PORTLAND, Ore. – The loudest roar last Saturday at Jeld-Wen Field may have happened before the Portland Timbers’ game against Columbus even started.
It came when longtime fan favorite Mamadou “Futty” Danso was introduced in Portland’s starting XI for the first time this season. The lanky defender, the longest-tenured Timbers player, who has been with the club since 2009 in their USL First Division days, had been out since suffering a broken foot during a preseason training session.
And Danso didn’t disappoint, putting in a full shift and adding a solidifying presence to the Timbers’ backline in the scoreless draw.
“It’s hard,” Danso said of playing a full 90 after missing two months' time. “I held up to it, but toward the 89th minute, I started feeling it a little bit. I was feeling a little tired. I kept looking at the clock, but I knew it was five minutes that I had to give to the team.”
Danso was not only welcomed back with open arms from the fans but the team as well. The Timbers have allowed a league-leading seven goals in the final 15 minutes of games. Against Columbus, Danso intercepted five passes, won four tackles and stopped a cross.
“We wish we could have made it three points,” Danso said. “There are a lot of negatives and a lot of positives, so we’ll take the positives from it and move forward.”
The Timbers, who saw their goalless streak stretched to three games with the result, will also benefit from Danso’s aerial prowess on set pieces. He scored three goals last year pushing up from his center back position. And Danso will have an extended break to build up his fitness with the Timbers off until next week, when they will play at the Houston Dynamo on May 15.
Dike sent to LA Blues
Forward Bright Dike has been sent to USL Pro Division side LA Blues on loan, the team announced Tuesday.
The third-year forward, drafted in the first round out of Notre Dame in 2010 by Columbus, has not seen any action this season and has been left off the 18-man roster the past two games. Dike has scored two goals in three reserve game starts this year.
He appeared in 11 games last season and scored one goal after missing most of the year.
“Coming off his Achilles injury last season, it is important that Bright get into as many games as possible on a regular basis, and the loan to the Blues will give him that opportunity at a good level,” Timbers head coach John Spencer said.
The Timbers have the right to recall Dike at any time.
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.