The Portland Timbers held their first training session of the week yesterday morning after being given the weekend off. Getting off to an early start at their Beaverton training facility, the Timbers went through a quick series of warmups before jumping into a circuit that involved half the team doing agility drills, passing, dribbling, and shooting, while the rest of the team played a game with mini goals in the center of the pitch.
Half an hour into practice the starters from Friday's 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids headed indoors or started stretching on the side of the field, while the rest of the team broke into two five man teams and headed to the center circle. With two full sized goals wheeled toward the middle of the pitch, the non-starters played a short field game that emphasized quick passes and movement.
Trialists and Guest Players
Lord Ofosuhene and Fatawu Safiu are still with the Timbers going into the third week of their trial with the team. The pair of Ghanaian attackers still looked somewhat out of place in today's training session, but were able to impress in moments, particularly during the five on five drill that closed out practice.
Keepers Joe Wheelwright, of the Timbers Academy U-18s, and Spencer Richey, who played with the Timbers U-23s in 2013, were on hand today to give the Timbers some extra bodies in goal. Richey, who was expected to rival Andre Blake as one of the class of 2013's top keepers, spent the college season out with a broken leg and will return to the University of Washington as a red-shirt senior in the fall. Wheelwright, meanwhile, should be returning to the U-18s for the 2013-14 season.
Injuries and absences
Jorge Villafana was on the sidelines at practice today, riding an exercise bike. Villafana picked up an injury in practice late last week that kept him out of the lineup against the Rapids. According to Caleb Porter, Villafana will continue missing practice tomorrow and does not yet have a specific return date.
George Fochive was also riding an exercise bike on the sidelines of practice today and wearing a knee brace. Fochive returned to Portland to have his knee examined after picking up an injury with the Sacramento Republic where he has been on loan for much of this season.
Fanendo Adi was absent from practice today while he is in Denmark securing a visa to bring his child to the states. Porter told the press that the timing was ideal for Adi to go take care of his family during the Timbers' nine day break between games and that he expected Adi to be back on Wednesday.
Pa Modou Kah, Bryan Gallego, and Alvas Powell worked out with a trainer on the side of the field today, separate from the rest of the team. Kah has been fighting a nagging case of achilles tendinitis for much of the season, while Gallego and Powell both picked up injuries while out on loan. Halfway through practice, Kah moved over to one of the exercise bikes while Gallego and Powell both did some running up and down the pitch under the direction of a trainer.
Maximiliano Urruti and Norberto Paparatto bother trained as normal today. The pair returned from injury last week, with Urruti playing just over half an hour in Friday's match, and have been working their way back to 90' fitness.
Gaston Fernandez impressed in the dribbling portion of the day's circuit training; no surprise given his regular feats of feet in matches for the Timbers.
During the Timbers game of five on five, Kalif Alhassan had several excellent moments. The one that stood out was a chipped pass that he chested down to himself and smoothly chipped over Justin Luthy who had come off his line in goal.