Portland Timbers midfielder runs away with the award to cap sparkling 2017 season

TRIBUNE PHOTO: DIEGO G. DIAZ - Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri (center) celebrates his MLS MVP award with team owner Merritt Paulson (left) and Lino DiCuollo, MLS Senior Vice President, Competition & Player Relations.It wasn't close.

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri was named MVP of MLS on Monday, capping a sparkling season for the 31-year-old from Argentina.

Valeri finished with more than 50 percent of the vote to easily win the 2017 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player honor. He is the first Timbers player to win the MVP.

The award was based on voting by players, club management, and media members. Valeri had 45.42 percent of players' votes, 51.19 percent from team managment, and 55.52 percent of the media vote. Valeri's overall average was 50.71 percent.

David Villa of New York City FC finished second with 16.4 percent of all votes.

Valeri is the sixth player from South America and the third Argentine (Christian Gómez in 2006, Guillermo Barros Schelotto in 2008) to win the MLS MVP award.

  • To review, in 2017 Valeri:

    • Scored a career-high 21 goals, which ranked third in the league.

    • His 21 goals are a league record for goals by a midfielder, bettering the 18 goals scored by Preki in 1996, the league's first season.

    • Scored a goal against 15 of the 21 other teams in MLS, and had a goal or assist against 19 of them. Only against Atlanta and Columbus, teams the Timbers faced once, did Valeri not get onto the scoresheet.

    • Delivered seven game-winning goals.

    • Had 11 assists.

    • His 32 combined goals and assists led the league and were the fifth most ever in a single MLS season.

    • Scored in a league-record nine consecutive matches, two more than the previous record. He scored 10 goals during that stretch, helping the Timbers to a 5-2-2 mark between July 29 and Sept. 24 and made up for the injury absence of striker Fanendo Adi.

    • Scored in 17 of the 32 regular-season matches he played.

    • Was selected to the MLS Team of the Week nine times, more than any other player.

    • Made the MLS Best XI for the third time in his five seasons in the league.

    • Made the MLS All-Star Game team for the fourth time in five years.

  • Valeri also is rising up career charts:

    • His 58 goals in 148 regular-season games with the Timbers makes him the club's top goal scorer for all eras dating to the 1975 North American Soccer League Timbers,

    • With 58 goals and 53 assists in 148 regular-season games make Valeri the third-fastest player in MLS history to reach 50 goals and 50 assists.

  • MLS MVP award winners

    2017 — Diego Valeri, Portland Timbers

    2016 — David Villa, New York City FC

    2015 — Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto FC

    2014 — Robbie Keane, L.A. 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, L.A. 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, L.A. 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

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