Diego Valeri named MLS Most Valuable Player

Jaime Valdez
The Argentine star's fifth season in Cascadia was his best yet, as he reached several milestones en route to being named the league's top player

Major League Soccer announced on Monday that Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri has been named the 2017 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player.

Valeri tallied 21 goals and 11 assists in 2017, becoming just the second player in MLS history to record at least 20 goals and 10 assists in the same season. 

The Argentine reached another milestone during the campaign when he scored in in nine consecutive games from July 29 to Sept. 24, the best run in MLS history. 

The 31-year-old also set a league record for the most goals scored by a midfielder in a single season, beating the previous mark (18) set by Preki in 1996.

Valeri's heroics helped Portland finish atop the Western Conference, winning the division on a tiebreaker over arch-rival Seattle.

The 31-year-old easily won the vote, earning just over 50 percent of the combined tally between MLS players, club management and the media.

Last season's MVP, New York City FC striker David Villa, came in second in the voting with 16 percent of the combined vote. 

Villa was followed by Chicago's Nemanja Nikolic, then Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco and Miguel Almiron of Atlanta United to round out the top five. 

Valeri is the seventh South American to be named MLS MVP and the third from Argentina, joining Christian Gomez (2006) and Guillermo Barros Schelotto (2008).