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Brian Fernandez scores first MLS goal as Portland Timbers draw Houston Dynamo

The Argentine Designated Player had a dream debut with his second-half equalizer

HOUSTON – In a midweek matchup, the Houston Dynamo tied the Portland Timbers 1-1, with the visitors only the second team to claim a point at BBVA Stadium this season. 

The Dynamo (6-2-2) were aiming to bounce back after last week’s 1-0 loss against the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field and they were able to get a tie against the Timbers (3-6-2) – they are still undefeated at home with seven wins and two ties.

Yet, the game had a taste of defeat for the hosts because Houston, which had the game dominated with more chances of scoring, made one mistake and their opponent capitalized handing the local squad a painful tie.

“It seemed like we were close to winning three points – we dominated a good part of the game and had good opportunities to score, but we just couldn’t get the last touch,” Dynamo forward Mauro Manotas said.

Manotas put the Dynamo in front late in the first half with his sixth goal of the season. A Memo Rodriguez corner kick went to midfielder Alberth Elis, who was able to play a soft header to Manotas, who headed in off the post from inside the six-yard box. 

The Colombian, who scored his seventh goal in seven regular season games against Portland, has 41 career goals for Houston, tied with Brad Davis for third on the club’s regular-season goal list.

May 15, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Portland Timbers forward Brian Fernandez (7) warms up before a game against the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

“Well, I have mixed emotions. I am glad that I scored, but it wasn’t enough to lead the team to victory and we just left two points on the table,” Manotas said.

On his debut, Timbers Designated Player Brian Fernandez leveled for the visitors in the 77th minute with his first MLS goal. The Argentine received a long ball from Sebastian Blanco, took a touch to bounce the ball up and tapped past an onrushing Joe Willis. 

“We scored one goal and with one goal it’s good enough to win, but we made one mistake in the back and with that long ball that we were covering very well and we got punished,” Dynamo coach Wilmer Cabrera said. “So, now we have to rest to recover for Saturday.”

Dynamo midfielder Romell Quioto entered the pitch and headed straight to the Timbers danger zone. He was slide tackled in the penalty area, but referee Ted Unkel did not point to the penalty spot.

The Dynamo, which had more of the possession and shots, could have secured all three points, but were unable to finish the last step of putting a second goal in the back of the net. 

“We need to continue practicing so the chances are there, the problem is that sometimes we kick it a little bit out of the target or the goalkeeper saves it,” Cabrera said. “So, it’s just moments. We cannot lose control and we cannot get desperate with that situation, but we need to be sure that we don’t make mistakes.”

Houston remain home to meet D.C. United Saturday evening, while the Timbers face the Philadelphia Union May 25 in the finale of their 12-match road trip before finally opening the renovated Providence Park on June 1 against LAFC.

“We know that we are creating a lot of opportunities and we just need to get that final touch to finish the play, just a little more quality at the end and a little more patience to either score the goal or lay the ball off to a teammate in a better position,” Manotas said. “I’m sure we will work on that this week and talk with the coaching staff about that. We will work to improve on that throughout the year and be that dynamic team everyone expects.”

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