PORTLAND, Ore. — After a long weekend off due to the postponement of their match at D.C. United courtesy of Hurricane Irene, the Portland Timbers finally resumed training on Tuesday.
And they'll have to get used to the training field, too, because they won’t play a competitive match until Sept. 10, when they take on the Union at Philadelphia.
Thanks to the timing of the hurricane and a scheduled bye weekend coming up, Portland will go 17 days between matches.
“It was good to get away for a little bit,” Timbers defender David Horst said, “because we were coming in every day there for about a month-and-a-half without having any days off. It wears on you mentally, so it was nice to get away from soccer for a few days and not think about it and not worry about it.”
Timbers head coach John Spencer said the extended break comes at a good time.
Portland’s 1-0 victory over Chivas USA last Wednesday was their sixth game in August over the course of 21 days. That included a three-game road trip that started with a match in San Jose. The team then traveled back to Portland before heading to Kansas City and Houston without returning home between games.
“That took a lot out of us,” Spencer said. “So this week, we got our legs back under us with a few days off there. Now we’re back to hard work again and getting ourselves in the best shape we can for the Philly game.”
The time off also allows Portland time to heal some bumps and bruises. Midfielder Jack Jewsbury is still nursing a hamstring injury after he missed the LA Galaxy and San Jose matches earlier this month. Forward Eddie Johnson, meanwhile, has been out since sustaining concussions in warm-ups for the Galaxy match and again on Aug. 14 against Houston.
“We get a chance to rest a little bit and then get back out there recovered and hopefully make a good run at the last couple spots in the playoffs,” Spencer said.
But will the recent inactivity put the brakes on Portland’s momentum? The Timbers’ win over Chivas was their second straight, catapulting them right into midst of the playoff race.
“We’re going to have to work extra hard these next few days,” Horst said. “We have to be ready for Philadelphia and the coaches aren’t going to let us slide and sit back on our haunches. They’re going to be on top of us, and we’ll be ready.”