Brian Fernandez just keeps scoring goals.
The Argentine striker scored twice to lead the Portland Timbers to a 2-1 win over rival Seattle Sounders in the fourth round of the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington Wednesday. Fernandez has now scored an incredible six goals in just four appearances across all competitions since joining the Timbers from Liga MX side Necaxa in May.
The Timbers will now advance to the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16. The club will learn its Round of 16 opponent following a draw Thursday. The Round of 16 will take place next week. Portland made a run to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup last season before falling to LAFC.
MLS teams often run out secondary lineups for early U.S. Open Cup games as they attempt to navigate the tournament without sacrificing performances in MLS play. But with MLS taking a two-week break around the international window, Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese decided to start close to his top available lineup Wednesday night. Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer, who was missing a significant number of players to international duty, started a secondary lineup in the game.
Give the disparity between the two lineups, it wasn’t surprising to see Portland start the game off on the front foot.
Fernandez received the ball on the right flank in the sixth minute before cutting inside and firing a left-footed shot from the top of the box into the corner of the net to give the Timbers an early 1-0 lead.
But the Timbers took their foot off the gas after the goal and the momentum quickly turned in Seattle’s favor. Portland goalkeeper Steve Clark came out and made a big save to deny Sounders defender Nouhou Tolo in the 25th minute. On the next play, he made a diving stop to keep a shot from Seattle midfielder Victor Rodriguez out of the net. Clark then made a beautiful diving save to block a shot from Henry Wingo in the 88th minute.
The Sounders finally broke through in the 44th minute after Renzo Zambrano committed a bad foul at the top of the box to gift Seattle a dangerous free kick. Rodriguez’s free kick deflected off Portland’s wall and landed in the net, tying the game up at 1-1.
Portland quickly responded in the second half. After uncharacteristically missing an open opportunity in the 47th minute, Fernandez made sure to bury his shot three minutes later. Diego Valeri sent a long pass to Jeremy Ebobisse on the left flank. Ebobisse crossed the ball into the box for Fernandez, who scored to give Portland the 2-1 lead.
Seattle had a chance to equalize in the 79th minute after Larrys Mabiala committed a handball in the box, but Rodriguez sent his penalty kick off the crossbar as the Timbers eked out the 2-1 win.
— Jamie Goldberg | firstname.lastname@example.org
503-853-3761 | @ jamiebgoldberg
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Source:: Daily times