Facing a two-goal deficit heading into the second leg of their Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal series, New York Red Bulls coach Chris Armas opted for a surprise starter: 20-year-old Homegrown star Omir Fernandez.
After starting and going the full 90 in Week 1 of the MLS regular season, his first since signing with the senior team in late January, Fernandez repaid the faith shown by Armas with RBNY's opening goal in Torreon, Mexico. His tap-in at the near post in the 4th minute was his first goal for the senior side.
Although the visiting Red Bulls would momentarily level the aggregate scoreline 2-2 with a second goal just minutes later, Santos Laguna would score four late unanswered goals to win the second leg 4-2 and comfortably take the series 6-2 on aggregate.
The Bronx-born Fernandez, who came up through the Red Bulls academy and was the 21st Homegrown signing in the club’s history, spent the last two years at Wake Forest where he led the Demon Deacons in goals (12) and assists (6) this fall. He also earned his first call-up to the U.S. Under-20 national team in the winter.
Fernandez made his Red Bulls debut off the bench against Atletico Pantoja in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 and also started New York’s MLS opening 1-1 draw against Columbus Crew SC, playing the entire 90 minutes.