Brian Fernandez became the first player in MLS history to score in his first five league appearances, finding the net just before halftime to lift the Portland Timbers to a 1-0 victory over visiting FC Dallas on Sunday night at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon.
Fernandez has six goals across his five league appearances since he was signed from Liga MX's Necaxa at the end of MLS's primary transfer window in May. He's also scored three goals in two U.S. Open Cup games to help the Timbers reach the quarterfinals.
Steve Clark made two saves to record his second consecutive shutout. Portland (6-8-2, 20 points) won its second consecutive home match after opening its renovated and expanded stadium with a loss to LAFC on June 1. The Timbers also moved off the bottom of the Western Conference standings into ninth, with 14 of their final 18 games at home.
Dallas (7-7-5, 26 points) lost for the first time in five matches and was held scoreless for the first time in seven matches while remaining in fourth place in the West.
Portland carried the majority of play during the first half but had few clear chances until Fernandez gave his team the lead in the 42nd minute.
During a counterattack, Sebastian Blanco sent in an early diagonal ball that glided just beyond the runs of two other Timbers attackers and into Fernandez's path. Fernandez hit a left-footed strike first time that might have deflected off defender Matt Hedges before beating goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez.
Dallas grew into the match after halftime. Paxton Pomykal missed narrowly wide in the 54th minute after reaching Michael Barrios' cross from the right. And a minute later, Clark had to slide to intercept Pomykal's pass just before it could find Dominique Badji in alone on goal.
Later, Portland's Diego Valeri appeared to have carved out a clear look at an insurance goal, only for his shot to be redirected wide by Hedges at the last moment.
Dallas had one last flurry in second-half stoppage time, but Bryan Acosta's shot was deflected over for a corner.