The Portland Timbers got back to training today after the weekend's travel to British Columbia for their 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps. Today's open practice session, held at the team's Beaverton training facility, saw the Timbers work on their usual possession and pressure before moving to an emphasis on attacking play, crossing, and finishing later in training; no real surprise after they out crossed the Whitecaps 48 to 7, but were unable to make much happen off those crosses.
Training started out with the team's usual warmups, but took a surprising turn as the Timbers headed over to the team's grass pitch for the first time this year to do their regular passing drills. After a brief bit of work on the grass pitch and some instructions from Caleb Porter to the groundskeepers, the Timbers headed back to the turf that they have been using so far this year. Porter was overheard saying that tomorrow's practice will be held on the grass as the team switched back to the turf.
From there the Timbers moved on to a series of possession drills, starting off with a 4v1 drill in a small area then moving into alternating 5v2 and 5v3 drills. Next the Timbers switched to a 5v2 drill that saw the possessing team attempting to get five touches on the ball before playing a long pass to another group of 5.
After wrapping up the possession-focused portion of practice and enduring a brief but intense hailstorm, the Timbers next moved to a 5v5 short field game with keepers and six "bumper" players on the outside for the attacking team to play the ball off of. The Timbers payed a series of games with the bumper players rotating in for one of the teams of 5 at regular intervals.
Finally, the Timbers finished off practice by breaking into two groups, one working primarily on attacking movement under the direction of Sean McAuley and the other working on crossing and defending the cross under the direction of Porter. McAuley's group seemed focused on developing the movement of Maximiliano Urruti and Fanendo Adi and getting the two strikers to create room for each other in which to work around the box.
Injuries and Absences
Jack Jewsbury was on the sidelines today, working with fitness coach Nick Milonas. Jewsbury, who experienced concussion-like symptoms following the match against Sporting Kansas City last week, was asymptomatic yesterday, according to Porter, and could be back in full training on Friday, which would make him available for Saturday's match against FC Dallas.
Diego Valeri was also on the sidelines of the day's training session, working with Milonas as well. Valeri continued working with Milonas and Jewsbury for the duration of the practice.
Will Johnson was the final Timbers player on the sidelines today. Johnson started the day working his passing with Jewsbury and Valeri, but headed indoors somewhat early on. Both Johnson and Valeri are expected to return to training in May.
New signing Ishmael Yartey had not yet joined the team as of today's training session. Porter confirmed that he had not yet talked to general manager Gavin Wilkinson about Yartey's arrival time, but reaffirmed the estimate given last Friday, saying that Yartey could potentially arrive later this week, pending the receipt of his visa and international transfer certificate.
With the exception of Jake Gleeson, who did not play in the Portland Timbers 2 match on Sunday, the Timbers who are on loan to T2 were not in training today. Anthony Manning, Andrew Thoma, and Schillo Tshuma were all with the Timbers for the initial warmups, but headed indoors shortly thereafter.
Ben Zemanski and Michael Nanchoff were not in practice today as they continue recovering from their respective surgeries.
Trialists and Guest Players
Justin Luthy, who is finally a T2 player rather than just a guest player, trained with the first team today.
Danny O'Rourke, who is still a guest player, continued his time training with the Timbers today.