Portland Timbers' Diego Valeri wins assist title in final game; will that lead to Volkswagen MLS MVP?

For many observers, Portland Timbers attacker Diego Valeri is worthy of the Volkswagen MLS MVP Award this year. If he snags the silverware, it won’t be for his goalscoring alone — or even primarily. It would be for his ability to set up his teammates.

Valeri, 26, finished this season as the top assist man in MLS, with 13 to his name.

Philadelphia’s Sébastien Le Toux finished second with 12, followed by LA Galaxy’s Robbie Keane (11) and Real Salt Lake’s Javier Morales (10).

Le Toux was the frontrunner for most of the season until he hit a dry spell in August. In 10 games since August 10, he did not collect a single assist.

In the meantime, Valeri racked up five more assists, including the go-ahead helper on Rodney Wallace’s goal in the first half of Saturday night’s game against Chivas USA.

Valeri’s total of 13 assists is the lowest total an assist winner has had since Omar Cummings collected 12 in 2009 with the Colorado Rapids. Valeri also benefitted from the Timbers' overall team attack: Included in his 13 assists are five second assists. Keane led the league this season with 10 primary assists.

And Valeri is far short of Carlos Valderrama’s single-season assist record of 26, which he set in 2000. No shame there, though, as no other player has collected as many as 20 assists in a season.