The Portland Timbers' new USL affiliate, Portland Timbers 2, had its first training session today to kick off the USL preseason. With only one player already officially signed to the team, the session was a bit of a mystery, but with Jay Vidovich at the helm, having worked closely with Caleb Porter and the Timbers' first team since the start of the MLS preseason, the proceedings were very similar to the first team practice that proceeded them.
With some minor exceptions, the T2 practice was a carbon copy of the first team practice overseen by Porter just two hours earlier on the same pitch at the Timbers' Beaverton practice facility. Warmups and passing drills were followed by possession drills then a circuit and short-field scrimmage.
The session was livened up by the sheer number of unknown players, potentially signed or maybe just trialists.
So, who did we recognize?
Steven Evans - The only officially announced T2 player and a former Timbers homegrown signing.
Brent Richards - The original Timbers homegrown signing. Richards was sidelined for two years while recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the 2013 preseason while training at Providence Park.
Schillo Tshuma - Still under contract with the Timbers. Tshuma pulled double duty today, practicing with the Timbers and T2, as he looks to get his fitness up going into the season according to Vidovich.
Justin Luthy - A former Columbus Crew keeper prospect, Luthy was the Timbers U23s last year and spent the season working with the first team as an extra keeper. Luthy has long been assumed to be signing with T2 since rejoining the Timbers at the start of preseason this year.
Daniel Withrow - Another former Columbus Crew keeper prospect, Withrow has spent the 2014 as an MLS pool goalkeeper and trained with the Timbers for a brief period.
Christian Volesky - Trained with the Timbers and T2 today. Volesky, the No. 32 pick in this year's Superdraft, has been confirmed to be a player that the Timbers are looking at for T2, but it is not clear if he has already been signed by the USL side.
Kharlton Belmar - Trained with the Timbers and T2 today. Belmar, the No. 34 pick in this year's Superdraft, is in the same position as Volesky.
Will Seymore - The Oregon State utility man and former Timbers U23s player was a part of today's session. Seymore was eligible for this year's Superdraft, but was not picked. Mostly used as a midfielder or defender during his college career, Seymore would be a dependable pickup for a team that will need flexibility in its players.
Looks like I may have been mistaken about Seymore, who was reportedly an unused sub in FC Dallas's preseason match last night.
Fatawu Safiu - Safiu has been confirmed as a T2 player by Caleb Porter and was in training today.
Who didn't we recognize?
A whole lot of people, unfortunately. There were a number of players that looked extremely familiar and may have been former academy players, U23s, or trialists.
The good news: I took a bunch of pictures and we can play "guess the player's name". The bad news: I work for a living and need to not be late, so this is all I have time for right now. Expect pictures and thoughts on T2 either late tonight or tomorrow morning.