PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers will once again be without central defender Hanyer Mosquera.
The newly acquired Colombian, who made his second start alongside Eric Brunner in Portland’s 1-0 loss last weekend in New England, will miss Saturday's game against Real Salt Lake after he took a knock to the face contesting a ball in the air in the game's 21st minute with the Revs' Blake Brettschneider.
Mosquera, who was replaced by rookie Andrew Jean-Baptiste, was diagnosed with a non-displaced, medial orbit fracture and a concussion, the team said Monday.
“A little bit of a bad one,” Timbers head coach John Spencer said of the injury after training on Monday. “He didn’t look too good flying back home [Sunday]. He looked pretty groggy.”
Mosquera also missed the Timbers’ season opener on March 12 after his international transfer certificate failed to clear in time. In that game, a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union, Jean-Baptiste filled in nicely, scoring Portland’s first goal to overcome a 1-0 deficit.
The center back position has taken its lumps for Portland this season. The Timbers are also without defenders Mamadou “Futty” Danso, who suffered a fractured foot in the preseason, and David Horst, who is recovering after offseason hip surgery.
Mosquera’s injury does not require surgery, however. But Spencer said there is no immediate timetable for his return.
“Hopefully he’s back to full fitness soon,” Spencer said.
Putting Saturday’s 1-0 loss at New England behind them has been top priority in the Timbers’ two days of training in preparation for Saturday’s game against Real Salt Lake at JELD-WEN Field.
Spencer said he spoke with the team as a group and with individual players about the performance and hopes its one that doesn’t manifest itself again.
“We’ve got to move forward now,” Spencer said. “It’s one of them games, rarely do they happen, when everyone on the field wasn’t playing well.”
Spencer was not only gutted by the result but the realization that it perpetuates the storyline that his club can't perform on the road. Portland didn’t get a win away from JELD-WEN last year until July 16 and finished with a 2-9-6 record.
“I was disappointed,” Spencer said. “I thought we got over that little hump of being on the road.”
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsosccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.