PORTLAND, Ore. Gaston Fernandez has a flair for the dramatic. Fernandez scored in the 85th minute to pull the Timbers into a 3-3 draw with the Columbus Crew on Saturday night.
It was the Argentine forward's fourth game-tying goal of the season and it capped a wild second half of a match in which Portland twice pulled from behind despite being short a player.
For me, it's good to score, Fernandez said through a translator when asked why he seems to have a knack for equalizers . I go home happy.
There were a flurry of goals in the final 10 minutes. Portland's Will Johnson tied the match at 2-all in the 80th minute and Ethan Finlay's shot deflected off a Portland player for an own goal for Columbus a minute later. Fernandez poked in his goal off a header from forward Fanendo Adi, who was making his debut for Portland on loan from the Danish side FC Copenhagen.
The draw snapped a three-match losing streak for Columbus, but the Crew (3-4-4) remain winless in their last eight matches. Columbus hadn't scored a goal since April 26 in a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls. Federico Higuain had a pair of goals for the Crew and Maximiliano Urruti opened the scoring for Portland (1-3-7) in the fifth minute.
Portland defender Alvas Powell was sent off with a red card for a foul on Chad Barson in the 34th minute, putting the Timbers down a man for the rest of the match. You can spin it any way you can, but that's a good result when you're down a goal, down a man, Portland coach Caleb Porter said.
Porter said he preferred to focus on the positives of the match, because it could have easily been a loss. But captain Will Johnson was unhappy with another tie. We've got the heart of a lion but the brain of a goldfish at times, he told the game's broadcast crew afterward.
The Timbers finished atop the Western Conference standings last season, but have just one victory this year even though they haven't dropped a match at Providence Park this season.
The Timbers were coming off a 1-1 draw at home against the Los Angeles Galaxy last weekend, with both goals coming in stoppage time. Columbus was without defender Michael Parkhurst, who is training with the U.S. national team in advance of the World Cup.
Fellow defender Waylon Francis has been called up for duty with the Costa Rican national team. The Timbers were without midfielder Diego Chara and defender Michael Harrington because of injuries in last week's draw with the Galaxy.
Chara had surgery to stabilize a fractured bone in his left hand and will miss two weeks. After Urruti's goal from the corner of the box sailed past Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark in the fifth minute, Higuain evened it nine minutes later on a goal that sailed over goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts' outstretched arms and into the back of the net.
The match got contentious in stoppage time just before the break when Futty Danso was called for a foul in the penalty area and Higuain beat Ricketts. The Providence Park crowd loudly booed the refs, and Porter shouted at them as the team walked off the field.
Crew coach Greg Berhalter said his team went into the half feeling positive with the momentum on their side. But then things got sloppy.
I don't think we did a good job of controlling the game in the latter moments, Berhalter said.
This is the only match between the teams this season.