It has been 95 days since the Portland Timbers have taken the pitch. A 2-1 loss at home to Real Salt Lake. The 2020 season will begin in 25 days and it all started on Wednesday afternoon at Timbers Media Day.
Those who spoke to the media included: General Manager/President of Soccer Gavin Wilkinson; head coach Giovanni Savarese; Sebastian Blanco (midfield/forward); Diego Valeri (midfield) and the Chara brothers of Diego (midfield) and Yimmi (midfield).
Here are three main takeaways from the day:
A bearded-Savarese is excited for what’s in store in 2020
Sporting a new, full beard, head coach Giovanni Savarese is excited for the first time in his coaching stint in Portland to begin the season at home in Providence Park.
It’s been 95 long days since the end of the 2019 season and Savarese is eager to begin this 2020 season.
I’ve never had so much time off, in regards to the end to the beginning [of a season]. So I think it did me well to be so hungry to come back… — Savarese
Not one, but two Chara Brothers on the field now
During the offseason, Portland made roster moves and signed new faces including Yimmi Chara, the younger brother of Diego Chara.
According to the Timbers organization, Chara joins Portland with over 350 professional appearances in the top leagues of Brazil, Colombia and Mexico since making his professional debut in 2010 with Colombian Primera A side Deportes Tolima.
First we have to say that he is a versatile player, which is amazing. He has incredible attributes as a player offensively and defensively. We have our thoughts on how we want him to play in the system we want to play. But the good thing is he gives us also other options in some moments if we need to change he can adapt to other situations and that’s great about Yimmi. — Giovanni Savarese on Yimmi Chara
I think he’s going to bring something different to our attack. I think he’s a great player. We are very excited as a team and I know the fans too. — Diego Chara on Yimmi
Retaining Diego Valeri was the utmost importance
At the end of last season, one big question heading into the offseason would be how to retain Diego Valeri. The 33-year-old veteran midfielder signed a multi-year contract extension on December 16, 2019. In seven seasons since joining the club in 2013, Valeri, 33, is the Timbers leader in goals scored (76), assists (81) and points (233) during their MLS era.
Obviously, getting Valeri sorted from the start of last year actually was a key objective. The unfortunate part is it took so long for all parties to come back to where we needed it to be. From a club perspective and I know from a fan perspective, we’re all delighted that he is back. — Gavin Wilkinson
It feels great. It was a long process but at the end it was easy to solve. Thinking about the team, thinking about this moment and how to be better than last season, and very happy to keep playing for these colors, for our supporters and for this organization. — Diego Valeri