As Sebastián Blanco hits the 500 career games mark, a look back at some of his best moments in Portland.
On March 1, 2006, an 18-year-old Sebastián Blanco subbed on for Atlético Lanús, in the 86th minute of a home match against San Lorenzo. 6,037 days later, in a start against Minnesota United FC on Sept. 10, Blanco notched professional appearance number 500. 156 of those games have been with the Portland Timbers, but his career spans successful stints in Argentina and Ukraine as well as three games in England.
Before Saturday night's 1-0 win, Blanco took the field with his two daughters; a few hours later, before leaving the locker room to return home, he received a commemorative jersey with "500" written on the back beneath his name and number. The Argentine has tallied seven goals and eight assists so far this season, adding to his 40 goals, 50 assists and countless other memorable moments since he first pulled on the Timbers' trademark green and gold.
Look back through those contributions and it's hard to forget the iconic goal he scored against Sporting Kansas City in the 2018 Audi MLS Cup Playoff Western Conference Finals, a right-footed screamer from outside the box that curved and dipped, leaving former Timber Diego Valeri in a "surrender cobra" pose on the field as Blanco himself ran around flicking his wrist. Blanco finished with 10 goals and 11 assists that season, his most productive in the Rose City.
More recently, Blanco etched his name in MLS history, scoring the fourth-fastest goal in league history at 13 seconds to give Portland a quick lead against the Loons. Flash back to the first round of the 2021 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs and it was Blanco's brace that helped the Timbers beat Minnesota United 3-1 in Portland to kick off another run to the MLS Cup final.
And who can forget Blanco's famous "Chucky" game in 2018, where his lone goal –– chipping Stefan Frei after making a late, line-breaking run –– in the 86th minute propelled the Timbers past Seattle Sounders FC as he pulled on a "Chucky" mask to celebrate –– that game alone helped etch his name into the rivalry's lore.
Adding to his Timbers legacy, Blanco has had to recover from several long-term injuries. During his time in Portland, he has torn his ACL, suffered a long-term hamstring injury and more. Yet, when healthy, he has continued to be a game changer in the attack and the team's reliable Designated Player.
With 90 combined goals and assists, Blanco has woven himself into the fabric of the Timbers since his arrival ahead of the 2017 season. A ferocious competitor, the Argentine is hoping to lead his team on another deep postseason run as he wraps up his sixth season in green and gold.
Here's to many more.