PORTLAND,OR. — There’s a lot of similarities between the Chara brothers. It’s something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Portland Timbers midfielders Sebastian Blanco and Diego Valeri.
“Just looking at both at them they smile the same, they run the same, they play the same,” Blanco said via a translator. “I think if you just switched jerseys and they didn’t smile you wouldn’t know which one’s which.”
“I think Diego is a little taller,” Blanco added as his translator finished.
“They’re both very similar,” Valeri added. “The way they move their body, the way they look...I’m about to be surrounded by Charas.”
That’s because now Diego and Yimmi Chara have one more similarity: a shared club. The Timbers acquired Yimmi from Atletico Mineiro Jan. 2.
It’s the first time the brothers will have had the opportunity to play together in 10 years. Diego called it a dream come true.
“To have the opportunity again is amazing,” Diego said. “Yimmi’s a great addition for the team and we are very excited.”
Timbers GM and president of soccer Gavin Wilkinson said ever since the club acquired Diego Chara in 2011 there has been a constant conversation about how Yimmi was playing. He noted it probably cost him a lot more money waiting 10 years to get him, saying it has been a long process trying to acquire him.
“We tried several other times to acquire him, and it was just a matter of opportunity,” Wilkinson said. “It was national team responsibilities...the national team coach at that stage wanted him to play and this was the first chance that it’s actually been possible, and it came to fruition.”
Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said Yimmi should help bolster the attack for a team with just one other striker — Jeremy Ebobisse — on the roster. But as talented as Yimmi is offensively, Savarese sees his versatility as his greatest trait.
“He has incredible attributes as a player offensively and defensively,” Savarese said. “We have our thoughts specifically on how we want him to play…but the good thing is that he also gives us other options. In some moments if we need to change, he can adapt.”
Diego sees more differences with his brother than similarities.
“I believe it’s different because my position is more defensive,” he said. “I think Yimmi is going to bring something different. He’s a great player and if he has the opportunity to score, he will do it too. I think Yimmi is so different than me.”