Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri has been named Major League Soccer's Most Valuable Player.
The 31-year-old native of Argentina had 21 goals and 11 assists this season for Portland, which finished atop the Western Conference.
He is the first midfielder in league history with 20 or more goals in a single season and just the second player with at least 20 goals and 10 assists in a single season. His 32 combined goals and assists rank fifth in MLS history.
"Since I arrived here I wanted to make an impact on the league and my club, and that's made me happy," he said. "Any reward is part of that. That's been important for me."
He was named the league's Landon Donovan MVP on Monday by vote of the league's club managers, media members and current players. The other nominees included Atlanta's Miguel Almiron, Toronto's Sebastian Giovinco, NYCFC's David Villa and Chicago's Nemanja Nikolic.
"You fight hard all season, and to be named player of the year is amazing," he told The Associated Press. "You work hard for the team and to be recognized from your own people, it's awesome."
What a season for El Maestro! ...Read more