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Portland Timbers Training Quotes and Notes: Two Touch

Will Conwell

The Portland Timbers practiced at the team's Beaverton training facility this morning as they ramp up for this weekend's match against Eastern Conference leaders the New York Red Bulls.

The Timbers stuck to their guns in today's training session, working a series of possession drills before moving to a short field game to finish off training for most of the team.

In the early going, the Timbers worked on a series of quick moving possession drills, first running three groups of seven in 5v2 rondos, then bringing all three groups together for a drill that saw each team of seven trying to get a series of touches on the ball while three players from another group pressured them until they lost the ball or were able to play a long, controlled pass to the third group.

The Timbers wrapped up the possession and pressure focused portion of training with a larger scale drill, a two touch 7v7+1 match with six gates surrounding the outside of the pitch. In each gate was a player, who the team with the ball would need to play a one-two pass with before they could score off of the gate. The two touch nature of the drill meant that players kept the ball on the move and rarely with one player for long, with the exception of Diego Valeri, whose ability to move around the ball without touching it allowed him to run with the ball unlike anyone else on the pitch.

Finally, still in their groups of seven, the Timbers played a short field game with keepers in goal. Unlike other recent training sessions, there were few highlight reel goals in this one as the defenses largely kept things locked down, only calling for a pair of big saves from Andrew Weber in goal: one tipping a curled Danny O'Rourke shot into the bar with a high-flying dive and the other a clutch kick save as a shot was redirected away from the direction of his initial dive.

With few goals on offer, it was Nat Borchers who scored the most notable of the night, dispossessing an opponent in the center of the pitch and steaming down the pitch with the ball, eventually getting it back in the opposition box and firing home a low, placed shot below Jake Gleeson's attempted save.

Injuries and Absences

Will Johnson and Alvas Powell were both back in training after missing the Timbers' last two matches while on international duty. Michael Seaton, the Timbers' third international absence over the last several weeks, was not on hand for training today as he was likely set to travel with T2 for their match against the LA Galaxy II tomorrow night.

Also missing from training for T2 duty were Jeanderson, Nick Besler, and Anthony Manning.

Ben Zemanski was the only player on the sidelines of training today, working with a trainer to continue his recover from the torn ACL that sidelined him for the whole of this year's season.

Trialists and Guest Players

On hand for today's training session two T2 players, O'Rourke and Fatawu Safiu. While O'Rourke is a fixture in first team training, Fatawu's continued presence there seems like a likely result of the approaching end to his loan to T2 from Ghana's Inter Allies FC. While most of the players on T2 will likely be able to return to the Timbers system next year, Fatawu's loan status may necessitate the Timbers making a move sooner rather than later if they want to keep ahold of the talented 20-year-old.