Newcomer Fernandez lifts Timbers to draw with Dynamo
New Portland Timbers signee Brian Fernandez scored after making his MLS debut as a second-half substitute, lifting his new team to a 1-1 draw against the host Houston Dynamo on Wednesday night.
Fernandez was officially acquired from Mexican side Necaxa just ahead of the MLS primary transfer window deadline last week and signed to a Designated Player contract. However, the Argentinian striker’s paperwork wasn’t completed in time to play for Portland (3-6-2, 11 points) last Friday in a loss against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Fernandez finished off a 77th-minute chance created by Sebastian Blanco, who was at the root of the Timbers’ best opportunities in their 11th of 12 straight road matches to start the season. Portland will open its expanded and renovated Providence Park on June 1.
Mauro Manotas put Houston (6-2-2, 20 points) ahead in the 40th minute with his sixth goal of the season. However, the Dynamo dropped points for just the second time in seven home matches in 2019, falling to 5-0-2 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The Dynamo’s best chance at a winner came shortly after Fernandez’s equalizer, when Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella intercepted Romell Quioto’s cross intended for Alberth Elis in front of goal.
Fernandez entered the match in the 65th minute and leveled it 12 minutes later after Blanco spotted him with a long diagonal ball that officials determined beat Houston’s offside trap.
With plenty of time and only goalkeeper Joe Willis to beat, Fernandez settled and then drove a low finish inside the left post.
It was deserved on the evening after Portland had the better chances of the opening half-hour.
Blanco’s effort from the edge of the penalty area struck the crossbar in the 15th minute with Willis beaten. Then 12 minutes later, Blanco’s diagonal cross found Jeremy Ebobisse in on goal, but Ebobisse put his effort from close range just wide.
Houston punished Portland’s early wastefulness just before halftime. Elis was first to head Memo Rodriguez’s corner kick, though it was off target. Manotas, however, reacted well to redirect it off the inside of the far post and beyond Attinella.
–Field Level Media