Jason Hernandez had a block party at Providence Park Sunday night.
The veteran centerback had five massive blocks in an inspired performance in New York City FC’s 2-1 win over the Portland Timbers.
“The match was a tough one. I think it was a big challenge for us,” Hernandez said after the match. “We understood we were coming into a place that has a really tough environment to play, against the defending champions. We knew we were in for a fight tonight and I thought the guys responded really well and got a good result.”
Hernandez set the tone in the defensive third just five minutes into the match with a heroic sliding block of a Diego Valeri shot after Josh Saunders came off his line to challenge the Portland midfielder.
“I think a lot of the hard work we’ve been putting in since Day One of preseason is beginning to pay off. We’re beginning to get some rewards for all the efforts we’ve put in week by week,” Hernandez said. “We just feel really fortunate to come into a tough place to play, withstand a good team and come away with the full three points.”
After blocking another Valeri shot in the 16th minute following an Adi layoff , Hernandez came up with a well-timed slide tackle after Adi pulled off his jersey in the 39th minute.
“Jason is one of our leaders in the back,” NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira said. “He has a really strong character He is always positive and I was very pleased with his performance.”