SEATTLE – Amidst the drama of the Portland Timbers come-from-behind 1-1 Cascadia rivalry draw with Seattle Sounders FC Sunday night at CenturyLink Field was midfielder Diego Chara making his 200th regular-season appearance for Portland.
Fellow midfielder Darlington Nagbe also hit the 200 games played milestone with Portland earlier this year, coincidentally, also in a match against Seattle. The Timbers are the only MLS team that has joined the league in 2007 or later with multiple players achieving the 200 games played mark.
For Chara, who had his typically strong game in the midfield against Seattle with a team-leading four tackles on the night, the moment was not lost.
“I feel very happy because it’s hard to stay with one team for 200 games,” he said after the match. “I think the team has a confidence in my style of play. I am very happy for that.”
Chara was the club’s first Designated Player when he signed from Colombian side Deportes Tolima at the start of the club’s expansion season in 2011. The midfielder has scored seven goals to go along with 16 assists in his Portland career and his hard-nosed style of play has also resulted in a team-leading 488 fouls committed. He was also a key member of the team’s MLS Cup-winning campaign in 2015.
But it is that physical and aggressive style of play—always followed with a quick smile—that has made Chara a crowd favorite both on and off the field in his time in the Rose City.
“I think that these seven seasons, I have worked very hard,” he said. “To me, I don’t know how to explain, but I think that I love the team, they love me. I think that this is a good feeling.”
On Sunday night, the Timbers went down in the first half after a scramble in the box resulted in a goal for Seattle. But late in the half, Diego Valeri was able to equalize on a penalty kick. The draw keeps Portland atop the standings for the Cascadia Cup with one more game to play and at 41 points overall, they are currently in second place in the Western Conference.
For Chara, game No. 200 was, overall, a memorable one.
“I think it was a tough game,” he said. “But at the end, I think it was a great point for us.”