Portland Timbers fans finally got a glimpse of their vaunted new Designated-Player signing Brian Fernandez on Wednesday night, and the Argentine did not disappoint.
Fernandez came off the bench to score his first MLS goal just 12 minutes into his debut, a 25-minute cameo appearance against the Houston Dynamo, helping the Timbers bank a 1-1 road draw at BBVA Compass Stadium. And he called his shot.
“He was a threat as soon as he jumped onto the field,” said Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese postgame. “He told me, ‘I’m going to score,’ [and] he did. It was great, but it wasn’t only him. I think the entire group fought to make sure he came into a game that we were playing well.”
Set up by Sebastian Blanco, Fernandez’s equalizer marks the quickest goal ever scored by a Timbers player in his first MLS appearance.
“I’m very happy. It took a great effort for me to be here,” Fernandez said. “And the least I can do to repay them is doing my very best, and scoring goals like I did today.”
The goal was one of several promising data points for the club-record signing, who arrived from Liga MX side Necaxa earlier this month. According to Opta, Fernandez also connected all seven of his pass attempts, including one key pass.
“I am happy for him because he found the back of the net so quickly, that is very important for forwards,” said teammate Diego Valeri. “I am just happy for Brian because he was very excited to join us and to play his first game. He did that, he played well, and the team was there to support him. He looked comfortable and you could see it on the field.”