Impact debut leaves Danso with mixed emotions

The 31-year-old defender played his former side Portland Timbers in his first game with Montreal, and a late-game error left his new patrons empty-handed.
MONTREAL — Sunday’s matchup between the Montreal Impact and Portland Timbers at Stade Saputo had a very distinctive feel for defender Mamadou Danso. Not only was the game Danso’s first in an Impact uniform, it was also one that pitted him against his former club — the Timbers traded Danso to the Impact last month for a second-round pick in the 2015 MLS Superdraft.

And Portland isn’t just any former team for Danso: It’s where he was first given the chance to play professional soccer back in 2009, while the club was still in the USL.
“The game was a special occasion. Some of the guys I’ve known for almost five years or four,” Danso told Goal after the game. “I built a good relationship with the entire franchise of Portland and it’s definitely hard to play against them, especially in my first game back. But it was all business.”

On the business side of things, the game didn’t go the way Danso would have liked, as the Timbers managed to win 3-2 and it was Danso’s bad clearance in the 82nd minute that helped the Timbers to the decisive third goal. 

“It feels like everything’s been kind of thrown out of the window,” Danso said of the loss. “But you have to try and take a positive out of the game and move on.” 

Assistant coach Mauro Biello explained in the postgame news conference that the Ghanaian still needs to shake off some rustiness, since the last time he played before Sunday’s encounter was back May 28, when he was still with Portland. 

“He hasn’t played much and we had to rest some players,” Biello said. “Tonight was a difficult game, but he had the right intentions against his old team. Now it’s just about finding more rhythm and he’ll be fine.”

Danso replaced regular starting central defender Matteo Ferrari, who was kept out of the lineup due to a calf problem.