There’s a myriad of ways to describe what makes Brian Fernandez so good, how he impacts the game and how he’s been able to score at an MLS record rate.
New York City FC coach Dome Torrent chose to sum up the Portland Timbers forward in one word.
“He’s a killer,” Torrent said after training Friday in a conference call with reporters. “That means he has two chances and he scores two goals.”
Fernandez joined the Timbers on May 6 after his transfer from Necaxa in Liga MX was finalized. His first appearance came nine days later, a 25-minute substitute shift at Houston where he scored the tying goal.
He hasn’t stopped scoring since. He has six goals in four league games and tacked on three more in a pair of U.S. Open Cup wins. Fernandez netted the lone goal in a 1-0 win over FC Dallas in Week 17 and set an MLS record for scoring in his first five league games.
“He’s a good player and it’s good news for MLS. When that happens, it’s better for MLS,” Torrent said. “He’s 24 years old. It’s unbelievable. He was able to score nine goals in seven games. That means he’s a key man right now for Portland and they play maybe not much better, but they have more possibilities to win more games with this player.”
Torrent said the Argentine has had a similar immediate impact to that of the Brazilian Heber at NYCFC, who has six goals and three assists in 10 appearances since his arrival from HNK Rijeka on March 21.
“I like when I watch many games with him. I repeat, it’s not about just that he’s a killer, he’s a scorer. He helps a lot,” Torrent said. “He’s involved, he’s committed to this team right now and it’s good news for Portland. It’s similar with him and what happens with Heber. He came here to play with us and the team improved a lot. It’s the same with what happened right now in Portland with Brian Fernandez.”
As he prepares a plan to deal with Fernandez when the Timbers come to Yankee Stadium on Sunday (6:30 PM ET | FS1; MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada), Torrent warns Portland isn’t a one-man show.
“He’s a good, good player, but for me they have two key playmakers, two key men in [Sebastian] Blanco and [Diego] Valeri,” Torrent said. “When they play with Blanco, Valeri and especially with Brian Fernandez, they have more possibilities, more chances to play in the playoffs again.”