PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri has been named to Major League Soccer’s 2017 Best XI, it was announced this evening, with MLS recognizing the top players at each position on the field as determined by media, MLS players and MLS technical staff.
The recognition marks the third time Valeri has been selected to the MLS Best XI team in his five MLS seasons with the Timbers, with the midfielder previously earning Best XI honors in the 2013 and 2014 campaigns, while also receiving the league’s Newcomer of the Year award in 2013.
In a record-setting 2017 campaign with the Timbers, Valeri, 31, led the team in goals scored (21) and assists (11), becoming the first midfielder in league history to score 20 or more goals in a single season, while also becoming the second player in MLS history to record at least 20 goals and 10 assists in a single season. Valeri’s 32 combined goals and assists ranks tied for the fifth-most in league history. Additionally, with his 21 finishes, Valeri extended his MLS career goal-scoring tally to 58, which ranks as the most in club history across all eras (since 1975).
Establishing the Timbers’ MLS single-season record for goals in a season, Valeri was also named to the 2017 AT&T MLS All-Star roster against Real Madrid, marking the fourth time in five seasons he has earned All-Star honors, with the midfielder previously recording the game-winning assist in a 2-1 win against Bayern Munich in the 2014 MLS All-Star Game. Valeri was an inactive MLS All-Star selection in 2013 and 2016.
In addition to being named to the Best XI, Valeri is one of five players nominated for the 2017 Landon Donovan MVP award, along with Nemanja Nikolić, Miguel Almirón, David Villa and Sebastian Giovinco. All five players are included on the 2017 MLS Best XI.
2017 MLS Best XI
Goalkeeper: Tim Melia (Sporting Kansas City)
Defenders: Justin Morrow (Toronto FC), Ike Opara (Sporting Kansas City), Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Midfielders: Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United), Víctor Vázquez (Toronto FC), Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)
Forwards: Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Josef Martínez (Atlanta United), Nemanja Nikolić (Chicago Fire), David Villa (New York City FC)