The Portland Timbers got back to it today, hitting the training pitch for the first time since their 2-1 road win over the Montreal Impact. The day’s session saw the starters from Saturday head indoors early for their usual post-game regeneration session, while the rest of the team stayed on the pitch at the Timbers' Beaverton training facility.
The early going saw both groups taking part in some basic passing and agility drills before the starters headed indoors. Once they had departed, however, the rest of the team broke into two six man teams for a series of short field 6v6 games with keepers and full-sized goals.
The 6v6 matches produced several impressive moments both in the attack and on defense. Gaston Fernandez, freshly returned from a bout of turf toe that kept him out of training last week, had one such moment late in training as he weaved through several defenders and looked to have dribbled Andrew Weber in goal, needing only a simple chip to finish off the move, but instead put his attempt just off the far-post.
Maximiliano Urruti also had his fair share of missed opportunities, but did stand out when he received the ball about 18 yards from goal and calmly placed a side-footed shot through traffic and just inside the near post to beat a diving Jake Gleeson.
With plenty of shots coming at close range, Gleeson and Weber also had their moments, with making some impressive reaction saves.
One player who stood out as an immediate threat each time he got on the ball was Dairon Asprilla, who managed several goals over the course of the drill, including one impressive finish that saw him control a high, chipped pass then, just as it hit the ground, shoot near-post to beat Weber for the goal.
Injuries and Absences
Gaston Fernandez was back in training today after missing last week with a bout of turf toe. Porter told the press that Fernandez had been given a cortisone shot last week, but that he had been judged not ready to play. Fernandez was wearing a compression sleeve on his right leg at training today.
Ben Zemanski was spotted at the training center today, wearing a brace on his leg and using crutches to walk to his car. Zemanski, who tore his ACL at the end of the preseason, is still a long way out from completing his recovery from ACL surgery.
Diego Valeri is approaching full fitness, Porter told the press after practice today. Valeri was, Porter said, only supposed to play 70 minutes against Montreal on Saturday, but ended up playing 71.
Will Johnson is continuing his return to fitness and is still be evaluated week by week, Porter told the press after training today. After returning to full training, several weeks ago, Johnson sat out most of last week due to soreness in his legs, something Porter stressed was a normal part of returning from a broken tibia and fibula like Johnson suffered. In today's training session, which he fully participated in, Johnson was wearing a compression sleeve on his left leg.
Of the Timbers players on loan to T2, only Jake Gleeson, Nick Besler, and Andy Thoma trained with the first team today. Taylor Peay and Schillo Tshuma both participated in T2 training.
Trialists and Guest Players
Danny O'Rourke, who has apparently been nicknamed "Ralphie" by Liam Ridgewell, and Justin Luthy both took part in first team training today.