Timbers, MLS begin road back to business

Individual workouts are active at training facilities
Staff Report

The MLS season is still on hold with no return date in sight, but players were given the go-ahead by league officials to start working out on company land and they did Thursday.

With their training facility separated into zones, several Portland Timbers started workouts to return to game-day condition, and they were more than happy to get that return nod.

“It felt almost therapeutic to be back out there on the field ...,” Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse said, speaking to the media from his home via a Zoom video conference. "To get out there and see some of the other faces, as well, even if it’s from a distance. The bond felt closer today.”

“[T]o be in such safe conditions was really, really important to my mental health."

Players took rotating shifts on the Timbers’ field, with the pitch divided into personalized quadrants to endure social distancing. For sanitation purposes, players were responsible for maintaining their own equipment and gear, with daily wellness quizzes as well as temperature checks ensuring anyone exhibiting symptoms of the novel coronavirus did not have access to the grounds.

“We have been waiting for a long time to be able to come back to the facility, to be able to train,” Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese said. “One thing that we definitely miss is having the players here, training in our field – being here, around, doing our job.”

“It’s amazing to be here …,” captain Diego Valeri said. “Obviously, it’s nice to start working out again on a field, with different kinds of spaces, even with social distances, watching our teammates training, too.”

Portland split its first two matches - both played at Providence Park, when the season was put on indefinite hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

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