Fernandez scores twice as Timbers outlast rival Sounders 2-1

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Fernandez scores twice as Timbers outlast rival Sounders 2-1
Portland Timbers forward Brian Fernandez, front, celebrates with Jeremy Ebobisse, top, after Fernandez scored a goal against the Seattle Sounders during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Sunday, July 21, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

SEATTLE (AP) — Brian Fernandez scored his second goal of the match in the 51st minute, moments after Seattle had pulled even, and the Portland Timbers beat the Sounders 2-1 on Sunday night in the first clash of the season between the Cascadia rivals.

Fernandez continued to make his mark on MLS with his seventh and eighth goals of the season in just his second full month with the Timbers after being signed as a designated player form Necaxa in Mexico.

Fernandez gave Portland the early lead when he collected the ricochet from Jorge Moreira’s shot off the crossbar and scored in the 20th minute, finishing into an open net. After Seattle’s Raul Ruidiaz scored in the 50th minute to pull the Sounders even, Fernandez answered seconds later when his one-time shot deflected off Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei and trickled into the goal.

It was the first matchup between the rivals since last year’s Western Conference semifinals, when Portland advanced from the two-leg series after an exhausting, exhilarating second-leg that eventually went to penalties before the Timbers advanced. Portland reached the MLS Cup final before losing to Atlanta.

While the stakes weren’t the same, the intensity between the two long rivals was evident and erupted after the final whistle with several scrums, plenty of pushing and shoving and players needing to be separated. Seattle’s Roman Torres and Portland goalkeeper Steve Clark appeared to be at the center of the activity, but plenty of others were involved.

The victory kept alive Portland’s chances of winning the Cascadia Cup competition between the Timbers, Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps. It was also a crucial three road points for the Timbers, who have just two MLS matches away from Providence Park the rest of the regular season.

It’s also the second straight year Portland won the only regular-season matchup in Seattle.

While Ruidiaz did collect Seattle’s only goal and his eighth of the season, he’ll also lament a pair of missed chances in the first 45 minutes and another opportunity in the 79th minute. Ruidiaz nearly scored in the opening 20 seconds after a Portland turnover, but the more troubling miss came in the 22nd minute when Jordan Morris’ cross found Ruidiaz’s foot in front of an open net, but the shot went over the crossbar.