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Portland Timbers Training Quotes and Notes: Getting Serious

William Conwell

The Portland Timbers continued their preparations for this Sunday's match against the Seattle Sounders this morning with a closed practice session at the team's Beaverton training facility.

As the press were allowed out onto the pitch for the end of training, the Timbers had a group working set-pieces at one end of the pitch and another group playing a short field match with keepers at the other. Although training was wrapped up shortly afterward, there was some notable action in the brief moments before the end of training, including an attempted Will Johnson bicycle kick in the short field game that was wide of the mark.

After training ended, Caleb Porter spoke to the press, giving some of his thoughts on the upcoming rivalry match.

"It is going to be a great match with two good teams," said Porter. "Obviously we have a history with Seattle. It is a great rivalry. I am looking forward to it."

He continued, "It is just another game in terms of three points, but its one of the few where, really, we can't say it is just another game, because its not. It means a lot to us. We know it means a lot to the supporters, but it means just as much to us to play Seattle and hopefully get a win."

Historically, Seattle's CenturyLink has been a very difficult place for visiting teams to play, a facet that has extended to the Timbers as well. Since joining Major League Soccer, the Timbers have only once won in Seattle, the Timbers' 2-1 playoff victory in 2013.

Porter addressed some of the reasons that it has been so difficult for the Timbers to win away to Seattle, "They have a big crowd; the biggest in the league. They have one of the best teams in the league. You put those two things together and that's why they are tough to beat."

Of course, it seems like the Timbers would have a better chance of bringing points back to Portland if Diego Valeri were available for the match. Asked about the possibility of Valeri being in the 18 for this match, however, Porter was far from definitive.

"I don't know," said Porter. "Maybe. I won't rule it out. We'll see. He's definitely not capable of playing major minutes, but he is capable of perhaps dressing."

Thinking about the match against Seattle, Porter hesitated, "I don't know if it is the right game to throw him in with that turf. I'll sit down with the medical staff, I'll talk to him, see where things are at; we had always targeted the Vancouver game. He's only been in training two days full out and for me that is not quite enough."

After getting serious for a moment, Porter smiled, "You never know. Don't rule it out."

Injuries and Absences

Rodney Wallace was working on the sidelines of practice today with one of the team's trainers as the press were allowed out to the pitch. After practice wrapped up, Porter told the press that whether Wallace will train or even start in Sunday's match will be a game-time decision. Wallace is recovering from an MCL strain suffered before the match against New York City FC.

Michael Nanchoff, now five weeks into the four to six weeks estimated for his own return from surgery to repair a sports hernia, was not spotted in the window during which practice was open, but had been training on the sidelines with a trainer recently.

Ben Zemanski was not spotted at the day's training session. Zemanski is expected to miss most of the season as he recovers from a torn ACL suffered during the preseason.

Trialists and Guest Players

T2 players Daniel Withrow, Danny O'Rourke, Harrison Delbridge, and Fatawu Safiu were all on hand for today's training session, adding bodies to the day's session.