The 2017 MLS season has not ended yet. The Seattle Sounders and the Toronto FC once again will collide to determine which franchise will win the coveted league title. However, we already have some individual accolades that have been given. And one of those was the MLS MVP.
There were several candidates to win the Award based on their regular-season play. David Villa, Nemanja Nikolic, Josef Martinez and Sebastian Giovinco were candidates, but the name of Diego Valeri gained some momentum as the season advanced. The Portland Timbers star was a one-man wrecking crew for the franchise, and he carried the team to the postseason.
His strong play was rewarded with the MVP award. And honestly, he fully deserved it. He might not have been the best player in the league, but he was certainly valuable. Without him, the Timbers wouldn’t have made the playoffs in the first place. Although if we look at his numbers, there’s no question Valeri deserved the recognition.
The former Lanus and FC Porto star finished the campaign with 21 goals and 11 assists in 32 regular-season appearances. His play was fundamental for Portland. Darlington Nagbe battled inconsistencies all year long, and Fanendo Adi struggled with nagging injuries down the stretch. Portland needed a reliable scoring threat, and Valeri emerged on that role. He proved his worth for the franchise once again.
Considering the kind of year he had and how important he was for the Timbers, it wasn’t a surprise to see Valeri earn the MVP Award. The Timbers star earned 50,71% of the votes, while Villa (New York City FC) came in second with 16,40%, and Nikolic came in third with 7,84%. The rest of the Top 8 included Giovinco (6%), Miguel Almiron (3,68%), Michael Bradley (3,38%), Martinez (3,22%), and Victor Vazquez (1,78%). Valeri won in a landslide, and the difference between him and the rest of the candidates was huge.
Furthermore, the Argentinian playmaker becomes the second player in MLS history to record over 10 goals and 10 assists in the same season. The only player who had done it before was Giovinco, who accomplished this back in 2015.
The Timbers might not have won the MLS Cup title. But there’s no question Valeri enjoyed an impressive season. And he fully deserved to win the second MVP Award of his career.