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Around The Forest: Diego Valeri named Goal.com’s MLS MVP

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Also: Kendall Waston opens up, Rapids have a new manager, Giovinco tired of the time off and more!

Portland

MLS Awards: Diego Valeri named Goal's MLS Most Valuable Player | Goal.com
Since he arrived in Major League Soccer in 2013, Diego Valeri has established himself as one of the league’s top attacking talents, and the heart and soul of the Portland Timbers. In 2017, though, Valeri took his game to new heights. In a close race with several deserving candidates, the Argentine's stellar season has resulted in him being named Goal’s 2017 MLS MVP.

Academy Notebook | Timbers Academy's Kashope Oladapo called up for U.S. U-17 National Team friendlies | Portland Timbers
Timbers Academy goalkeeper Kashope Oladapo has been called up by the U.S. U-17 National Team for the annual Nike International Friendlies. The tournament will mark the team’s first matches since competing in the FIFA U-17 World Cup in October. The U.S. U-17s will face England (Nov. 29), Netherlands (Dec. 1) and Brazil (Dec. 3) during the International Friendlies from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3 in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

Major League Soccer

Lesson learned: Waston opens up on 'embarrassing' 2016 and newfound emotional control | Vancouver Whitecaps FC
His high-stepping, arm-waving goal celebrations will tell you as much. This is a player that cares. A player that wants nothing more than to help his team win. It’s an admirable trait – and one of the reasons Waston has become a fan favourite in Vancouver and his native Costa Rica.

Best Of: The biggest off-field moments in soccer culture in 2017 | MLSsoccer.com
While the 2017 season has offered plenty of drama between the white lines, some of the best entertainment has happened outside them. In the spirit of looking back on some of the top moments of the year, here are some of the biggest standout moments in soccer culture around MLS.

Jim Curtin puts burden on himself to play Union's academy products more
On multiple occasions during the 2017 season, Union manager Jim Curtin asserted that he wants to be known as a coach who gives young players serious playing time. And on multiple occasions, his actions were the opposite. Believe it or not, he knows this.

Wife of Bayern striker Lewandowski says dream is to finish career in LA | MLSsoccer.com
Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski may eventually join the ranks of world football stars to join the MLS ranks if it means living in Los Angeles. According to Business Insider Poland via Goal.com, Lewandowski's wife says she and her husband are eager to move to the City of Angels to support both their career visions.

Report: Former Kiwis manager Anthony Hudson to take over Colorado Rapids | MLSsoccer.com
Recently departed New Zealand national team manager Anthony Hudson is set to take the vacant coaching position at the Colorado Rapids, according to the New Zealand Herald. The Rapids declined to comment.

For Toronto FC's Giovinco, long wait is finally over on Wednesday night | MLSsoccer.com
A spot in the final hangs in the balance after a 0-0 draw in Columbus on Tuesday. Now, Toronto playmaker Sebastian Giovinco finally returns to the field for the first time in 23 days looking to help his side to a second consecutive MLS Cup final appearance.

Houston Dynamo keep accomplishments in focus, but cling to belief | MLSsoccer.com
A year ago this time, the Houston Dynamo found themselves deep in offseason mode. They had just announced Wilmer Cabrera as the club’s next head coach, and were trying to retool a roster that finished last in the Western Conference.

United States

Road to Talen Energy Stadium: NCAA men's soccer tournament down to final 8 | MLSsoccer.com
A mix of underdogs and traditional powers highlight the quarterfinal survivors of the NCAA men’s soccer tournament, as the hunt for a place at the 2017 College Cup at the Philadelphia Union’s Talen Energy Stadium has ticked down to the final eight teams.

Rumor: Peru out of World Cup, Italy or USMNT in? - Stars and Stripes FC
Things could get wild if a Fox Sports Australia report is to be believed. According to the report, Peru is at risk of being stripped of their spot in the 2018 World Cup. Peru was the final team to qualify for the World Cup, defeating New Zealand in the interconfederation playoff November 15th to make the world’s biggest tournament for the first time since 1982.

World

Liga MX Playoffs: Monterrey exerts dominance over Atlas to move into semifinals, Club America advances thanks to Agustin Marchesin | Goal.com
Rayados went through easily and secured a 6-2 aggregate victory while America needed heroics from its goalkeeper to advance

AC Milan sack Montella and put Gattuso in charge | Goal.com
AC Milan have confirmed that they have sacked head coach Vincenzo Montella, with Gennaro Gattuso entrusted to lead the Serie A club in his stead. Milan drew 0-0 with Torino on Sunday, leaving the club seventh in the league table, a mammoth 18 points behind leaders Napoli.

James Rodriguez didn't know half-time score vs Gladbach due to concussion - ESPN FC
Bayern Munich playmaker James Rodriguez is recovering from a concussion which left him unaware of the halftime score in Saturday's defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach. The Colombia international, who was substituted at the interval following a collision with Gladbach defender Tony Jantschke, tweeted on Sunday that he was "feeling better."