BEAVERTON, Ore. – The Portland Timbers will have a choice to make when it comes to who starts in goal Saturday against D.C. United at JELD-WEN Field.
Starting goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and backup Jake Gleeson, both injured more than a week ago during the first-team and reserve games against the Seattle Sounders, respectively, trained Tuesday at the team’s training facility.
Ricketts, who suffered a separated shoulder after a collision with Sounders forward Eddie Johnson, is listed as out on the injury report and is expected to miss four weeks. Gleeson, however, is listed as questionable after he came away from the reserves match against Seattle with a bone bruise and partially torn ligament in his hand.
“What we have to remember is that we also want to look after the long-term futures of these players because they are valuable assets to us and we don’t want to put them in a situation where they look to give us a short-term gain and a long-term headache,” said Timbers assistant coach Sean McAuley, who ran Tuesday’s session as interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson attended to general managing duties. “We will make sure we wrap them in cotton wool and we have every faith in the players who replace them to produce the performances needed to get a result.”
Third-string ‘keeper Joe Bendik got the start in both of the Timbers’ road games last week, a 2-2 tie against San Jose and a 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake.
Wilkinson said Bendik, despite allowing San Jose to come back from a 2-0 lead in the final 20 minutes last Wednesday, showed confidence against the league’s top offense.
“I think he did well,” Wilkinson said. “When you go up against San Jose, they have nothing to lose and they have three, four or five players forward, and with Bendik in the box, he had lots of knockdowns and created havoc. I think Joe did well to manage the game.”
More injury news
Another high-profile causalty, one who wasn’t at training Tuesday, was Designated Player Kris Boyd.
He left Wednesday’s game against San Jose with a groin injury, and the club said the Scottish striker will miss four to six weeks. That timeline puts his comeback before the Oct. 28 season finale against San Jose in question.
McAuley was non-committal when asked if Boyd would play again this season.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Sometimes players heal quicker than others. It is one of those situations where it is very early in the assessment and the diagnosis of it. We won’t know until he starts getting into some physical training whether it is healed the way we want it to in order to be available for the rest of the season. I am sure he will give everything that he has to possibly get into games.”
Midfielder Diego Chará, who has missed the last two games after straining his groin against Seattle, went through light workouts on Tuesday. He is listed on the injury report as questionable.
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.