Thursday, January 20, 2022

Diego Chara and his “never-aging phase” remain at the heart of Portland Timbers

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Plenty has changed around the Portland Timbers since their inaugural MLS season nearly 11 years ago.

The club has cycled through four head coaches, more than 100 first-team players and somewhere north of a dozen kits over that time. Their NWSL siblings Thorns FC arrived in 2013; the training facility they share has been built, expanded and renovated. Providence Park welcomed 18,627 fans on opening night in 2011, a rainy 4-2 win over Chicago Fire FC; today it holds 25,218 thanks to a glittering $85 million expansion of its east side from 2017-19.

One particular fixture endures at the Rose City club across that decade-plus, however, not merely hanging on but prospering, seemingly growing into an institution on par with chainsaws, log slices, the Timbers Army and their drums and song sheet: holding midfielder Diego Chara.

The first Designated Player in Portland history . . .

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