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Portland’s Fernandez voluntarily enters MLS substance abuse program

SOCCER: JUL 18 MLS - Orlando City SC at Portland Timbers

PORTLAND, OR - JULY 18: Portland Timbers forward Brian Fernandez takes a shot on goal past Orlando City defender Kyle Smith during the 1-1 tie between Portland Timbers and Orlando City at Providence Park on July 18, 2019, in Portland, OR (Photo by Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Portland Timbers forward Brian Fernandez has left the playoff-bound club to voluntarily enter Major League Soccer’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH).

Fernandez came to Portland with a history of issues, and he told Ole that he had not relapsed but was going through a difficult time in his life and entered the program to avoid backsliding.

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Portland said in a statement, “Our number one priority is Brian’s emotional and physical well-being. Our thoughts are with him.”

In 23 matches with Portland across all competitions, Fernandez has 15 goals and two assists and is a Designated Player.

It’s unclear whether the Argentine will be back with the club before it begins life as the West’s No. 6 seed in the MLS Cup Playoffs, but obviously there are more important things at play for Fernandez.

Follow @NicholasMendola