Timbers in Tucson Notebook: Intensity picks up in training
Tucson, Ariz. – The Portland Timbers continued their preseason training in Arizona with an up tempo session at the Kino Sports Complex on Sunday. The day began with a series of quick passing and possession drills built around short-side teams. The drills included some added competitive elements with players stuck losing the ball in possession having to do a set number of pushups.
The added speed to the drills carried over to a host of crossing and finishing drills with forwards working on overlaps and slicing runs to both near and back post. The session ended with a spirited drill of attackers vs. defenders on a half-field set-up.
The increased emphasis on precision and quality service throughout the day all reflect a growing sense of preparation for both the preseason match on Tuesday against Seattle, as well as the season opener on Mar. 3 against New York.
And while it is preseason, Tuesday's Cascadia Cup rivalry (9:30am PT, stream at www.portlandtimbers.com) is one that the team is very much aware of.
“Every day we’re trying to get better, every game we’re trying to play well and win,” said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. “Even in preseason, we want to build that mentality. So Seattle, it’s another game that we want to play well. We want to see progress as a staff. We want see the players moving forward.
“But we understand the rivalry. And it will be talked about.“
Defender David Horst and midfielder Jack Jewsbury were held out of training due to injury and received conditioning work on the sidelines.
Forward Ryan Johnson and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts left this morning to join the Jamaica National Team ahead of their World Cup Qualifier against Mexico on Feb. 6.
Supplemental Draft Pick Chris Hegngi is scheduled to join the team once the squad returns to Portland.
With Ricketts away on international duty, FC Tucson goalkeeper Brian Holt participated in drills today with the team.
- In what has become a team preseason training tradition, players will gather to watch tonight's Super Bowl together.