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‘Junkyard Dog’ Brian Fernandez makes instant impact for Portland Timbers

Fernandez’ teammates described him as a ‘junkyard dog’ and a ‘maniac’ because of his relentless effort attacking the goal

May 25, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Portland Timbers forward Brian Fernandez (7) celebrates his goal with teammates against the Philadelphia Union during the first half at Talen Energy Stadium. (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

CHESTER, Pa. — In just two games, Brian Fernandez has shown why he was worth the record price tag handed out by the Portland Timbers. 

On Saturday against the Philadelphia Union, Fernandez bagged a brace in his first Major League Soccer start. Fernandez’s finishing skill has not only been on display in 115 minutes of game action, he’s impressed his teammates in training. 

“He’s relentless,” Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark said. “He’s a junkyard dog. I’m serious about that. This guy wants to score in training, He’s relentless.” 

Clark continued to go on about Fernandez’s scoring ability, and the one mode he has in front of the goal. 

“He’s a maniac,” Clark said. “He’s scoring all the time. He just doesn’t stop. He has one speed: Score. I’ve been lucky enough to play with him (in training). He’s very good. He’s a worker. We’re very blessed to have him.” 

Fernandez, who scored his first goal May 15 as a substitute, delivered a tribute to one of his teammates from Club Necaxa in Liga MX after he struck the back of the net for the first time in the 31st minute. 

“It was for Victor Davila, a player from Pachuca who used to play for Necaxa,” Fernandez said through a translator, “We have a very, very special relationship. The two of us, our families, my wife, his wife, my little son, we are quite close. So this was very important.” 

“He’s on vacation right now. I believe he’s injured,” Fernandez said of his friend. “But I wanted to show him how important he is to me. We have a really nice friendship. Before the game, I saw the shin guard and said to myself, ‘Well, should I use it? You know what, I’m going to use it and I’m going to score with it tonight.’ And thankfully I was able to score, and it’s very special to me because I’m honoring my friendship with him.” 

Fernandez was happy to score twice in a five-minute span, but was also excited to earn a result on the road before the Timbers return to renovated Providence Park for their home opener Saturday. 

“Very, very important,” Fernandez said. ” Actually, I’m very happy because I was able to score. But more important than that is, as a team we play very compact, we had a very good game and also other players scored. I’m very happy to score, but I feel happier because the team won and we did a great job as a team.” 

Fernandez’s assimilation into the squad has been easy thanks to the group of players surrounding him in the locker room, including Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco. 

“I can’t complain,” Fernandez said. “Other players have given me a nice, warm welcome. I haven’t heard any negative comments, fortunately. The guys have been very nice. They have given me advice. They have guided me my first couple weeks in Portland. I think we’re doing well as a team and things will continue to develop very positively for us.” 

Fernandez has an opportunity to score for a third consecutive week when the Timbers finally open Providence Park on Saturday against Supporters’ Shield leader Los Angeles FC.

“I’ve been to the stadium quite a few times and I can already feel the energy and the vibe from the people that are going to be there June 1st,” Fernandez said. “It’s definitely important for us to go back and play in front of our fans, but more than anything, to be able to perform well and do things the right way.” 

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