PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today announced the signing of Argentine striker Gastón Fernández. He will be added to the roster pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and a P-1 visa. Per MLS and club policy, terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Fernández, 30, joins the Timbers after playing his career in the first divisions of Argentina and Mexico. Starting his professional career in 2002, Fernández has made 224 appearances (176 starts), scoring 48 goals in Argentina’s Primera División with clubs Club Atlético River Plate (2002-03; 04-06), Racing Club (2003-04), Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro (2007-08) and Estudiantes de la Plata (2008-09; 2010-13). He won season titles with three different clubs and played in four Copa Libertadores tournaments, winning the competition in 2009 with Estudiantes. Fernández tallied 19 goals over 51 league matches over parts of four seasons in Mexico’s Liga MX with clubs Monterrey (2006-07) and Tigres U.A.N.L. (2008, 2009).
- WATCH: Gastón Fernández Highlights
“Gastón is a talented and motivated player, and is a great addition to our club,” said Gavin Wilkinson, Timbers general manager. “We add another quality, proven goal-scorer to our attacking group. He has experienced success in the top tiers of Argentina and Mexico, and we look forward to him making a big impact in Portland and MLS.”
A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Fernández has played each of the last five seasons with Estudiantes. He assembled back-to-back, 10-goal campaigns during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons and was one of the league’s top goal-scorers in each of the Apertura tournaments. Fernández helped lead Estudiantes to the 2010 Apertura tournament title, three straight Copa Libertadores appearances from 2009-11 and Copa Sudamericana appearances in 2010 and 2011.
"We are extremely pleased to add a player the caliber of Gastón Fernández to our club,” said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers. “It was our priority to find a striker that was the right fit for our group on many different levels. We had a specific type of player in mind, someone that could create goals but also have chemistry with our other quality attacking pieces. We feel Gastón will not only bring that final third production but he will be a compliment to the team and our collective play.”
Fernández was a key contributor to Estudiantes’ run to the Copa Libertadores championship in 2009, scoring three goals during the competition. He recorded the game-winning goal in a win over Libertad of Paraguay in the Round of 16 and then delivered the equalizer in a 2-1 win over Brazil’s Cruzeiro in Leg 2 of the final.
During his two seasons with San Lorenzo, Fernández, nicknamed “La Gata (the cat),” finished the 2007 Clausura season as the club’s Golden Boot winner with nine goals in 17 games as the club went on to capture the season title.
Fernández compiled a total of 11 goals over 23 league appearances over two stints in Mexico with Tigres, and helped the club win the 2009 SuperLiga title. He also had a successful loan spell with Monterrey over parts of two seasons from 2006-07, making 28 total league appearances and scoring eight goals.
He made his professional debut with accomplished Argentine side River Plate in 2002 after coming up through the club’s academy.
Pronunciation: gast-OWN fer-NAN-dez
Born: Oct. 12, 1983 in Avellaneda, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Last Club: Estudiantes de la Plata (Argentina)
Acquired: Signed on Jan. 15, 2014.