CHESTER, Pa. — Steve Clark has only been Brian Fernandez’s teammate for less than a month. But he’s seen more than enough in that time to use some colorful terms to describe the Portland Timbers’ new Designated Player.
“He’s relentless,” Clark said from the visitor’s locker room after Fernandez’s two goals lifted the Timbers to a 3-1 road win over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday. “He’s a junkyard dog. I’m serious about that.”
“He’s a maniac,” the Timbers goalkeeper continued. “He’s scoring all the time. He just doesn’t stop. He has one speed: score.”
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Fernandez put that on full display at Talen Energy Stadium in Week 13, opening the scoring in the 31st minute on a back-post header and adding his second five minutes later by helping to start a counterattack he then finished, with assists from Diego Chara and Diego Valeri.
“If we can create space and have possession, just enough for him to have a little bit of space, he’s going to score,” Clark said. “You saw what he can do out there today.”
Fernandez — who now has three MLS goals in 115 minutes since signing a big deal with Portland from Mexican club Nexaca — credited his new teammates for the quick adjustment, particularly fellow Argentines Valeri and Sebastian Blanco.
“It’s very important to have players like Valeri and Blanco,” Fernandez said through a translator. “They are very experienced and have played at several clubs that are very important. And for me, I consider myself a fast player so it’s easier for me to find the spaces knowing I have players like Valeri and Blanco backing me up.”
After the game, Philadelphia midfielder Alejandro Bedoya blamed himself for the second goal because he fell down right before the Timbers started their counter. But the Union captain also praised Portland’s attacking combination, thanks to the new dimension Fernandez brings.
“Fernandez scored a striker’s goal,” Bedoya said. “That’s a striker’s goal, playing off the back shoulder off a defender. They’re good.”