The Portland Timbers practiced at the team's Beaverton training facility this morning as they prepare for their final match of the 2015 preseason, tomorrow's 5:00 pm game against Bob Bradley's Norwegian side Stabaek.
The Timbers started off the day with a half-hour video session before hitting the pitch slightly later than their usual 10:00 am start. From there the Timbers went through a series of agility drills then broke into groups of seven for some 5v2 possession work.
After practice wrapped up, Caleb Porter gave the press a brief glance at how the Timbers are approaching tomorrow's match.
I think our decisions, probably more than ever in the preseason, will be based on what we are going to be looking to do against [Real Salt Lake]. The good thing is that Stabaek actually play a similar system to what Salt Lake has been playing.
It lets us look at some things tactically on both sides of the ball to get ready for the Salt Lake game.
As far as the lineup that the Timbers run out, Porter was cagey about who will make an appearance in tomorrow's match. With the Timbers continuing to experiment with their forward combinations, Porter mentioned the attack as a part of the team were the Timbers have options.
We'll only have a top lineup when we name our lineup against Salt Lake. We have good options. We have a lot of competition, especially in the front of our team, which is a good problem. We have good options. Most likely, we are going to pick the group that we feel is in good form and fits the game.
When you look at a Salt Lake you have to factor in what they are going to do. That is going to be a major basis for our decisions in the next week, but we will use this game to get ready for that
Injuries and Absences
Diego Chara is still sore from the knock he suffered in Sunday's 1-0 preseason loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps and will not be available for tomorrow's match, Porter said after training today, adding that the team was being cautious given the number of injuries at the defensive midfield position. Chara was not on the pitch during the open portion of today's training session.
Diego Valeri and Will Johnson were back on the pitch today, working with the team trainers. After a long run of working out on the pitch, the pair had been absent from the Timbers' training field for most of the last week. Johnson, for his part, had been in New York City as a part of the MLS collective bargaining agreement talks.
Ben Zemanski was not on hand at the training center today. Zemanski, who tore his ACL in the match on Sunday, has been waiting for the swelling to go down in his knee before he gets operated on to repair the ligament.
Michael Nanchoff, who suffered a strained hip flexor in Wednesday's 1-1 draw against the Chicago Fire, was not on hand at practice today. According to Porter, Nanchoff should be back in practice next week at some point.
Trialists and Guest Players
Trialist Blair Gavin continued his time with the first team today. According to Porter, Gavin could be used in tomorrow's match to help manage the game in the absence of Chara.
Danny O'Rourke and Justin Luthy were on hand again today.