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Diego Valeri and 52 runner-ups on MLS MVP ballot

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Valeri awaits confirmation as MLS MVP

MLS: Portland Timbers at New York City FC Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time a year again: Award Season.

Today the list of MVP candidates were released. Each team is allowed to nominate at the most three players and this year there are 53 total names on the MVP list; or as it’s really known as the Landon Donovan Most Valuable Player Award.

You can view the entire list here.

The Timbers selected just one player to be on the ballot: Diego Valeri. Which, when you think about it, is a no-brainer. Valeri is putting up MVP numbers this season, and he’s second in the race for the Golden Boot behind the Chicago Fire’s Nemanja Nikolic who has 21 goals.

But as we know goal scoring isn’t the only thing Diego is good at. He’s just as valuable off the ball as he is on it. He causes all sorts of problems with opposing teams’ defenses. But hey, goals are sexy.

One question I ask myself when lists like these are released, is that player an MVP for his club? And you can say without a doubt that Diego Valeri has been the MVP of this club all season. He had his scoring streak setting a MLS record and he’s stepped up and been a pure offensive force while Adi has gone missing with injury.

Voting takes place on October 17th, and it’s only open to players, technical staffers (technical directors, GMs and coaches), and a select group of national and regional members of the press. Each voting group is one-third of the overall vote. Voting closes Monday October 23rd at 5 pm eastern. Expect MLS to release more award nominations in the coming days.

There are some good players on that list, but if I’m a betting man I’d say it’s going to come down to someone from Atlanta United and Diego Valeri. You can’t ignore the three very good players they have nominated: Miguel Almiron, Josef Martinez and Tito Villaba; they are the reason they’re third in the East and headed to the playoffs.

In the end, I’m looking at Valeri.

Let's face it, he’s done so much for his club this season. Even putting allegiances aside, I’d still go with Valeri - though Miguel Almiron is a sexy choice, I’ve watched enough matches of his this season to see that he at the least deserves to be on this ballot.