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11/30 9:20pm
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Awards Pick 'Em: MLSsoccer.com editors make their call for Newcomer of the Year

It's been the most unpredictable, up-and-down MLS season in recent memory, and maybe of all-time. We've played 95 percent of the season, and literally every award – not to mention eight of the 10 playoff spots – is still up for grabs.

But we're brave, so with two weekends remaining, we're dishing out our awards picks. Foolish? Maybe. But as the Romans said, audentes fortuna iuvat!

Editor Score Comments


Greg Lalas
Editor-In-Chief

MATIAS LABA
Toronto FC

With all respect to Valeri et al, it's this South American holding mid who thrilled me most this year. Without his performances, Toronto FC would've been an utter embarrassment rather than a major disappointment. Sadly, an injury robbed us of seeing more of his talent.


Jonah Freedman
Managing Editor

DIEGO VALERI
Portland Timbers

Not even an argument. The Argentine playmaker has a legitimate claim on MVP, too, but he'll probably have to settle for this obvious award and take further aim on the bigger prize next season.

Kristel Valencia
Editor FutbolMLS.com

DIEGO VALERI
Portland Timbers

He debuted with a spectacular goal and never looked back with a sensational first year in MLS. The Timbers are very solid as a team, but when it comes to individuals, Valeri stood out for his creative playmaking, ball distribution and for imposing his Argentinean style to keep the ball on the ground when the team is attacking.


Matt Doyle
Armchair Analyst

DIEGO VALERI
Portland Timbers

The definition of the modern playmaker, as he's able to generate possession, chances and space anywhere in the midfield. What he does best, though – act as a release valve to get his team out of pressure – doesn't often show up in the highlights.


Andrew Wiebe
Editor

DIEGO VALERI
Portland Timbers

He's been targeted by opposing defenses from the very start, but kicking the Argentine hasn't slowed him down one bit. Caleb Porter wanted a string puller to open up his attack, and Valeri is the latest import to make an immediate impact with eight goals and a league-leading 12 assists.


Jason Saghini
Director of Video

DIEGO VALERI
Portland Timbers

If New England were in a playoff spot, I'd lean toward José Gonçalves, but how can you argue against a guy who has his team in the top spot in the league? Valeri has been all he was hyped up to be and more, and has helped turn Portland into one of the most exciting teams to watch in MLS.


Simon Borg
Senior Editor

JOSE GONÇALVES
New England Revolution

Every playoff contender needs a dependable, shut-down defender and the Revs found their man in Gonçalves, who would also eventually become their captain. The edge over Valeri? The Timbers have won without the Argentine. But Gonçalves has played in every single match and has singlehandedly transformed the Revs into the fourth-toughest defensive team in MLS.


Nick Rosano
Editor

DIEGO VALERI
Portland Timbers

The Argentine DP has been a revelation for the Timbers in his first year in the league, becoming the critical piece in Caleb Porter's rebuild. No other player on the roster (save for perhaps Darlington Nagbe) can match his vision, technique and creativity, a fact reflected in his co-league leading 12 assists through 32 games. That's not even mentioning the eight goals he's scored, a couple of which will likely find their way into Goal of the Year balloting.