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Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri named 2017 MLS MVP

PORTLAND, Ore. (Via MLS) – Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri has been named the 2017 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player.

Valeri, a three-time MLS Best XI honoree and a four-time MLS All-Star, earns his first MVP award since joining MLS in 2013 and becomes the first Timbers player to be named MVP in club’s MLS era, capping off a historic 2017 campaign for the midfielder.

Reaching numerous milestones in his fifth MLS campaign with the Timbers, Valeri’s record-setting season was highlighted by a team-high 21 goals, a career-high for the midfielder, and a team-high 11 assists, marking the fourth time the midfielder has hit double digits in goals and assists in his five seasons in MLS. Additionally, Valeri recorded the most combined goals and assists (32) in the league this season – ranking tied for the fifth-most in league history – while also becoming the second player in MLS history to have 20 or more goals and 10 or more assists in the same season.

Scoring the third-most goals in the league in 2017 in 32 regular-season games played, Valeri set an MLS record for goals by a midfielder in a single season, surpassing the previous mark (18) originally set by Preki in 1996. As part of his 21-goal production, the Argentinian midfielder also set a new league record for consecutive regular-season games (9) with a goal – two more games than the previous record – scoring 10 goals from July 29-Sept. 24 to help guide the Timbers to a 5-2-2 record during the final stretch of the season. Additionally, leading the league in game-winning goals (7) in the regular season, Valeri also scored against 19 of the 22 teams in MLS, earning MLS Team of the Week honors nine times, which was the most by a single player in 2017.

Since joining the Timbers in 2013, Valeri has scored 58 goals and added 53 assists in 148 MLS regular-season appearances, ranking as the third-fastest player to reach the 50-50 mark in MLS history. In a 2-1 home win against the Colorado Rapids on Aug. 23, Valeri scored his 52nd MLS goal in league play, becoming the leading goal scorer in club history across all eras (since 1975). Additionally, with 53 career assists in MLS, Valeri is three assists shy of tallying the most in club history across all eras (since 1975).

In the postseason, Valeri is the first player in Timbers history to earn MLS Cup MVP honors after scoring in Portland’s 2-1 win against Columbus Crew SC in the 2015 MLS Cup, helping the club secure its first MLS Cup trophy. Valeri has also received MLS All-Star recognition in four of his five seasons in MLS, with the midfielder playing in the 2014 and 2017 MLS All-Star games against top-flight European clubs Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Valeri was an inactive MLS All-Star selection in 2013 and 2016. The Argentinian midfielder was also named to the MLS Best XI team for the third time in his MLS career in 2017, previously earning the honor in the 2013 and 2014 campaigns, while also receiving the MLS Newcomer of the Year award in 2013.

With the recognition, Valeri is the seventh South American to be named MLS MVP, the third from Argentina, joining Christian Gómez (2006) and Guillermo Barros Schelotto (2008).

The MVP award was voted on by MLS club management, media and current MLS players. Below is a breakdown of the voting results:

MVP Player Vote % Club Vote % Media Vote % Average %
Diego Valeri (POR) 45.42% 51.19% 55.52% 50.71%
David Villa (NYC) 9.52% 16.67% 23.01% 16.40%
Nemanja Nikolić (CHI) 6.59% 8.33% 8.59% 7.84%
Sebastian Giovinco (TOR) 7.69% 3.57% 6.75% 6.00%
Miguel Almirón (ATL) 5.86% 1.19% 3.99% 3.68%
Michael Bradley (TOR) 0.00% 9.52% 0.61% 3.38%
Josef Martínez (ATL) 5.13% 2.38% 2.15% 3.22%
Victor Vazquez (TOR) 2.93% 1.19% 1.23% 1.78%

All-Time MLS Most Valuable Players:

2017: Diego Valeri – Portland Timbers
2016: David Villa – New York City FC

2015: Sebastian Giovinco – Toronto FC

2014: Robbie Keane – LA Galaxy

2013: Mike Magee – Chicago Fire

2012: Chris Wondolowski – San Jose Earthquakes

2011: Dwayne De Rosario – D.C. United

2010: David Ferreira – FC Dallas

2009: Landon Donovan – LA Galaxy

2008: Guillermo Barros Schelotto – Columbus Crew

2007: Luciano Emilio – D.C. United

2006: Christian Gómez – D.C. United

2005: Taylor Twellman – New England Revolution

2004: Amado Guevara – MetroStars

2003: Preki – Kansas City Wizards

2002: Carlos Ruiz – LA Galaxy

2001: Alex Pineda Chacón – Miami Fusion

2000: Tony Meola – Kansas City Wizards

1999: Jason Kreis – Dallas Burn

1998: Marco Etcheverry – D.C. United

1997: Preki – Kansas City Wizards

1996: Carlos Valderrama – Tampa Bay Mutiny