The Portland Timbers got back to training at home today following their week long road trip to New York and LA. Practicing at the team's Beaverton training facility, the Timbers held a closed session today, opening things up in the final minutes when most of the players who played on the road already inside or stretching on the pitch.
There were several Timbers still working under the guidance of Sean McAuley at the far end of the pitch, with one player sending a ball into the box for an attacker while a defender closed him down.
With so many players having gotten into the week's slate of matches, the field seemed uncommonly empty. For Caleb Porter, the contributions of so many players was a very good thing, preparing the team for the busy schedule ahead this season.
The choices tht we are going to have to make here in the next several weeks are going to be tougher than they have been in the past and that is great. It couldn't come at a better time. We have the Open Cup coming up, you saw the draw with the [CONCACAF Champions League], we are going to be putting on a lot of miles there. Our ability to change our group and get a result and build confidence from one to twenty is coming at a great time.
Although this weekend's match against the Vancouver Whitecaps is first and foremost in the Timbers' minds, the recent CCL draw has given the team something new to look forward to.
It is not goinjg ot be easy. You have got the furthest trip of any game, going to Guyana and then you play the Honduran champions, which are a very good team... It is exciting to know that that is right around the corner; same thing with the Open Cup. The soccer gods evened things out for us with the [Orlando City FC U-23s] beating Charleston. We would have had to go to Charleston and now we get to play at home in that first Open Cup game, so that helps make up for having to travel all the way to South America to play Guyana.
Trialists and Guest Players
Mayron George, a 20-year-old Costa Rican striker, was on trial with the Timbers today. Most recently with FC Limon of the Costa Rican first division, George is a tall striker in the No. 9 mold. In 38 league appearance for Limon over the last season, George had him most productive season since joining the club as a seventeen year old, scoring ten goals and registering four assists. Porter confirmed that George would be on trial through the rest of the week, giving the team a chance to take a look at him, before leaving on Monday.
Academy keeper Joe Wheelwright was also on hand at today's practice, giving the Timbers an extra body in goal.
Injuries and Absences
Norberto Paparatto was a late arrival at the training facility today, coming in toward the later stages of practice. Paparatto told the press he was doing well, while passing through the waiting room into the facility. After practice Porter elaborated, saying that he did not yet know what Paparatto's status was as the doctors were still evaluating him and putting him through the head-injury protocol.
Ben Zemanski did not practice today as he continues to work his way back from a concussion suffered in the match against the New York Red Bulls last Saturday. Porter confirmed that Zemanski is still going through the league's concussion protocols and was still showing some symptoms several days ago.
Michael Harrington was back in full training today for the first time since injuring his ankle in the Timbers 1-1 draw against D.C. United three weeks ago, according to Porter.
Loans and Loanees
According to Caleb Porter, Rodney Wallace could go out on a two game loan with a club willing to give him minutes in a controlled environment, while the Timbers look to get him ready to start in the side's US Open Cup match on 6/17 against the Orlando City FC U-23s.
Sacramento Republic FC loanees George Fochive and Jake Gleeson were back with the Timbers today. Sacramento have a ten day rest between matches, following their 6-0 Open Cup win on Wednesday. Fochive has been a regular in the center of the pitch for Sacramento, while Gleeson has struggled with minor injuries after a strong start for the Republic.