Brian Fernandez got the better of his new rivals again, scoring his seventh and eighth MLS goals on Sunday evening to lift the Portland Timbers to a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field.
Fernandez now has 11 goals in all competitions since signing with the Timbers at the close of the MLS Primary Transfer Window in May. Four of those have now come against Seattle in Washington state, after he also hit a brace in Portland's 2-1 win in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup back in June.
On Sunday night, his second came only 75 seconds after Raul Ruidiaz had leveled on the other end, putting Portland ahead for good after racing onto Sebastian Blanco's service from the wing. They've now won their last two regular season meetings at CenturyLink Field against their Cascadia Cup rivals, after going 0-7-3 in their first 10 league trips.
Ruidiaz, who also has eight goals this season, could've had his own brace, but missed a glorious chance moments after Fernandez's opener.
- 20' - POR - Brian Fernandez | WATCH
- 50' - SEA - Raul Ruidiaz | WATCH
- 51' - POR - Brian Fernandez | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Portland are still just ninth in the Western Conference after the victory, which followed a pair of disappointing home draws. But they're only two points beneath the playoff line with at least one game in hand on all seven teams above the line. And they'll play 12 of their remaining 14 league games at their newly renovated Providence Park.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Ruidiaz overcame an excessive degree of difficulty to score the the Week 19 AT&T MLS Goal of the Week in a win over Atlanta United last weekend. It's almost hard to fathom that he's the same person who missed an absolutely glorious chance to equalize in the 22nd minute from about 2 yards out.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Brian Fernandez. Portland goalkeeper Steve Clark also had a very strong game with seven saves, but in a ferocious and sometimes uneven match, it was Fernandez's two quick outbursts of class that made the difference. Both his finishes looked simple because he made them so, guiding each one across the goal line with his first touch.