The Portland Timbers practiced at the team's Beaverton training facility today, continuing to make use of the newly replaced turf pitch while the new sod on the main practice field takes root.
Today's session started off with a technical warmup, with the Timbers going through a series of small drills that worked on passing, footwork, and response time. The warmup period included this drill, which Oregonian reporter Molly Blue aptly described as "Simon Says + Capture the Flag".
From there the Timbers went into the first of several finishing drills on the day. Making a series of passes that increased in complexity as the drill went on, the final player would shoot on goal before playing another, final pass and sprinting through a gate before rejoining the line of players. Throughout the drill, Porter emphasized the need for players to keep their head in the drill, rather than stopping after their shot.
Of course, it would not be a Timbers practice without the usual possession drill. Up next was a pair of 4v4+3 possession drills as the Timbers broke into two different groups.
The Timbers remained divided into two main groups for their next drills, with defenders and center midfielders at one end of the pitch, and attacking players at the other.
The defenders went through a series of passing and possession drills, first going through a series of 8v4's, then moving on to a 6v6 drill that saw each team of six passing a ball back and forth across the pitch until a whistle blew, at which point one side would have to win the ball from the other.
The attacking group, meanwhile, were once again working on their finishing. Taylor Peay and Andrew Thoma were on hand to serve balls in to pairs of attackers. Unsurprisingly, Gaston Fernandez and Fanendo Adi were regularly paired together, as were Rodney Wallace and Darlington Nagbe, Dairon Asprilla and Maximiliano Urruti, and Michael Nanchoff and Schillo Tshuma. Eventually the attacking group got in on the crossing part of the drill with Peay and Thoma, playing a 1-2 pass off the fullbacks before whipping the ball into the box.
Finally, the Timbers wrapped up the day by practicing defending and running 6v5 and 6v4 breaks. With the attack up a man, the defense was required to scramble and adjust their shape to adjust for their missing man.
Injuries and Absences
Liam Ridgewell was back with the team today after concluding his loan with Wigan Athletic in the English Championship. Ridgewell did not train today after arriving back in Portland last night, but instead worked briefly with the team trainers on the sidelines before heading indoors early in practice. After practice, Porter confirmed that Ridgewell would be back in training tomorrow, noting that he was probably the fittest player on the team after playing five competitive matches with Wigan.
Goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey was again on the sidelines of practice today after suffering from a tight hip since returning from the Timbers' training camp in Tucson, AZ. Kwarasey had stepped up his level of activity in practice today, despite not participating with the rest of the team, and Porter confirmed that he would be back in practice tomorrow.
Jake Gleeson, who went out injured in last week's 0-0 tie against the San Jose Earthquakes, was still not in practice today. Gleeson, who was spotted leaving practice using a crutch yesterday, was confirmed to have a high ankle sprain that will keep him out 3-5 more weeks. He does not have a knee injury, as Porter initially said during his post-practice interview.
Christian Volesky and Kharlton Belmar were no longer with the Timbers first team today, instead joining T2. Porter told the press that the team has decided to sign Belmar to T2, but that Volesky will still need to earn a contract with the team. Fellow rookies Andrew Thoma, Anthony Manning, and Nick Besler continued training with the Timbers today, while Seth Casiple, the Timbers final pick in the draft, has joined T2 to attempt to earn a contract with the USL side.
Trialists and Guest Players
Danny O'Rourke is still with the Timbers despite not yet signing a contract with the team for 2015.
Justin Luthy and Daniel Withrow continued training with the first team today, providing some depth in goal for the Timbers beyond Andrew Weber. The fourth keeper from yesterday's practice was not on hand today, although he was spotted arriving with the T2 players later in the day.