PORTLAND, Ore. — Heading into Saturday night's trip to FC Dallas (8:30 pm ET, MatchDay Live), it’s been a productive season so far for the Timbers’ back line.
Defenders Mamadou “Futty” Danso, Rodney Wallace, Eric Brunner and Kevin Goldthwaite have six of Portland’s 18 goals this season — the same number as forwards Kenny Cooper and Jorge Perlaza do.
Goldthwaite struck for the defense last Sunday, and his back-heel re-direct into the New York Red Bulls’ goal may have been one of the least expected of the season.
The veteran of seven MLS seasons was a leaky valve for the Timbers defense during the first two games of the season and was replaced in the lineup. He went 11 games without playing before coming on the second half on Sunday to replace the injured David Horst.
Goldthwaite was in the right place at the right time to bump a Brunner header into the goal with the back of his foot.
“It was a good moment,” he said. “I’ve been in the league long enough to know it’s a long season. When you have a couple games that don’t go your way you have to know it’s not the end of the world. You have to keep working hard, be in the gym, and do as much as you can when you’re not with the first team.”
Goldthwaite did all of that, and when Danso and Horst fell to injuries, he regained an opportunity to show what he can do.
Watching from the sidelines, no one was more excited to see Goldthwaite score than Danso, who is recovering from a shoulder injury.
“Whenever a center back scores, I get pumped,” Danso said. “On this team, we don’t have [players] who score and others who are not going to score. Whoever has the chance, we expect them to finish it. We don’t have to rely on the forwards to score for us.”
Goldthwaite, who spent part of the 2005 season on loan to the USL Timbers on his first stint in Portland, was rewarded for his diligence after losing his starting job with the first team.
“It was one of those situations where guys were playing better than me,” he said. “I wasn’t playing well. You do get kind of down. But at the same time, you’ve got to realize it is a long season and you’ve got to keep working hard and staying positive.”
Goldthwaite said his goal was his best moment so far as a Timber and it came against one of his former teams, the Red Bulls. Sunday’s game ended in a 3-3.
“As a defender you don’t get many moments like that, so when you do you cherish it,” Goldthwaite said. “You take in that moment. I’ve scored three or four goals in my career. There is no better feeling than for that 30 seconds after you score. It’s the best. It’s the kind of that elation where you can never replicate it, in anything else in my life.”
And in Portland, goals come with log slices.
Goldthwaite said his fiancée has plans for the log slice. She wants to have the slice sanded smooth, polished, and turned into a coffee table, he said.