After a long All-Star themed week, the Portland Timbers finished their preparations for a game of their own today, practicing at Providence Park before tomorrow evening's home match against Chivas USA.
The day's session was opened to the press after the team had left the field, but there were still several personnel on hand kicking a ball around, including a mixed group of players and coaches firing off shots at the crossbar from just outside the box.
As the kick-around wound down, Caleb Porter addressed the press. Talking about how the Timbers match up against Chivas, Porter was quick to give the Western Conference basement dwellers some respect.
I think they are a dangerous team. They won four games in a row, you don't do that unless you are a good team, and yet they are on a down swing; they have lost three games in a row. They are kind of a bit hot and cold. This is a critical game for both teams and it is important that we have a good performance because we will not beat this team unless we play well.
According to Porter, the Timbers will once again be under pressure from out wide and will need to shore up their wings in order to shut down the Chivas attack.
Their setup is very much around their wingers, going one on one and getting service in to [Erick Torres], so we have to do a good job of managing [Leandro Barrera] and [Marvin Chavez] in one on one situations and, if we can, limit crosses in to Torres. If they do get crosses in to Torres then we need to make sure that we pick him up in the box because he is very lethal in around goal.
Injures and Absences
Darlington Nagbe was at the far end of the pitch taking shot on goal under the supervision of the team's trainers when practice was opened to the press. Shooting both with the ball at a standstill and on the run, Nagbe made several hard cuts on the turf at the direction of the trainers. When he addressed the press, Porter said that he did not yet know if Nagbe would be available for tomorrow's match or not, but that today was the first day that Nagbe was allowed to practice without the knee brace that he has been sporting in recent sessions.
Gaston Fernandez, who went out of last weekend's match against the LA Galaxy with an injury in the 25', is fine and will be available for tomorrow's match, according to Porter.
Pa Modou Kah is also healthy and available to play after a long layoff due to achilles tendinitis, Porter said.
George Fochive was on the sidelines stretching with a trainer today as he continues his recovery from a knee injury suffered while on loan with Sacramento Republic FC.
Bryan Gallego was back with the team today following his recent stint with the USA U-23s. The U-23s beat the Bahamas National Team 5-1 on Wednesday (highlights). Gallego was not in the starting XI, but the substitutions in the match have not been available.