VANCOUVER, B.C. – Sebastián Fernández wasn't the biggest name the Vancouver Whitecaps acquired this offseason, but even casual fans of the team know about him now after his screeching goal on opening day.
Brought in on loan from Uruguayan side Boston River with an option to buy, the right winger scored perhaps the best of Vancouver's goals in a 4-1 win last Saturday over the New York Red Bulls at BC Place, pelting a shot into the top right corner of Luis Robles' goal to bring the score to 2-0, picking up man of the match honors in the process.
It’s also up for MLS Goal of the Week, alongside Pedro Morales' goal from the same game. And now the technically gifted 24-year-old is hoping to take the momentum from his first start to this weekend's match against Chivas USA in Los Angeles.
“I was happy that it was a great goal, but most important is that the team won,” Fernández told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday, via translation from Whitecaps strength and conditioning coach Jon Poli. “It really doesn't mean anything if we don't win this weekend as well. I'm happy with the goal, of course, but most important is the team.”
The road is a constant challenge for many teams in MLS, and it's no different for the Whitecaps, who were 4-9-4 in 2013 away from BC Place, but Fernández is relishing the opportunity to get off to a good start at StubHub Center on Sunday (7 pm ET; CTV2 BC).
“I'm used to it,” Fernández said of road trips. “The last year-and-a-half, I've played in Peru, and there's a lot of travel involved there as well, so I'm quite used to that.”
Still, it's possible Fernández could be restricted in his minutes due to injury this weekend. His left foot was stomped during the Rose City Invitational preseason tournament in Portland, and the 'Caps have been managing the ailment – Fernández was restricted to solo fitness work during Thursday's session.
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“I hope so,” Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson told reporters when asked about Fernández’s availability for the weekend. “He told me he was available today, so yes, I hope so. He didn't train today because he's got a problem with his toe, but he should be fine.”
On the injury front, Johnny Leverón is a more serious doubt for the weekend. The center back, who made the substitutes' bench on opening day, suffered a head knock during Monday's practice and is undergoing the MLS concussion protocol.
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.