Timbers sign Colombian Chara as first DP

[MLS] On the eve of their MLS home opener, the Portland Timbers announced the signing of Colombian playmaker Diego Chara from Tolima as their first designated player. He will be eligible to play upon the receipt of his P-1 visa.

Chara, 25, played in a team-high 42 games in 2010 for high-scoring Tolima. It led the Colombian league in scoring with 88 goals in 2010 and has 23 goals in the first 11 games of the 2011 Apertura season.

Chara, who debuted for Colombia last November, also played in seven games in the 2011 Copa Libertadores.

“Diego possesses a tireless work ethic, speed and exceptional technical ability,” said Portland general manager/technical director Gavin Wilkinson. “He has consistently performed at a high level in Colombia and we’ve watched him closely for the past six months. We’ve stated that should a player become available that is exciting, young, talented, attack-minded and worth an investment of this type, we would definitely look to sign him. Diego is the right fit for the city and this organization.”

Chara is the second Colombian signed by Portland from Tolima. Jorge Perlaza joined the Timbers in preseason.

Chara is the fourth Colombian signed to a DP contract. Los Angeles striker Juan Pablo Angel has been in MLS since 2007. Seattle's Fredy Montero was upgraded to DP status in the offseason. Fabian Castillo, 18, joined FC Dallas from Deportivo Cali in March.

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