Days after starring in the 2017 opener, Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri was named Alcatel Player of the Week for Week 1 of the MLS season by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) on Tuesday.
The Argentine attacker got things going early, delivering the 14th-minute set piece that Portland defender Lawrence Olum eventually scrambled home to give the Timbers a 1-0 lead. He doubled the advantage two minutes in to the second half, getting on the end of a Sebastian Blanco cross and flicking a header inside the left post to make it 2-0.
After a Christian Ramirez goal brought the Loons within one in the 79th, Valeri restored Portland’s two-goal lead in the 82nd, burying a penalty kick after Fanendo Adi was fouled in the box by Vadim Demidov. The penalty started a late flurry for the Timbers, who got goals from Adi in the 91st and 93rd minutes to down Minnesota 5-1. The five goals from the Timbers were tied for the most they have ever scored in MLS.
Valeri, who recorded 14 goals and seven assists last year, narrowly beat out Adi for the award. Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando and San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Anibal Godoy were the only other players to receive multiple votes.
This is the third time that Valeri has won Player of the Week during his MLS career, tying Adi for the most by a Timber.
The Timbers will return to action on Sunday, when they’ll take on the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center (7 pm ET; FS1 in the US | MLS LIVE in Canada).