Portland Timbers enjoy rare weekend off before return to league schedule

07.13.13 Timbers Huddle

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers have had precious little time to recharge during a busy schedule that has seen the club suffer only four losses in 26 games across all competitions. During a packed summer calendar, head coach Caleb Porter’s squad has played 16 games – including Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matches and international exhibitions – since May 25.

Following Wednesday’s 2-1 loss against league-leading Real Salt Lake in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, Porter put the team through a good session on Friday morning in its return to the field to boost some heart rates and refocus for the upcoming league schedule.

“You could see it in the spirit of the guys today, they weren’t down,” Porter said regarding the team’s response to Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup loss. “We believe in ourselves and we’re excited about the next 12 games.”

Before returning to work on Monday, the Timbers will have the weekend off – a very rare occurrence in any season.

“I told the guys we have to get away and recharge mentally and physically, starve yourself of the ball,” Porter said. “I think that’s always important at times. I mean, these guys touch the ball every single day and they’re pros and they’re passionate about the game and they love touching the ball every day, but sometimes it’s good to get away from the ball and when you get back to it, you crave it.

“We need to be reenergized and have a lot of hunger here in this final push. Getting away from it, physically recharging, relaxing, even reflecting, that’s always a good thing every once in awhile throughout a season.”

Following the much-needed weekend respite, the Timbers return to the field on Monday to prepare for the remainder of their August schedule – a slate that includes games against FC Dallas (Aug. 17), Real Salt Lake (Aug. 21), a road game at Cascadia-rival Seattle Sounders FC (Aug. 25) and a second regular-season match against Real Salt Lake (Aug. 30).

As the only team in Major League Soccer that hasn’t lost two straight games dating back to July 29, 2012, fans can count on Porter’s side to return from their time away from the pitch with the same focus and determination the club has displayed all season.

“We’ll get back to work Monday. You lose the game, you’re down because you get close, you feel like it’s in your hands, like you have a chance to win a cup, and that’s a good thing,” Porter said. “We expect to win, and our supporters expect us to win. We have absolutely flipped the culture to the point where now every time we play and every time we take the field, our players, our fans, everybody expects us to win. That’s what we want, that’s the way good teams think. Good teams don’t leave any game satisfied unless they win, and that’s the standard we’ve created here and that’s the standard we want to uphold.”