CARSON, Calif. – If the LA Galaxy are going to pick up three points on the road against the Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field on Sunday afternoon, LA must put the brakes on their midfield maestro Diego Valeri.
The Argentine is currently enjoying an MVP-type season as he is currently tied for the team lead in goals with eight and is leading the Timbers in assists with 12—two of which came against the Galaxy during Portland’s 2-1 win on July 13.
“He’s tricky and clever. He’s a smart player and he knows to find pockets, so if you fall asleep, he’ll punish you. He’s thinking two or three plays ahead,” said defender Todd Dunivant. “We have to be ready for him when he gets on the ball and put pressure on him. If he does get into space, we have to be aware of their runners going behind.”
As for Valeri’s status as an MVP, Galaxy forward Landon Donovan believes that Valeri is certainly among the contenders.
“I think that he’s been fantastic. Outside of Robbie Keane, he’s been the best player in the league this year. I think Robbie’s been the clear MVP, but I’d say that Diego is not too far behind,” said Donovan. “When he plays for them, he’s very good. I know that he’s still [to be determined] because he got hurt last week, so maybe he won’t play, but when he’s in their team, he makes a big difference.”