BEAVERTON, Ore. — "El Trencito" could be back on the rails soon.
The first signs of José Adolfo Valencia’s recovery were on display last week as the Portland Timbers' young Designated Player, who has been out the entire season after preseason knee surgery, started training with the team for the first time since the injury.
The Colombian striker went through his most intensive session on Tuesday since his return, going through warm-ups and then participating in five-on-two drills.
“He really is a thoroughbred of athletes in every sense,” interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson told reporters after training.
Wilkinson said the club hopes he can participate in several Reserve League games before the end of the season but he won’t be in game condition for three to four weeks.
Widening the pitch
Wilkinson also confirmed Tuesday that the club would be widening the pitch at JELD-WEN Field by two yards on each side.
“It’s something that will be a natural development for us as a team," Wilkinson said. "I think coming in as an expansion team we wanted a tight area in which to play to feed off the emotion. And also until we had quality pieces on board, not allowing too much space to play was potentially a positive for us.”
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at email@example.com.