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CCL Rewind: Yimmi Chara’s hat-trick propels Timbers, Atlanta United advances


Yimmi Chara made an impressive impact in his first full season with the Portland Timbers last year, but delivered his best performance yet as the MLS club advanced comfortably into the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals.

Chara registered his first hat trick for the Timbers on Tuesday night, scoring three times in a 5-0 second leg triumph over visiting CD Marathon. Diego Valeri and Marvin Loria also got in on the action, but it was Chara’s night to remember as the Timbers returned in front of fans at Providence Park.

The Colombian didn’t need long to break the deadlock for Giovanni Savarese’s side, capping off a fast break in the 18th minute thanks to an assist from Valeri. Chara slid an effort into the bottom-left corner and in, setting the stage for a busy night.

Chara doubled Portland’s advantage in the 32nd minute, this time receiving a cross from Dairon Asprilla and once again slotting home from close range.

The Timbers kept the pressure on after halftime, adding to their lead and ultimately putting Marathon well out of the tie. Valeri’s first goal of the competition extended Portland’s lead to 3-0, as the Argentine’s right-footed shot found the bottom-left corner in the 66th minute.

Chara capped his perfect performance in the 78th minute, tapping home a rebound after Loria’s previous effort was saved. The Colombian was replaced two minutes later, receiving a standing ovation from the Timbers faithful.

Loria would add the final tally of the match in the 89th minute, being played in by Cristhian Paredes and slotting in his first goal of the tournament.

The Timbers will next open their MLS schedule on Sunday on the road in a Cascadia Cup clash with the Vancouver Whitecaps in Utah.

Atlanta United edges Alajuelense to advance to final eight

Atlanta United scrapped by Alajuelense in Costa Rica last week and did more of the same to book its spot in the quarterfinals.

Jurgen Damm’s 91st minute goal served as insurance as the Five Stripes won Tuesday’s second leg 1-0 at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.

Both teams failed to register a shot on goal in the opening 45 minutes, with the Five Stripes staying strong at the back to keep their visitors frustrated. After halftime, the MLS side picked it up and eventual got rewarded to truly eliminate the Costa Rican side entirely.

Marcelino Moreno and Santiago Sosa each had efforts denied, with Sosa’s striking the post in the 54th minute after his header from close range.

Emerson Hyndman and Ezequiel Barco were also denied by Alajuelense goalkeeper Mauricio Vargas, who had a strong second-half in net for the visitors.

Jurguens Montenegro had the best chance for Alajuelense in the 81st minute, but it would be the only shot on goal for the visitors, who eventually their resistance falter.

Damm slammed home a pass from Barco in the 91st minute, icing the aggregate scoreline at 2-0 and giving Gabriel Heinze his second win in as many weeks as Five Stripes head coach.

Atlanta visits Orlando City on Saturday in its opening MLS match of the season.


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