Head coach Giovanni Savarese had good and bad injury news for Portland Timbers fans during Friday's media session.
Sebastiàn Blanco is "very, very close" to returning from a torn ACL, but striker Jeremy Ebobisse may miss time due to a hamstring injury.
"Seba is getting very, very close," explained Savarese. "He will travel with us in Honduras."
Portland flies to Honduras on Saturday to play CD Marathón in Leg 1 of the 2021 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 on Tuesday, April 6.
However, he seemed less optimistic about Ebobisse being able to play next week.
"Jeremy [Ebobisse] injured his hamstring in the past week, he's recuperating little by little," he said.
"We do not have a timeframe for when he will be back. At the moment he's getting treatment, rehab and hopefully will be available soon."
Ebobisse appeared in 18 regular-season games in 2020, making 11 starts, and totaled eight goals and two assists. Following Blanco's season-ending injury on September 6, Ebobisse began playing less striker and more wing to replace Blanco's playmaking.
In late February, near the beginning of preseason training, Savarese seemed optimistic Blanco could return in time for Leg 1 against CD Marathón.
“He’s doing so well,” Savarese said on February 26. “He’s pushing himself daily to make sure that he can come back as soon as possible. But also, we need to be careful and mindful that he hasn’t played in a long time and we have to be cautious the way we’re going to bring him back, but he’s getting closer and closer.”
Blanco was arguably the Timbers' best player last season, winning the MLS is Back Tournament MVP after scoring three goals and dishing out five assists inside the Orlando bubble. In nine regular-season appearances last season, the Timbers designated player has two goals and five assists.
Blanco underwent successful surgery on September 14 with a timetable of an expected return after six months. March 14 was the six-month anniversary of his surgery.
After winning the MLS is Back Tournament, Blanco seemed quite excited to play in the CONCACAF Champions League.
"I've said this in the past, this would be something very special for the team to be able to play an international tournament because it would give the team prestige, and that’s something we’re looking forward to," said Blanco. "We're not going to be complacent and we definitely want to go for more. A lot of people might think this is easy, but it’s definitely not. I’m very proud of my team, I’m very proud of the fight that we gave to all the matches. In this kind of tournament, it’s definitely going to bring some international attention.
"This is a tournament that I’ve definitely wanted to play in and this is something that I really wanted, but obviously this is only starting right now and there is a lot of work to do.”
Hopefully, he can make his return to the pitch next week.