3. Yimmi Chara
Like his brother before him, Yimmi Chara comes to the Portland Timbers on a Designated Player deal from Latin America looking to make an impact in the Pacific Northwest.
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And in a league looking to bring the best and brightest into MLS via bigger than ever before Designated Player deals, his signing seemed a bit underwhelming. Without the connection to his brother who has been such an important player in the Timbers’ first decade in MLS, this may have been considered a bust by fans.
But Chara is a more methodical signing than what’s on the surface. He brings a very similar motor to his brother’s and speed that cause huge problems for opposing defenders. Portland have always excelled on the counter-attack, and Chara’s engine and pace will only add to that threat, especially when being fed by Diego Valeri and his brother.
Chara may not grab the headlines or rack up the numbers. His impact might well extend beyond pure goals and assists, which may cause some friction in the Timbers fanbase. But he is an athletic, workhorse player with the quality to exploit space and create space for others. And with the other high-level attacking players in the team, that might be enough.