The Portland Timbers held a short but intense practice session today at the team's Beaverton training facility, kicking off the week in high spirits following their first win in March under Caleb Porter despite the chill and rain. With the whole team alternating between high paced, short field matches with miniature nets and circuit drills, training on the practice pitch wrapped up quickly and the team headed indoors for a long gym session.
With the Timbers indoors, head coach Caleb Porter made himself available to the media and gave some details on the team's new loanee, winger Jack Barmby.
"When you look at Asprilla and Melano we feel like we have two very capable starters, but from there we don't have a ton of depth, so we have been looking for a guy that fits what we want. We wanted a left sided player and we wanted someone that is young, that has an upside as well," said Porter.
"When you look at Barmby, he's a young player -- he's younger than college guys coming into out -- but he's been a pro for several years, so he brings some experience," continued Porter. "He does have an upside. He has a good pedigree. He fits the profile of what we are looking for."
"He is left footed. He can play left wing, right wing, left back, even central under the striker."
With Barmby potentially arriving at the end of the this week, according to Porter, it seems that the young Englishman will be a depth piece for the side in the immediate future.
"I think with Barmby," Porter said, "he will come in and he will push Asprilla and Melano. In the position that we are in right now, his versatility and his depth will help our roster."
While Barmby's presence will certainly not revolutionize the way that the Timbers play, he does bring a different dimension to the pitch in comparison to the Timbers' current pair of starters on the wing.
"He's a left winger. He's different than Melano and Asprilla: he's a very good server of the ball, he's quick, he's smart... He brings different things. He's more of a guy that is going to look to serve -- beat guys and serve. Melano plays more like a second forward and Asprilla is a guy that is going to look to go to goal and finish."
"He is well rounded. He is a very well rounded player. We still see him as a guy that is going to probably come off the bench, but we need that depth. And we also see him as a guy that is going to get better, because he is twenty-one years old... He's younger than a college guys that you can get, but he has been a pro for a couple years. He'll come in with that professional experience, that professional mentality, and that understanding, functionally, of how to play in a role."
Asked to describe Barmby's attributes as a player, Porter kept it simple and pragmatic.
"He is technically very good. The word that comes to mind for me is functional. He has played at a very high level at a youth academy that is one of the best in the world and around one of the best leagues in the world. Obviously he hasn't cut his teeth in the Premier League yet, but his pedigree of being around that league and around those clubs, I think, has made him a tactically functional player. "
"He can play left wing and he is going to be functional there. He's not going to be, like some young players that we have brought in, as raw, perhaps. He is going to be smart tactically. He's going to have an educated left foot. And mentally I think he is going to come right in and you can plug him in."
"He has the ability to play left wing, left back, right wing, and underneath the striker. That always helps. I like the fact that we have guys who bring versatility... It allows us to use those those guys in different ways depending on the game and where we're at."
Injuries and Absences
Chris Klute continued his full training with the first team today, no surprise after a week of training full out. Asked about his status, Porter revealed that Klute has been continuing to make progress and took part in T2's scrimmage on Saturday against Oregon State University, and that he would be in action with the Timbers' USL side again this weekend.
Andy Thoma was not in today's training session after picking up a knee injury that will keep him out of training for the next six weeks, according to Porter. Thoma was spotted at the practice facility today, carrying a pair of crutches.
Here are a few quick snapshots of the Timbers finishing at the end of their circuit drill.