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Portland Timbers Training Notes: All-Star Double Feature

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The Timbers shared their training pitch with the MLS All-Stars today.

William Conwell

The Portland Timbers and MLS All-Stars both trained at the Timbers' Beaverton practice facility today with Caleb Porter overseeing both sessions.

Taking the field first, the All-Stars held a short, relaxed session, going through a series of warmup exercises before eventually breaking into a three team possession game. With only eighteen of the All-Stars in town, Timbers assistant coach Sean McAuley stepped into the possession game for keeper Nick Rimando, bringing his usual blend of enthusiasm and loud yelling to the otherwise laid-back proceedings.

After wrapping up their short session, the All-Stars were given the run of the field and quickly formed groups that shot on goal or juggled the ball, or launched long passes back and forth. Will Johnson and Michael Bradley, friends since they played together as youths in Chicago, quickly paired up and took turns firing off free kicks at the goal, while Clint Dempsey, Thierry Henry, and Obafemi Martins juggled the ball back and forth, showing off the occasional bit of flair as they kept the ball in the air.

Finally, after an hour of the All-Stars holding the pitch, the Timbers began to trickle out of the locker room. During the few minutes of down time before the start of their practice the Timbers players joined in the informal kick around with the All-Stars until they were forced to leave the pitch for the media scrum off the pitch.

With the pitch clear of All-Stars, save Johnson who was heckled by his teammates to come join practice, the Timbers went through their usual series of warmup exercises before breaking into two groups, mixing the starters from Saturday in with the rest of the team, a departure from their usual post-game practice set up. The two groups started off by running through a series of cones and shooting on goal in an abbreviated version of the circuit that the Timbers often on the first day of the week.

Eventually the groups were moved off their miniature obstacle courses, putting one team in a short-field game taking place within the eighteen yard box while the other ran a possession drill at the opposite end of the pitch. The Timbers went through these drills for a short period before Porter whistled for them to get back to the dribbling and shooting drill that they started with and practice was closed to the press.

Injuries and Absences

Darlington Nagbe was on the sidelines of practice today working with a trainer. Nagbe did some stretching and slow jogging while practice was open, wearing a knee brace as he recovers from the MCL injury that he suffered against the Montreal Impact one week ago.

George Fochive was also working with the team trainer alongside Nagbe at the end of the pitch. Fochive is also recovering from a knee injury, his suffered while on loan with the Sacramento Republic.

Gaston Fernandez warmed up with the team, but broke off to the side as the Timbers split up into their two groups. Fernandez rode an exercise bike on the sidelines for the remainder of the day's practice. He did manage to stay somewhat involved, however, as his bike was positioned behind the goal during the Timbers' shooting drill and he was forced to duck at least one errant shot. Fernandez was forced to exit Saturday's match against the LA Galaxy in the 25'.

Michael Harrington, who was also substituted out against the Galaxy due to an injury, was in training today for the entirety of practice.

Bryan Gallego was not with the team today as he has joined the USA U-23s for their camp in the Bahamas for the remainder of the week.

Trialists and Guest Players

Timbers Academy keepers Colin Partee and Joe Wheelwright Toby Holstein were both in today's training session, filling out the numbers at keeper for the Timbers who are without Justin Luthy as he prepares for tonight's MLS Homegrown Game where he will backstop the Portland Timbers U-23s against the MLS Homegrown team.