Timbers in Tucson Notebook: Team arrives in Arizona

Porter leads team in spirited initial session ahead of preseason opener

The Portland Timbers arrived in Tucson on Sunday and conducted a lengthy, tactical session to open their 12-day camp in Tucson on Monday morning. Head coach Caleb Porter and his coaching staff had the club working on shape, set pieces and the systems it will utilize during its preseason opener against Colorado at Kino Sports Complex on Tuesday (10am PT, stream at www.portlandtimbers.com).

“We pushed them a bit because we need to keep building,” said Porter. “It was not a normal pre-match day where it would be a bit more tapered and light. As much as we’re wanting to see a good performance tomorrow, we’re building toward March 3.”

Porter indicated that he would feature two separate groups in Tuesday’s preseason opener against the Rapids, with one group in the first half and “an entirely new group in the second half.”

Despite the move south, there was a familiar reminder of home as the club opened camp. A chilly downpour greeted the club during the first portion of Monday’s session and on the back end of training, with spotty sun and frequent wind interjecting.

“Based on the weather, it seems like we’ve left Portland and flown…. to Portland,” Porter joked after the camp’s first session.

Notes:

  • It is the first time the MLS Timbers have trained at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, with previous preseason destinations including Casa Grande, Ariz., Ventura, Calif., and Carson, Calif. The club’s home away from home at the headquarters of host FC Tucson includes full-service locker rooms, training rooms and coaches offices. “The setup is great here, certainly very professional,” Porter said Monday.
  • While the weather is sure to improve, Monday’s conditions didn’t keep a small group of Timbers supporters from watching on for a bit while on vacation in Tucson.
  • Tuesday’s match marks the first time Portland has faced Colorado in preseason. The Rapids are one of a number of clubs currently in Tucson utilizing the facilities at Kino Sports Complex.
  • The Timbers’ traveling group includes all roster players, draftees and trialists that took part in the Timbers’ final training session in Portland on Saturday, with the exception of Brent Richards, who is not currently with the group after sustaining a left knee injury in the final JELD-WEN Field training session. Richards’ status will be evaluated with further updates expected in the coming days.
  • Following Tuesday’s match against Colorado, the Timbers will not train on the pitch Wednesday. The schedule includes a recovery session and team meetings. Portland will train at Kino Sports Complex again Thursday in advance of its second preseason game against Sporting Kansas City on Friday (5 pm PT, stream at www.portlandtimbers.com).