The Portland Timbers hit the field today for the team's first training session since returning from their series of friendlies in Tucson, AZ. After a travel day and the weekend off, the Timbers put in a short but intense appearance on the training pitch today at the team's Beaverton practice facility.
Starting things off with the usual warmups, then moving into a series of five on two possession drills in increasingly large areas, the Timbers wrapped things up with a pair of short field games: a seven on seven half-field game with full sized goals and keepers, and a four on four match on a smaller pitch with mini goals and no keepers (full sized or otherwise).
Injuries and Absences
Chris Klute warmed up with the rest of the team, but broke off as they went into the possession drills, instead working with the team's trainers on the sidelines. Asked about Klute after the match, Porter told the press that his knee was not where they wanted it to be and that he had not gone through the proper progressions in his recovery from the meniscus repair surgery that has sidelined him so far.
Ned Grabavoy, who picked up an injury in Tucson that saw him miss out on appearing in the matches against the Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake, was back in training today, fully participating in training.
Liam Ridgewell was not yet back with the team today after finishing up his loan to English Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion over the weekend. The Timbers' captain is expected to fly back from the United Kingdom on Wednesday, Porter told the press, and is expected to play in the Simple Invitational. After playing six matches for Brighton over the course of his month and a half long loan (five in the Championship and one in the F.A. Cup), Porter expects Ridgewell to be fit and ready to play despite coming out of his final match with Brighton, a 3-2 win over Bolton Wanderers, in the 70th minute. Porter told the press that he thought Ridgewell's substitution was just being cautious and Ridgewell has since tweeted that "it'll be fine".
Ben Polk, who signed a contract with MLS before the draft, was not at training today while attending the league's rookie symposium. The rest of the team's 2016 draft picks (Neco Brett, Trevor Morley, and Wade Hamilton) were all in training today.
Trialists and Guest Players
Trailists Eric Avila and Nermin Crnkic, both of whom appeared with the Timbers in Arizona, were not with the team today. After practice, Porter confirmed that they are no longer on trial with the Timbers.
The ever-present Justin Luthy was the only T2 player on the pitch with the Timbers today. While players like Kharlton Belmar and Akinjide Idowu played with the first team while in Tucson, they are now rejoining T2 as the Timbers' USL side starts training this week. (Look out for a run down of one of their training sessions later this week.)
Fanendo Adi, Darlington Nagbe, and Diego Valeri (with Diego Chara in there as well) were tearing it up in the seven on seven games today. As soon as their side hit the pitch, Fanendo Adi scored two quick goals, finding room in the center to turn and fire off a pair of hard shots despite being matched up against Nat Borchers and Jermaine Taylor.
While Adi was banging them in, Valeri brought a touch of finesse to the goal that he grabbed, impressing with a series of dribbles through defenders that defied reason, and eventually getting free out wide on the right to send an inch perfect chip around Borchers, over the fingertips of Luthy, and just inside the far post of the goal.
For his part, Nagbe did not get on the scoreboard, but instead impressed with his usual passing, combination play, close control, and explosive acceleration. It was a combination of all four of those that lead to Adi's second goal as Nagbe drew Alvas Powell to him out wide on the left, cut inside and pulled Borchers away from Adi, then dropped the ball off for Chara to find Adi alone in the box with a simple pass forward.