Back-to-back MLS MVPs face off in MLS Cup for second time ever

Diego Valeri - Portland Timbers - Celebrate

For just the second time in MLS history, back-to-back MVPs will face each other in MLS Cup. It's the first time that both players are playing for the teams they won the award for. 

On Wednesday it was announced that Atlanta United star Josef Martinez won the 2018 Landon Donovan MLS MVP. Martinez is currently preparing to face the Portland Timbers in 2018 MLS Cup, opposite the Portland Timbers and Diego Valeri, recipient of the 2017 MVP award. 

The only other time this scenario has happened in league history is when the 2002 MVP, Carlos Ruiz, faced 2001 MVP Alex Pineda Chacon in the 2002 MLS Cup. Chacon won the award with the now-defunct Miami Fusion, before playing in 2002 with the New England Revolution against Ruiz's LA Galaxy.

As you would expect, both Martinez and Valeri are expected to start on Saturday (8 pm ET | FOX, UniMás, TSN1/3/5, TVAS). 

Additionally, Martinez can join the short list of players to win MLS MVP and MLS Cup in the same season. 

Tony Meola
Kansas City Wizards
Carlos Ruiz
LA Galaxy
Guillermo Barros Schelotto
Columbus Crew
Robbie Keane
LA Galaxy