Who is Brian Fernández and would he fit the Portland Timbers system?

Brian Fernández
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Editorial (April 18, 2019) — Over the past week, the Portland Timbers have been linked to Brian Fernández, first starting with a report from The Record.

Currently with Necaxa in Liga MX, Fernández plays mostly on the right wing, though has spent time on the left and as a number nine. He has scored 11 times in 13 appearances during this Liga MX season. However, for a rumored transfer fee of somewhere around $12 million, will he help be the fix to this Portland side?

What Portland is Missing?

The Portland Timbers are at the bottom of the league and are hurting for goals. They have only scored six goals this season, with four of those coming in the first two games of the season. This means since then, they have averaged a goal every two games.

Something is missing.

Diego Valeri has looked to slow down this season and doesn’t have the ability to take over games like he did. Sebastian Blanco is being asked to play more defensively and isn’t as productive going forward. The Timbers’ reliance on Blanco and Valeri has become a huge weakness this season and they need a different attacking outlet, one that Jeremy Ebobisse and Andy Polo can’t provide.

What Fernández Could Bring

Fernández just might be the player that opens up this offense. He won’t be the player to help hold up the ball and unlock Valeri, but he is the sort of winger that loves to take players on. He is a very different player than Polo in this sense. Though he did score a goal last year, Polo is not a goal scoring threat.

Fernández, on the other hand, is.

His pace and ability to take players on can be a huge advantage going forward for obvious reason. However, it can also be a way to keep teams honest and make them not commit so many numbers forward. Since this Portland side has been struggling so much defensively, another outlet to relieve pressure would be welcomed.

Worries about the Signing

At first glance, Brian Fernández looks like an incredible player that Portland really needs. But there are a few things Portland fans need to take into consideration before throwing their support behind the 24-year-old.

First of all, Fernández’ current scoring rate may look impressive. However, we also have to realize it’s not something he was able to do on a regular basis before moving to Necaxa. Though he is in a hot streak now, it is hard to tell if he will be able to keep that going in MLS.

Second, this is not a signing that will fix all of Portland’s problems. The Timbers are leaking goals left and right. They need a much strong defense, specifically a center back who can help solidify the backline. While defensively Portland has looked better in a back five, I’m not sure how well Fernández would be able to fit into that system.

The Argentine needs to be in a position where he can take defenders on and take multiple shots a game. Bringing him centrally or playing him at wing-back would take away what makes him good: being able to run at players without passing in tight areas and not having to defend as much.

Don’t get me wrong, Fernández could be a wonderful signing for the Timbers. But they can’t expect him to be the fix for all the problems they are facing this season.


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