PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri was voted MLS Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) for Week 1 of the 2017 MLS season, it was announced today.
In the Timbers’ opening match of the season, Valeri scored two second-half goals, while also recording an assist on the team’s opening finish of the game, helping to guide the Timbers to a 5-1 victory over Minnesota United FC, marking the team’s largest win in a season-opening match during its MLS era.
After setting up Portland’s first goal of the match with a well-placed free kick in the 14th minute of play (Watch Goal), the Argentinian midfielder scored his first goal just two minutes into the second half, producing a whipping header on midfielder Sebastián Blanco’s cross into the box in the 47th minute (Watch Goal). In the 82nd minute, Valeri notched his brace after forward Fanendo Adi was brought down inside the 18-yard box, allowing the midfielder to convert from the penalty spot with a powerful effort into the far left corner (Watch Goal).
With the brace, Valeri recorded his fifth multi-goal game in MLS regular-season action with the Timbers, extending his career tally to 39 regular-season goals, which ranks fourth across all eras for the club (since 1975). Additionally, Valeri’s assist was his 43rd as a member of the Timbers, ranking as the fourth-most assists across all eras in club history (since 1975).
This marks Valeri’s third time winning MLS Player of the Week honors, tying him with Adi for the most in Timbers MLS history.
The MLS Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season by a panel of journalists from NASR. The group consists of members of print, television, radio and online media.
Next up, the Timbers will hit the road for the first time in 2017, traveling to face the LA Galaxy on Sunday, March 12, at the StubHub Center. The March 12 match will be broadcast live on FS1 with local radio broadcasts on 750 AM/102.9 FM The Game (English) and La GranD 1150 AM/93.5 FM (Spanish); kickoff is set for 4 p.m. (Pacific).