The Portland Timbers were made whole again today as the players who flew to Guyana for the team's 4-1 win over Alpha United on Tuesday joined the starters from Saturday's 1-1 league draw against the New England Revolution at the team's Beaverton training facility for practice.
On the heels of Tuesday's result, Caleb Porter praised the team's depth and the players' ability to step in and put in a good performance outside the usual starters.
The biggest thing you take away is that we have a team that is very deep, but that is not something that we figured out this week. We have known that and we have used our depth and I think that is the reason that you see quite a few guys that have started games this year. We have got a team, top to bottom, that is very close from one to twenty or twenty-two or whatever line you want to draw. I'm very pleased to be able to go with almost a completely new group from New England and get a good performance and a good result.
Despite splitting the team up and training with two groups for the last four days, Porter was confident in the team's ability to reintegrate without any undue challenges.
Not the way that we set it up. There is a challenge, I think, when you start to take a mix. We took different groups and geared different groups up and I think that we got a good performance in Guyana because we were already gearing up a group to start that game.
As with everything Porter does in the build up to the Timbers' matches, the split groups were designed to keep the players focused on the games that they would play, both for the group that went to Guyana and the group that was sent home ahead of this weekend's match against the Seattle Sounders.
They knew that going in to the week, so mentally you could see that when the game started they were hungry. The other group that was sent back, it doesn't mean that we will start every single one of them, they were prepared this week to get a positive result against Seattle. You can see that they are locked in already. There is no hangover from the game Tuesday, physically or mentally. They have been comping at the bit, ready to go.
Injuries and Absences
Darlington Nagbe was back in full training today and is doing well according to Porter, who admitted that Nagbe's performance against New England was not up to his full potential as he returned from the knee injury that sidelined him for the previous three weeks.
Fanendo Adi is fine, Porter confirmed, despite a brief injury scare during Tuesday's match when Adi went down and was on the sidelines for a period after coming on as a substitute in the second half of the match.
George Fochive is the only Timbers player still carrying an injury, Porter said. The rookie defensive midfielder was on hand today, doing some running with one of the team trainers at a clearly increased intensity from when we most recently saw him last week.
Trialists and Guest Players
Will Johnson's daughter and a pair of puppies were on the field after practice and it was unbearably cute. Like, super cute.