The Portland Timbers practiced today at the club's Beaverton training facility, keeping the session locked down and closed to the press until the full side had headed indoors. With the possibility of Lucas Melano's impending arrival, Alvas Powell's return from the Gold Cup under strange circumstances, and a plethora of players returning from the assortment of knocks that kept them from playing last weekend against the Philadelphia Union, the Timbers seem to be keeping their cards close to the chest this week.
After heading indoors for what appeared to be a long yoga session, Nat Borchers was made available to the media and gave his thoughts on the Timbers' upcoming match against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.
"I think that we are looking at Vancouver and we are seeing a big rival: at team that we have played twice already in the season and once in the preseason," Borchers said about the weekend's opposition. "We know them quite well and we haven't gotten the results that we want against them, although we played well. I think we are really hungry to get after them and to hopefully get three points out of it."
Asked about the style and strengths of the Whitecaps, Borchers gave his thoughts on Vancouver, "I think with Vancouver they are a very organized team. I have been very impressed with Carl Robinson and just how well he has done with this group and the players that he has brought in. I know they are missing a few faces here and there but they are still a very organized team."
Borchers then turned his attention to the Vancouver attack.
"I think when you look at how they are scoring goals they look to hit you on the counter a lot and then set pieces are really vital to them. We like to be on the ball a lot and we are going to have to be careful with the decisions that we make and just make sure that we don't get opened up."
With the Timbers hosting the Whitecaps on Saturday, the Timbers will be putting their 6-1-3 home record up against the Whitecaps' 6-4-1 record on the road. For Borchers, the Timbers' home form, a five game winning streak stretching back to the Timbers' 0-0 draw against the Whitecaps in May, bodes well for the Timbers.
"I think that in this league have to take care of business at home and you have to make your home a fortress," said Borchers. "I think that recently we have done that here and that has been a big credit to us and the way we played, but also to the fans and how passionate that they have been."
An indication of that passion was hanging at the entrance to the player's parking at the training facility today, a banner depicting Caleb Porter with a line from Shakespeare's "Richard III".
"I saw it as I came in. I think it is just a tribute to how amazing our fans are, how passionate they are, and how much they care about our team," said Borchers. "They made a tribute to our coach, which is great to see. You don't get many fans like this around the league, so we are very grateful for them."