This week, the Portland Timbers signed Diego Chara’s younger brother, Yimmi Chara, as a DP. The move complements the Diego Valeri re-signing and sets the team up wonderfully for 2020.
With moves and signings at a bit of a standstill over the Holidays, Portland Timbers fans have waited anxiously with news of roster additions with two open Designated Player slots to fill.
Rumors spread and mysterious tweets from the Timbers Twitter account and club owner Merritt Paulson helped keep those fans at the edge of their seat through the new year, but it wasn’t until the calendar turned the page that genuine developments unfolded.
On the second day of 2020, the Portland Timbers officially announced the signing of 28-year-old Colombian midfielder Yimmi Chara as a Designated Player. The name should sound very familiar as Yimmi is the younger brother of Diego Chara who has been a mainstay on the Timbers roster and fan favorite since arriving in Portland back in 2011.
The move has been in the works for quite a while now, and with recent turnover and movement on the Timbers’ roster prior to the festive period, the deal could be finalized this week. After the re-signing of veteran midfielder Diego Valeri a couple of weeks ago to a contract extension using Targeted Allocation money instead of a DP spot, many theorized how the front office in Portland would utilize the new room on the roster after retaining one of their star players.
Valeri’s deal freed up another DP slot and was a key move to keep the squad’s leadership and experience intact while looking for talent outside of the club at the right time. With transfer records being shattered across the league, with even traditional non-spenders like Vancouver and Sporting KC splashing out, there was a growing expectation on Portland to invest. Now that they have, let’s see if the money spent on Yimmi Chara was worth it.
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Chara arrives in Portland via a transfer from Brazilian Serie A side, Clube Atlético Mineiro, where he spent the last two seasons. He made 68 appearances and scored 10 goals in the process. He has played in the top leagues in Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, while also making ten appearances with the Colombian national team scoring one goal in an international friendly against Venezuela.
There are going to be a lot of folks attempting to compare the two brothers games all year, but don’t. You will find similarities in height and hairstyle, but it ends there. Both are midfielders, but Yimmi is a winger with the capability to play on the left and right side. Like his brother, he is a well-rounded player but the younger Chara will bring speed to a part of the field that Timbers fans haven’t seen just yet. His addition should create competition with players like Andy Polo and Dairon Asprilla playing similar roles for the Timbers.
The Portland Timbers were able to secure a spot in the playoffs last season despite some roster turmoil, but they couldn’t get past Real Salt Lake in the first round. Keeping Valeri in Portland was a start. The addition of Chara now complements that move, boosting a much-needed part of the field.
Now with one DP spot open and the start of their preseason tournament on February 16th followed by the regular-season home opener on March 1st, all eyes are looking at the front office to see who dawns green and gold next.