The Portland Timbers held a short practice session today at the team's Beaverton training facility as they looked to get turned around for this week's matches against the Seattle Sounders. Today's training was closed to the press until the final stretching on the field.
After training, a number of players and several of the coaches kicked a ball around on the pitch, taking shots on goal and passing the ball back and forth.
With practice wrapped up, Caleb Porter took a moment to talk to the press about playing the Sounders in the US Open Cup and how the smaller Starfire Sports Complex venue will affect the game.
It might ramp up the intensity because it is kind of intimate. It is not at big, but the fans are right on top of you, the supporters are going to be in amongst each other more than they are at CenturyLink.
Beyond the atmosphere of the stadium, Porter expects the match's intensity to be reflected on the field as well.
I expect it to be lively and I expect it to be edgy and I expect it to kick off. It is going to be a battle. It is going to be tight. We are playing for a trophy, they are playing for a trophy. There is not a lot of love lost between the teams. They haven't beaten us in the last four games. They are going to want to turn that. We are not going to let them turn that. That's our mindset.
With all of the Timbers' struggles this season, the chance to go to Seattle and bloody the nose of the league leaders in a competition that they have traditionally taken pride in seems to make this match even more important for the Timbers.
We are going to go over there and we are going to play our game. We are not going to sit back, we are not going to be inferior; we are going to go in there and go toe to toe and see who the best team is at the end of the ninety minutes.
@williamconwell the earliest he ever could have been here is tomorrow. that would be exceptionally fast visa/itc process...still likely tues— Merritt Paulson (@MerrittPaulson) July 7, 2014
Porter echoed this tweet from Paulson after practice, saying that new designated player-defender Liam Ridgewell was just waiting on a stamp from the Embassy to join the team and that the process was going as quickly as possible.
Injuries and Absences
Ben Zemanski, who has been out for the last month with an injury suffered against Chivas USA at the end of May, was back on the field today, doing some running under the direction of one of the Timbers' trainers. Zemanski has not been on the pitch with the team since picking up the injury. Zemanski still has several steps to go through on the league's return to play protocol for concussions before he can fully rejoin the team.
Maximiliano Urruti, Pa Modou Kah, and Norberto Paparatto were all not on the pitch when the press were let out onto the field after practice. According to Porter, all three players will not be available for Wednesday's match as they recover from their assorted injuries, but they could be available by Sunday's return to Seattle.
Steve Zakuani, who missed some time in practice last week and was not in the 18 against Sporting Kansas City, participated in the full practice today.