Gaston "La Gata" Fernandez is: The Mover

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Spo

Fans got their first good look at Gaston Fernandez this past weekend along with some insight on what type of player he is.

By now you probably have at least a cursory familiarity with Gaston Fernandez, Portland’s recently signed, 30-year-old Argentine striker: you know he’ll likely be a favorite among female supporters for his Prince Charming-esque good looks; his nickname is "La Gata", or "the cat"; and he’s got a decent track record for scoring goals in Argentina and Mexico.

What you may not be as familiar with however, is exactly what his style of play is like. Is he a rough-and-tumble Chara type? Silky smooth like Nagbe? Cheeky like Alhassan? Or more of a speedy, opportunistic player like Urruti? We’ll all undoubtedly get more familiar with Fernandez as the months roll on, but if you need a quick crash course in the basics of how Fernandez plays, just witness his movement and mobility in this 4-minute stretch from Sunday’s match against San Jose.


↑ Fernandez was in the "Valeri role" on Sunday, but he let others do the creating early on as he made a darting run into the penalty area.


↑ Moments later Fernandez was finding space in the center of the pitch...


↑ ...then getting the ball off Jewsbury on the right touchline.


↑ Seconds later he was inside the box hoping for a cross.


↑ Fernandez also showed he can find the gaps between the opposition's defense and midfield...


↑ ...and take players on 1v1 in the flanks.


↑ He can help Urruti stretch the defense while looking for a ball over the top...


↑ ...and work combinations on the touchline while overloading one side to create a numbers advantage.

Obviously none of the Timbers players can be wholly summed up with simple characterizations like "The Mover," but Fernandez does get around the pitch quite a bit. In the weeks to come, keep an eye on the off-the-ball movement from Fernandez, and the subsequent problems it causes for defenses along with freed-up space for himself and his teammates.

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