The Portland Timbers continued their preseason training today with another session at Providence Park. Playing in the beautifully sunny January weather, the team continued the process of shaking the rust off in today's session, this time emphasizing passing and purposeful movement.
The day started off with the Timbers running through a series of warmups before breaking into two groups for their first organized passing drills of the season. The drills started off with a simple pass and follow setup, but gradually increased in complexity as the Timbers visibly shook off the rust on their passes.
From there the Timbers moved into a series of possession drills, starting small with 4v1's then moving in a series of larger groups, including a large-scale 8v8+2 that pitted the attackers against the defenders in a half field matchup.
Finally, the Timbers finished the night with a 6v6 short-field scrimmage. The scrimmage had two six-man teams facing off against each other on the field, with an additional six players for each team on the sideline, available for one-touch passes from the players on the field.
Injuries and Absences
Will Johnson and Diego Valeri were again working out on the side of the pitch this morning, away from the rest of the team. Both players are still recovering from the injuries that they suffered in the 2014 season.
Liam Ridgewell remains in loan with Wigan Athletic, where he started this morning's 1-0 loss to Huddersfield town. Reports of Ridgewell's action in the match seem somewhat more favorable than his first two matches with the Latics, despite the side's loss.
Fourth round draft pick Seth Casiple is not with the team yet and is slated to be joining the Timbers on February 13th.
Trialists and Guest Players
There were no new additions to the team today as Danny O'Rourke, Justin Luthy, and Fatawu Safiu continued their stints training with the Timbers.
O'Rourke has been confirmed by Caleb Porter as a potential signee for the 2015 season as the team looks to work out a deal with the veteran midfielder/defender.
Luthy, the team's unofficial 4th keeper in and Timbers U-23s keeper in 2014, looks like a strong candidate to join Timbers 2 for the upcoming season as the backup to presumed T2 starter Jake Gleeson.
Safiu was on trial with the Timbers in 2014 as a potential signee for T2 and looks to have returned in that capacity this year. A Ghanaian wide midfielder, Safiu has looked raw but talented in each of his stints with the Timbers.
Expect more from today's session later from Chris Rifer.