Timbers Notes: Int'l break offers time to adjust, prepare
BEAVERTON, Ore. – The good news for the Portland Timbers is they’ll have plenty of time to recuperate from Sunday’s 3-0 loss to rival Seattle Sounders.
The bad news? They’ll also have plenty of time to think about Sunday’s 3-0 loss.
“You always want to play, especially after a defeat, because you want to reflect on it and then move forward as quickly as you can,” Timbers assistant coach Sean McAuley (above) said after Wednesday's training session. “But it also gives you the chance to maybe get some work in and prepare for the next one in a different way with more time with the players.”
McAuley said the club will take advantage of extended international break to fix some issues on the training field. The team trained again Thursday and have one more session on Friday before a weekend off.
They’ll return Monday to prepare for their next game Oct. 21, on the road against the Vancouver Whitecaps, where despite the Seattle result they can still clinch their first Cascadia Cup of the MLS era.
“We can use this week as an opportunity to get the amount of training and the physical requirement that [the players] need,” McAuley added.
Defender Steve Purdy and midfielders/defenders Lovel Palmer and Rodney Wallace will not have the same opportunity to prepare for the Vancouver game after being recalled by their respective national teams for upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Purdy departed last Thursday to join El Salvador, while Palmer and Wallace left Monday to join Jamaica and Costa Rica, respectively. All three players are scheduled to return to the club on Oct. 17.
Palmer and the Jamaican national team face Guatemala on Friday at Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City before playing host to Antigua & Barbuda on Oct. 16 in Kingston. The Reggae Boyz are tied with the United States and Guatemala at the top of Group A in CONCACAF qualifying with seven points.
Purdy and El Salvador play host to Wallace and Costa Rica on Friday at Estadio Cuscatlán, where they can advance with a win, before closing out the semifinal round of qualifying on Oct. 16 at Mexico's Estadio Azteca.
In addition to facing El Salvador, Costa Rica play host to Guyana at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica in San José on Oct. 16 with the opportunity to clinch should their Central American rivals falter.
Midfielder Kalif Alhassan, who has been nursing patellar tendinitis and hasn’t played since Sept. 22 or started since July 21, trained Wednesday for the first time in more than two weeks.
His status for the Vancouver game is still uncertain, McAuley said.
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.