Cucho Hernandez scores in Columbus Crew’s 2-2 draw against Portland Timber

A shot from striker Cucho Hernandez put the Crew on the board against the Portland Timbers on Saturday, but it was centre-back Steven Moreira who prevented Columbus from suffering a defeat at home.

The Crew has now completed regulation with a draw in four straight MLS matches and six straight matches, including CONCACAF Champions Cup play. The final score on Saturday was 2-2. Both goals for Columbus came on one goal.

Moreira’s equalizing goal came in the 74th minute. The defender launched a shot attempt from the top of the penalty area and made contact with the top left corner of the net. Moreira, who is in his fourth season with the Crew, has just one other MLS goal in his career, which he scored on August 27, 2002 in a 2-2 FC Cincinnati.

Portland’s Felipe Mora, on the other hand, has scored in four straight games to give the Timbers an early 1-0 lead at Field. From the top of the penalty area, midfielder Eryk Williamson saw Mora crash to the right. With his right foot, Mora sneaked the ball past defender Rudy Camacho and goalkeeper Patrick Schulte into the bottom left corner of the goal just after ten minutes.

Portland followed up Mora’s goal with another strong attack. Timbers’ top scorer Evander Da Silva Ferreira’s attempt was headed away when Camacho headed the ball away.

Despite the Timbers being in the lead, coach Phil Neville was angry. He continued to make comments to the officials, which earned him a yellow card shortly after the Timbers scored.

Cucho Hernandez: A birthday boost

On Saturday, Hernandez said he felt like he was “starting a new season.” He has missed three games this year, two for violating ‘team policy’ and one for a red card violation against DC United on April 6. The Crew’s top scorer had also not scored a goal since March 16.

The hope for a new start happened to coincide with his 25th birthday.

It looked like Hernandez’s first-half scoring drought was over when he put the ball in the net in the 27th minute, but he was ultimately ruled offside.

Hernandez would have to wait until just over 50 minutes into the match to score. From the right side of the penalty area, forward Diego Rossi passed the ball to Hernandez, who sent his shot to the right of Portland goalkeeper James Pantemis.

It took Portland less than ten minutes to respond to Hernandez’s goal. Timbers midfielder Santiago Moreno beat Yaw Yeboah in the penalty area after a pass from Da Silva Ferreira gave his side the lead again.

The Crew appeared to be in increasing danger of suffering their first home loss since May 2023.

In the first half, the Crew struggled with Portland’s size. Coach Wilfried Nancy had opted to start with a smaller front line, moving Yeboah to the left for the first time this season, with Will Sands starting at left back. Hernandez, at 6-foot-4, was the tallest forward for the Crew in the first half against Portland’s back line, which included three players over 5-11. (Defenseman Claudio Bravo, who is 5-7, was the notable exception.)

Nancy replaced Sands with 6-0 Jacen Russell-Rowe at half-time and bumped Yeboah back to left full-back, which helped with size, but Portland’s backline still looked quicker and made scoring difficult until Moreira’s goal.

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