Portland Timbers happy to bring new defender Pa Modou Kah aboard, expect "an immediate impact"

PORTLAND, Ore. – Reinforcements for the Portland Timbers injury-ravaged backline have arrived.

Gambian center back Pa Modou Kah, who has played the last two seasons with clubs in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, joined Timbers camp Thursday and participated in two training sessions ahead of their Saturday match against Cascadia rival Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place (7 pm ET, watch on MLS Live).

“We’ve only seen him a day and a half, but we’ve already seen him prior to this, watched him a lot in person and on film,” Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said after Friday’s training session at JELD-WEN Field before departing for Vancouver. “We know his quality.”

Needless to say, the big center back’s arrival was a welcome one.

The Timbers announced Kah’s signing May 3 on the heels of serious injuries to starting center backs David Horst and Mikaël Silvestre.

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Horst suffered a displaced tibial plateau fracture to his right knee and is expected to miss six months after undergoing surgery in early April. Silvestre recently underwent surgery to repair a torn left ACL and is expected to be out six to nine months.

The Timbers also cut ties this week with Colombian center back Hanyer Mosquera after he returned to his native country a month into the season.

“We expect Kah to step in and make an immediate impact in our club,” Porter said.

Porter confirmed that Kah would travel with the team and dress for the Vancouver match but likely won’t see any action.

“We have to be smart with how we acclimate him,” Porter said. “He’s not been with the group. He’s going to take a bit of time to get his fitness up to speed. He’s been working on his own, but he hasn’t played in a competitive game in almost a month. So we have to be smart with how we integrate him in the group, but he’s going to be a nice addition to the backline.”

READ: Timbers' scouting report for match vs. Whitecaps

In Portland’s 3-0 victory over Chivas USA on Sunday, their two starters, Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Mamadou “Futty” Danso, were the only center backs in the 18. Before Kah’s arrival, the only other true center back on the roster was rookie Dylan Tucker-Gangnes.

“We don’t want to rush him into a situation where he’s not 100 percent ready,” Porter said. “And the other thing, with our group and with our team chemistry, we want to be smart and make sure we’re bringing him along in the right way.”

Portland have also brought in trialist Rauwshan McKenzie, who last played at Chivas USA, for a second look this week. He trialed in Portland earlier this season.

Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com.