score on goal, while the defending team tried to win the ball and clear it under control into one of the miniature practice goals placed on each wing.
Trialists and Guest Players
Lord Ofosuhene and Abdul Fatawu Safiu were still with the team for today's practice. The pair of Ghanaian attacking players will be with the team for "two or three weeks", according to Porter at the end of last week.
The Timbers had two guest keepers in practice today in addition to Donovan Ricketts, Andrew Weber, and Justin Luthy. On hand to add some numbers to the proceedings were University of Washington and former Timbers U-23s keeper Spencer Richey, as well as current U-23s keeper Brendan Moore, who has been a regular at Timbers practices since the start of the U-23s season.
Injuries and Absences
Norberto Paparatto and Maximiliano Urruti both worked with the team's trainers during today's warm ups, before joining the rest of team for the remainder of practice. The pair have both been cleared to play, according to Porter, who added that Urruti was a late scrub from the bench against the Sounders on Sunday.
Ben Zemanski was also back in today's practice, participating in the full session for the first time since suffering a concussion against Chivas USA at the end of May.
Donovan Ricketts warmed up with the keepers at the start of practice before heading indoors to continue his post-game recovery workout.
Pa Modou Kah spent today's session on the sidelines, working with a trainer then riding an exercise bike. Kah has been dealing with a case of achilles tendinitis for much of the season.
Bryan Gallego, George Fochive, and Alvas Powell were all back with the team from their various loans in order to recover from injuries that they suffered. Gallego, after a long spell with Arizona United, had ankle surgery several weeks ago and has now returned to the pitch, working on the sidelines with the Timbers' training staff alongside Kah. Fochive was forced to leave the field near the end of the Sacramento Republic's last match with a knee injury. He will have his knee scanned tomorrow to determine the extent of the injury. Powell has been suffering from some IT band tightness and spent today's practice on the sidelines, doing some stretching.
Liam Ridgewell looked very comfortable in the center of the defense during the half-field drill in today's training session. Playing alongside Paparatto, the defensive pair looked quite imposing, especially when matched up against Urruti and Gaston Fernandez.
None of the players coming off injuries looked at all hesitant on the day, but it was Zemanski who just looked like someone happy to be back on the pitch. Bringing the same frenetic energy he tends to bring to matches, Zemanski was popping up everywhere; a particularly impressive feat given that he was playing alongside Diego Chara, who usually has everywhere covered.
Ofosuhene and Safiu, whether by inclination or instruction, were not particularly involved in the early going of the half-field drill, primarily acting as deep lying distributors, occupying the same band of the pitch that Chara usually would. As practice went on, however, they got more involved, making occasional forays forward.
Both trialists seem to have an explosive turn of pace, but Safiu took the opportunity to showcase his distribution, playing a combination of simple passes into the center of the pitch for Fernandez and long switches across the "back line" to change the point of attack. Ofosuhene, playing primarily behind Kalif Alhassan on the right, struggled to get on the same page as Kalif, making regular runs down the wing, but rarely being rewarded for his efforts with the ball.