The one thing that could make Diego Valeri's 2017 MLS story even better is if the Portland Timbers were still playing. Valeri won the 2017 MLS MVP award by setting a new standard for an MLS midfielder. As many pointed out before and after the award, Valeri also sets a standard as a person. FourFourTwo's Katelyn Best told that story in October.
It's hard not to pick an attacking player as MVP, and Valeri is certainly that from his midfield position. 21 goals is hard to argue against, especially when it's clear from watching the Timbers what he meant to them throughout 2017.
MLS is a league that needs the kind of production and creativity a player like Valeri provides. He's not a rarity on the field in MLS. The last few MVPs speak to that. MLS clubs are doing a good job identifying and recruiting quality across their clubs. That they're doing it with the familiar restraints still in place. The changes to the allocation rules and new designations for money only go so far. This is still a league where paying attention to the parts of the global market easily overlooked makes a noticeable difference.
One update to the weekend roundup of USMNT players in Europe. Alfredo Morales subbed out in the 69th minute for Ingolstadt in their 2-0 home loss to TSV Eintracht Braunschweig on Monday. TSV Eintracht Braunschweig scored in the 65th and 76th minutes to pick up three points in the 2.Bundesliga.
SI.com's Brian Straus looks at Diego Valeri's MLS MVP season. MLSsoccer.com's Charles Boehm makes the case for 2017 being Seattle's season. ESPN FC's Tom Marshall explains the issue with Liga MX participating in the Copa Libertadores. BBC Sport on England manager Gareth Southgate getting a World Cup vote of confidence. The Daily Mail's Amitai Winehouse relays a report from Marca that Lionel Messi had an offer from Manchester City. Inside World Football's Paul Nicholson updates the ongoing FIFA bribery trial in New York City.
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