The Argentine has netted five goals in five MLS games in 2017.
Diego Valeri is certainly the most exciting player in the American top flight currently.
Yes, that is a bold statement. Especially when you consider the starts Josef Martinez and Erick Torres have both made in the MLS this year.
But the Argentinian playmaker has been doing this for Portland year after year since his arrival in Oregon back in 2013.
A former Porto loanee, this guy is the real deal. He is someone who will once again be a contender for this year’s MVP in the MLS, an award he won back in 2015.
Why? For one he brings goals to the team. Valeri already has five goals in as many games this term, adding to his previous 37 over a four-year period. He is currently second on the MLS goalscoring charts this season behind Houston’s Torres.
He is also crucial in providing assists for his team. He may only have one so far this season, but he is very good at unlocking defences and playing killer balls into either the channels or into the box for forwards. Overall, he has provided 36 assists during his time at Portland.
The Argentine scored without doubt the goal of the week last time out, with a superb volley against New England Revolution.
He spoke to Portland Timber’s media team after they drew 1-1 to their Eastern Conference opponents, and admitted the result was disappointing.
“We played deeper then we wanted,” he said.
“They are a good team but the result is bad. We did enough to win.
“We will take the positives from this game though and prepare for Philadelphia next week.”
With over 100 appearances for the club, Valeri is a icon at Providence Park. The Timber Army adore their playmaker.
His 42 goals for the Timbers is just three shy of Fanendo Adi and John Bain’s all-time record for goals scored at the club.
Adi has benefited hugely from having the 30-year old behind him. The Nigerian striker joined a year later than Valeri, but his goalscoring record speaks for itself having matched his Argentinian teammate’s tally in 12 months less.
In fact, since both made their debuts for Portland, Adi is second in the MLS goal charts and Valeri is first for assists. That shows how much of an influence they have had on the league these past few seasons.
Portland need him to stay fit if they are to replicate their 2015 MLS Cup win. Without his goals and assist this season, Portland would not be top of the Western Conference. He galvanises the team, and helps players play at their best when they are alongside him, learning from him and using his assets to strengthen their own.
Valeri is heading towards the prime years of his career. Watch this space, he could cause a storm in the MLS for the next few campaigns.