At long last, Sebastian Blanco has made his return to the training ground.
The Portland Timbers gave their star midfielder a warm welcome back to the field on Monday, six months after he tore his ACL in the first minute of Portland's match against the Seattle Sounders at Lumen Field on Sept. 6. As it turned out, it was also Blanco's 33rd birthday, which was enough to merit the double-tunnel treatment.
Blanco, of course, is one of Portland's most important players both on the field and in the locker room, so it's understandable elation on the part of his teammates to see him back in the fold. The dynamic Argentine helped lead Portland to victory at the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando last summer, and was in the midst of an electric all-around season before the injury, with two goals and five assists in 665 minutes.
Portland coach Gio Savarese has spoken with optimism that Blanco will be ready to go when Portland begin their season against C.D. Marathon in the Concacaf Champions League on April 6 before their MLS opener against Vancouver Whitecaps on April 18.