Brian Fernandez scores again as Timbers take apart Galaxy in U.S. Open Cup

Brian Fernandez, center, and the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/soccer/teams/portland-timbers/" data-ylk="slk:Timbers">Timbers</a> had themselves a night against the Galaxy in the U.S. Open Cup. (Associated Press)
Brian Fernandez, center, and the Timbers had themselves a night against the Galaxy in the U.S. Open Cup. (Associated Press)

PORTLAND, Ore. — Seems like the Portland Timbers have found something in Brian Fernandez.

They found their way to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, that’s for sure.

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Fernandez and the Timbers ran circles around the Galaxy in a 4-0 win at Providence Park. The stadium reopened on June 1 after renovations kept the team on the road the first 13 games of the season, including 12 MLS matches and one Cascadia Cup fixture.

“It felt very good to get the first win in the new stadium,” said coach Giovanni Savarese, via the Timbers. “It felt very good to (not) concede any goals.”

Meanwhile, Fernandez can’t stop scoring. That’s seven goals now in just five games across all competitions for the 24-year-old Argentine, who signed as a Designated Player from Necaxa of Liga MX in early May.

He’s been particularly effective in the U.S. Open Cup, with his brace propelling Portland past arch rival Seattle a week ago, and his influence again felt on Wednesday.

It must be said the Timbers’ first goal was good fortune, but it was also indicative of their activity and evasiveness in the offensive third. Sebastian Blanco won a free kick on the left side, and Tomas Conechny served it into the box where Fernandez met it toward the near post. His flick caromed into the net off Galaxy midfielder Perry Kitchen in the 28th minute.

Fernandez then scored himself a few minutes later, cleaning up a Jeremy Ebobisse miss after Blanco played his expert run through:

Blanco then got on the scoresheet himself with this belter in the 37th minute:

Jorge Moreira tagged on the fourth goal late in the second half.

The Galaxy were missing several regulars like Jonathan dos Santos and Uriel Antuna, who are with Mexico at the Gold Cup, and also Zlatan Ibrahimovic. They were especially poor without the ball, struggling to keep their shape and losing marks all over the field.

A win would’ve set up the possibility for an El Trafico quarterfinal, as LAFC takes on the San Jose Earthquakes Thursday in another round of 16 U.S. Open Cup matchup.

Instead the winner will get Fernandez and the Timbers, which can’t sit well with whatever defense they face next.

“I think that once we adapted and understood the few little things that we needed to do better, the team became more dangerous,” Savarese said. “And once you score a goal, then you play with a confidence, and I think it built up little by little.”

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