With Diego Valeri out for the start of the season, there were few things more important for the Portland Timbers to accomplish in this offseason than retaining the services of their second No. 10, Gaston Fernandez. Now, according to Jamie Goldberg of the Oregonian, "La Gata" has re-signed with the team.
In just over 1500 minutes in 2014, Fernandez gave the Timbers seven goals, the fourth highest total on the team, and two assists in league play. He played in all but two of the Timbers' MLS matches, although he only started 17 of them. In US Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League play he scored a combined five goals and two assists.
Whether deployed as a forward, a playmaker, or a winger, Fernandez brings a nose for goal and the ability to make things happen, qualities that the Timbers will need in the absence of Valeri.
With Fernanadez coming back, and the team's biggest worry/need addressed, the Timbers are starting to look like a fully formed club ahead of the 2015 season.
With the team as it is constructed now, it is very likely that the starting lineup for March's season opener is already on the roster.