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Timbers wrap up 12-game trip at East-leading Philly

(Image:Twitter/@TimbersFC)

Brian Fernandez didn’t take long to make an impression on the Portland Timbers.

Making his Portland debut in the team’s last game, May 15 at Houston, he came on as a second-half substitute and scored 12 minutes later to give the Timbers a 1-1 draw with the Dynamo.

“I’m very happy. It was a great effort for me to be here,” Fernandez told reporters through an interpreter. “And the least I can do to repay them is doing my very best and scoring goals like I did today.”

Fernandez, 24, who just arrived from Mexican club Necaxa for a reported seven-figure transfer fee, could get his first MLS start when theTimbers play Saturday against the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Union in Chester, Pa.

“He was a threat as soon as he jumped onto the field,” Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said of Fernandez’s debut. “He told me, ‘I’m going to score,’ (and) he did.”

The Timbers (3-6-2, 11 points) will be wrapping up their season-opening 12-game trip while their home stadium, Providence Park, is undergoing renovations.

Fernandez has 43 goals in 108 professional games, including 18 in 32 for Necaxa.

“I watch a lot of the Mexican league,” Union coach Jim Curtin told Philly.com. “I’ve seen him; I’m familiar with him. He’s a handful — there’s no secret to that. The price tag that he comes over here with, the investment from Portland, is a real one. He’s a top player.”

The Union (7-3-3, 24 points) is coming off a scoreless draw at home against Seattle last Saturday, a game in which the Sounders deployed five defenders.

“We are playing very good soccer this year. It’s also a little bit of respect for us,” Union midfielder Haris Medunjanin said in the locker room after the game. “They’re not going to open themselves up over here. … They were just hoping for some corners and some free kicks, and even a mistake of ours. But I think we didn’t give them any chance.”

–Field Level Media

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