For their final day of preseason practice before heading to Arizona for two weeks, the Portland Timbers stayed active, playing their first full-field scrimmage of the year.
In the chilly weather at Providence Park, the Timbers started the session off with a brief warmup before rolling into an intense fitness test that saw players racing to complete a series of laps around the pitch, attempting to catch and pass the players in front of them.
After a brief break, the Timbers split into two groups of ten, the sides they would eventually use in the upcoming scrimmage, and began a series of passing drills. The groups alternated passing around each other and putting pressure on each other as they worked the ball from one flank to the other, emphasizing the use of the defensive midfielder as pivots.
The orange group, the starters, was comprised of Jorge Villafana, Nat Borchers, Norberto Paparatto, Alvas Powell, Diego Chara, Ben Zemanski, Rodney Wallace, Gaston Fernandez, Darlington Nagbe, and Fanendo Adi.
The yellow group, the reserves, was comprised of Jeanderson, Danny O'Rourke, Taylor Peay, Jack Jewsbury, Nick Besler, George Fochive, Schillo Tshuma, Michael Nanchoff, Dairon Asprilla, and Maximiliano Urruti.
The remainder of the team, Christian Volesky, Fatawu Safiu, Anthiny Manning, Andrew Thoma, and Kharlton Belmar, worked on a 4v1 possession drill on the side of the pitch before eventually moving into a series of agility drills.
As the passing drills concluded, the Timbers cleared the field and began to prepare for their first full-field scrimmage of the season. Sean McAuley addressed the orange team, joined by Adam Kwarasey, ahead of kickoff, while Cameron Knowles addressed the green team, joined by Jake Gleeson.
The scrimmage was broken up into two ten minute halves, with the green team bringing on a number of rookies for the second half and trying several players out at different positions, including Jewsbury at centerback and Jeanderson at left midfield. Both halves saw the orange team dominate possession and attacking chances, although the green team saw some success breaking down the pitch through Asprilla.
In the end the scrimmage ended with a 1-0 win for the starters thanks to a Rodney Wallace goal, assisted by Gaston Fernandez in the second half.
Injuries and Absences
Will Johnson and Diego Valeri were once again on the sidelines of practice today, working with a trainer. There was some brief excitement as Johnson juggled a soccer ball then jogged the length of the pitch, only to head up the stairs into the Providence Health Center in the southeast corner of the stadium.
Trialists and Guest Players
Fatawu Safiu played the second half of today's scrimmage in the center of the midfield for the green team. He looked somewhat unsteady with the ball at his feet in the early going, but seemed to adjust well as the game went on.
I will try to put up some more notes from the day's training as well as a gallery of pictures (this time taken with my actual camera and not my iPhone) late tonight.