The Portland Timbers held a brief, closed practice today at the team's Beaverton training facility, wrapping things up on the pitch early in the day with a long yoga session.
When the press were allowed out onto the pitch, the Timbers were all in a large circle around a yoga instructor apparently from YoYo Yogi, a Portland yoga studio.
"I'm not very flexible," said defender Nat Borchers after practice, "but I like yoga. It's defeinitely helpful for older guys like me, for sure. Just relax and loosen up the muscles and get the mind right. Today was a good day for that."
Although the rest of the training session was closed to the press, there was some evidence of games of soccer tennis being played, with Cameron Knowles, Sean McAuley, and Pablo Moreira playing the game on a net still set up on the pitch.
"We played some games and did some yoga," Borchers said. "You need days like this to recover."
With two days until the first Cascadia Cup match of the season when the Timbers go on the road to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, the Timbers will be hoping that this day of relaxation will help get the players focused and help lead to the team's first win of the season.
For his part, designated player forward Fanendo Adi always seems ready for a match.
"I expect a very good game," Adi said when asked about Saturday's match. "Vancouver is a very good team and it is always a rivalry between us and them, so this will be a great opportunity. [In the previous game against Vancouver] you could see that it was a really aggressive and intense game, and that is the same thing that you should expect in this game."
Injuries and Absences
Jack Jewsbury was back with the rest of the team for today's yoga session, but did not comment on his health when asked after practice. Given the number of unknowns about his injury and the timeline for his potential return, it is hard to say how this will affect the potential for Jewsbury to play on Saturday. Caleb Porter will be available to the media tomorrow, so hopefully we will have an update then.
New signing Ishmael Yartey was not on hand for today's training session. The speed at which a player arrives and is available after being signed can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, but it seems unlikely that Yartey will arrive until next week at the earliest.
Diego Valeri and Will Johnson were the only players on the pitch not participating in the team yoga exercises. Instead the pair were stretching and working through a series of core-strengthening exercises with trainer Nick Milonas. Valeri and Johnson were most recently pegged as returning to training in May by Porter.
Ben Zemanski and Michael Nanchoff continued their absence from practice today as they continue recovering from their respective surgeries. Zemanski is expected to return from his ACL surgery at the end of the season, while Nanchoff is expected to return from surgery to repair a sports hernia in 3-5 weeks.
Alvas Powell was not spotted at training today. Powell is presumably still with the Jamaican National Team for a pair of friendlies this weekend, although reports have him rejoining the Timbers for this weekend's match.
Trialists and Guest Players
The Timbers had Justin Luthy and Danny O'Rourke in practice today.