Fernandez on the spot again, as Timbers salvage tie
The Portland Timbers continue to find ways not to lose, and striker Gaston Fernandez continues to produce late, dramatic goals.
After going down a goal on a PK in the 19th minute against the Chicago Fire on Sunday, the Timbers struggled to find the equalizer. Portland created numerous opportunities. But it wasn't until the 79th minute that Fernandez collected a rebound and put his shot away to give the Timbers a 1-1 draw at Providence Park.
It shows a lot about our mentality and the winning mentality that we have, Timbers defender Jack Jewsbury said, of rallying for the tie. We continued to show that were going to fight back.
Fernandez is the only player to score a goal this season for the Timbers (0-0-2). He also delivered the equalizer last week in stoppage time against the Philadelphia Union.
Goal scorers, the ball seems to find them, Timbers coach Caleb Porter said. Fernandez has been there the last two games.
The Timbers fell behind Sunday after they were called for a foul in the box.
The Fire (0-1-1) had a free kick at midfield and played a long ball into the 18-yard box. Timbers defender Norberto Paparatto and Fire striker Quincy Amarikwa raced after the ball. As they neared the end line, Paparatto and Amarikwa got tangled and Amarikwa went down.
To the loud protests of the announced sellout crowd of 20,678, referee Marcos de Oliveira whistled a foul and gave Chicago a penalty kick.
It was a long ball, and they were bodying each other and got tangled up, Jewsbury said.
Chicago midfielder Jeff Larentowicz sent the PK to the right, and Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts dove left. Chicago 1, Portland 0.
Timbers striker Darlington Nagbe shot from the middle of the box in the 79th minute. Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson spilled the ball back into the box, where Fernandez was able to tap a shot from point-blank range into an empty net.
I had the opportunity to be there when the ball came off Darlington, Fernandez said, through a translator. Its always good to be able to score. It feels good.
Portland had .643 percent of the possession and outshot the Fire 21-14. Portland had seven shots on frame, while the Fire put four shots on goal.
The Timbers nearly evened the score just before halftime. During stoppage time, Portland had the ball in the final third. After a throw-in, the ball bounced around the 18-yard box several times until it came to midfielder Will Johnson on the left side, 10 yards from goal. Johnson had a clean look and fired a hard, low shot. Sean Johnson made a diving save.
In the 56th minute, Portland just missed. Fernandez got on the end of midfielder Diego Valeri's pass and sent a very clever pass of his own toward the goal. Striker Maximiliano Urruti lunged for the ball, feet first. Urruti had a clear look at the goal, but just could not get his foot on it. The ball went out of bounds, and the chance was lost.
The Timbers then missed a wide-open shot at goal in the 72nd minute. Goalie Johnson came off his line and overplayed a ball. He tripped around the 18-yard box. Will Johnson got to the ball and sent a shot toward the empty net. The ball went all of eight inches wide of the left post.
In the 86th minute, Amarikwa was sent off the pitch for his second yellow card of the afternoon, giving the Timbers a man advantage. Portland threw numbers up the pitch, trying to capitalize and steal three points from the match, but the Fire held it ground.