The Portland Timbers practiced at the team's Beaverton training facility today in preparation for Sunday's Cascadia Cup clash against the Seattle Sounders, a match that could define the season for either team.
With practice closed for the duration, the big news of the day came after the players had headed indoors and head coach Caleb Porter addressed the press. Talking about his lineup for Sunday, Porter told the press that team captain Will Johnson could be out as he deals with a sore right leg, a result of the tibia and fibula break that kept him out for the first half of this season.
Porter was not definitive that Johnson would not be able to play, telling the press, "If he is capable of playing and his leg isn't hurting like it was hurting after the game this last game then he is in there, but if his leg is too sore and we don't feel like it is going to be beneficial for him or us to try to have him get through the game... We have to keep those things in perspective."
The soreness that Johnson is suffering is not a new occurrence and Johnson has been dealing with varying levels of it in recent matches, Porter told the press.
"You could see in the last few games that he was not completely himself in terms of getting around the park," said Porter. "He knows that and we see that. It is nothing to be alarmed about, but it is just a matter of continuing to still deal with the cumulative effects of playing ninety minute matches week in and week out."
Porter continued, "He has done an incredible job. Our team has won with him on the field. He makes us better. But that leg has gotten to the point where we felt that we kind of need to manage his training a little bit this week and we need to make a decision on Sunday as well in how we manage that with him going to Canada and coming back and getting the most out of him when it matters the most."
Since returning to the lineup at the end of May, Johnson has played eleven games in thirteen weeks, going at least 84 minutes in every one. In games Johnson has played this season the Timbers have gone 7-1-3; in games without him the Timbers are 4-7-4.
Johnson was not the only player suffering from soreness this week; Liam Ridgewell, who was on the sidelines of training earlier this week, has been back in training and will be available for Sunday, according to Porter. Ridgewell was sidelined temporarily by calf soreness, an aftereffect of the broken leg that he suffered in the 2008-09 season with Birmingham.