Offseason Snapshot: Chara & Perlaza further exploring their Portland surroundings

Colombian teammates and friends welcome new family addition; prepare for 2012

Midway through the offseason, and as many prepare for holiday festivities, a couple of Timbers players brace themselves for an all-together new holiday experience in a new country.

Coming off an historic inaugural season as the Timbers’ first ever Designated Player acquisition, Diego Chara (above, right) can’t think of a better way to celebrate this holiday season than with an addition of his own. Born on December 1, 2011, Allison Chara Lenis became Diego and his spouse, Sindy’s, second child. Her arrival couldn’t have come at a better time for the young midfielder as he plans to spend quality family time here in Portland over the holidays.

“We don’t have any plans to leave,” said Chara of his offseason endeavors. “First, we must take care of our new baby girl. After my wife has recovered, and once the new baby girl is a little bigger, we plan on going out and getting to know the city a little better.”

Coming off a nomination as an MLS Latino del Año for the 2011 season, Chara insists that he has more to offer the team next season.

“(Last season) I wasn’t able to adjust completely,” said Chara. “But I know that going into next season I will be much better. I think I got to know the midfield pretty well, and next year I will be studying the advantages for every game, this way I can contribute more to the team.”

Fellow Colombian teammate and childhood friend, Jorge Perlaza (above, left) is coming off an MLS debut season with six goals, two assists and one in which he dazzled fans and defenders around the league with his blazing speed. He was twice honored on MLS’ Team of the Week (Weeks 5 and 21), and etched into the team’s history books with his first MLS goal—the first of two on the night—against the Chicago Fire that sparked a four-goal performance in christening JELD-WEN Field.

For this offseason, Perlaza will be traveling a bit south—although not as far south as he’s accustomed— but will mostly stay around Portland.

“For now, I’ll keep training here at the gym, rehabilitation on my back in order to rid myself of that worry,” said Perlaza. “There’s also an opportunity for us to visit some family that I have in Houston. Also, hang around here and try to get to know the city a little better.”

Perlaza is staying optimistic about reaching the playoffs in 2012, after last season’s playoff hunt left a sour taste in his mouth when the Timbers were knocked out of the last playoff spot at the last minute.

“My primary objective is to qualify for playoffs,” said Perlaza. “We were so close this past season, but unfortunately we were unable to make it.

“I believe to have adapted well to the system of play, to what the coach has asked for and to what the MLS demands,” he added. “I now know which teams we will be playing and who I will be playing against. Therefore, from that perspective I think we have a greater advantage that we didn’t have last season.”

Whether this offseason offers life-changing experiences or merely some much-needed R&R, count on the two players’ hunger for success this upcoming season. 


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