Dairon Asprilla's father is inspiring the Portland Timbers star's career year

Dairon Asprilla has gained a reputation as a playoff assassin during his Portland Timbers career, but in 2021, the Colombian forward has enjoyed his most well-rounded MLS campaign yet.

After never scoring more than two regular-season goals during any of his six MLS seasons prior to this one, Asprilla netted 10 this year, to go along with three assists, helping power the Timbers into the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs. His incredible bicycle kick golazo in Portland's 2-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Oct. 27 was among the best goals of the season, and a nominee for the league's AT&T 5G Goal of the Year award.

In an Associated Press story released Thursday, Anne M. Peterson detailed what's gone into the career year, which Asprilla said is inspired by his late father Arcadio Asprilla who passed away last year at age 60. To honor his father, Asprilla wears a T-shirt with his picture and a heart, which he reveals after every goal.

“Having the shirt on motivates me on the field and makes me feel like he’s with me,” Asprilla told Peterson. “Because when he was still here, even in Colombia, he was always with me at my games so that’s just my way of dedicating my career to him, but also just to feel like he’s with me.”

“He was my role model and my friend aside from just being my dad. I looked up to him all the time. And he was the biggest part of me being able to be successful in my career. So he was just always there.”

Peterson's piece also delves into head coach Gio Savarese's perspective on Asprilla's contributions. Give the full article a read here.

Portland hope Asprilla can carry his regular-season form into the postseason, as they host Minnesota United FC in a Western Conference Round One game on Sunday (5:30 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes)