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 Futty 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.”
The Gambian 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, Futty Danso intercepted five passes, won four tackles and stopped a cross.
“We wish we could have made it three points,” said the Gambia international. “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 Futty Danso’s aerial prowess on set pieces. He scored three goals last year pushing up from his center back position. And Futty will have an extended break to build up his fitness with the Timbers off until next week, when they will play at Macoumba Kandji’s Houston Dynamo on May 15.