The Portland Timbers got back to it this morning, practicing at the team's Beaverton training facility for the first time since Sunday's 2-2 draw against the LA Galaxy. With Sunday's starters going through a regeneration session, practice was kept open for the duration this morning.
Practice started off with the Timbers' usual warmups and evolving passing and movement drills. After half an hour of those two sets of drills, however, the starters from Sunday headed indoors to continue their recover from the weekend's exertions. Keeper Adam Kwarasey did not join the team indoors, however, instead staying on the pitch with the rest of the team's keepers.
The players left on the pitch, including Sunday's substitutes Gaston Fernandez and Maximiliano Urruti, moved into a 4v4+3 possession game that had them playing one or two touch passes in a small area. Next the groups split up into a 5v5+1 game on a small field with keepers.
Both Fernandez and Nick Besler had shifts in the center of the 5v5+1,with each bringing a very different look to the proceedings. Fernandez consistently looked to go to goal or play a final ball for an assist, while Besler was much more oriented toward holding possession rather than simply driving toward goal.
Injuries and Absences
Michael Nanchoff had surgery to repair a sports hernia this morning and will miss four to six weeks before returning to training, Porter told the press after practice. Nanchoff missed time over the last two weeks with hip flexor issues, prompting the team to send him to a specialist in Los Angeles.
Diego Valeri and Will Johnson were once again on the sidelines of practice. While the rest of the team trained, they worked with fitness coach Nick Milonas, spending the duration passing, running, and shooting on goal. The pair continue to improve and look tantalizingly close to making their return to training, although the latest estimates still put Johnson several weeks out and Valeri as many as two months away from making his return.
Jake Gleeson was back in training with the first team today since picking up a high ankle strain early in the preseason, working with the keepers for the majority of practice. Gleeson did not fully participate and broke off to work with one of the team's trainers late in practice, but it is encouraging to see the all too often injury-stricken keeper back in the mix.
Schillo Tshuma, who was suffering from a sore groin late last week, participated in the full training today. Although Porter did not say he was 100% fit after practice, he did mention Tshuma as a player that could provide the Timbers with depth on the wing this weekend if he is fully fit.
Ben Zemanski, who is recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL, was not at practice today and, according to early estimates, is expected to be out until August or September.
Trialists and Guest Players
Danny O'Rourke continued his time training with the Timbers today.
Justin Luthy trained with the first team today, acting as one of the two keepers in the 5v5+1 drill while Kwarasey goes through his recovery and Gleeson is still limited in his participation in practice.
Jeanderson is a talented and creative dribbler, a fact that he showed off repeatedly in the 5v5+1. The most eye-catching move that he deployed was to quickly flick the ball up into the air and immediately, as the ball was still rising, angle his shin down to knock the ball back down and around his defender.
Besler can really rip a shot from distance and took several chances to do so in the 5v5+1, including one at the start of the drill that forced a nice diving save from Luthy.
Tshuma, who consistently led the line for his team in the 5v5+1, looked very inventive, playing well placed through balls and timely scoop passes or just dribbling at defenders to generally give the opposition a hard time.