With the 2018 season in the rearview mirror, the Portland Timbers aren’t done yet. Just recently they announced the club awards for a season that saw the Timbers reach MLS Cup. A lot of these shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
Here are the winners:
Players’ Player of the Year; Supporters’ Player of the Year – Sebastián Blanco
Midfielder Sebastián Blanco was named the Players’ Player of the Year and Supporters’ Player of the Year for the 2018 campaign. In his second season with the Timbers, Blanco finished the regular season with career highs in goals (10) and assists (11), appearing in 31 games (29 starts). In addition, he was named MLS Player of the Week for Week 28 and 32. In the MLS Cup Playoffs, Blanco started and played in all six matches, tallying three goals.
Golden Boot – Diego Valeri, Sebastián Blanco
Midfielder Diego Valeri and Blanco were both awarded the Golden Boot as the club’s joint leading goal-scorers during the regular season with 10 goals each. Blanco and Valeri became the fourth set of teammates since 2010 and the eighth set of teammates in MLS history to each have double-digit goals and assists in the same season. Blanco’s 10 goals were a career high with Portland, while Valeri recorded double-digit goals for the fifth time in his six seasons with the Timbers. Additionally, Valeri became the first Timbers player across all eras (since 1975) to record double-digit goals in five seasons.
Unsung Hero – Larrys Mabiala
Playing in his second season with Portland, defender Larrys Mabiala was named Unsung Hero, earning this award for the first time. Mabiala played in 31 matches during the regular season, making 31 starts, which was tied for the most on the team in 2018. Recording five goals and one assist during the regular season, Mabiala ranked tied for the most goals by a defender in MLS in 2018. In addition, Mabiala, who ranked second on the team in minutes played during the regular season, started and played in four matches during the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Play of the Year – Sebastián Blanco’s long-range strike against Sporting Kansas City in Western Conference Championship
The 2018 Timbers’ Play of the Year was awarded to Blanco for his long-range strike in the Timbers’ 3-2 win against Sporting Kansas City in the second leg of the Western Conference Championship on Nov. 29. His third goal of the 2018 postseason, Blanco’s finish was the first of three goals from Portland in the second half of the match that helped propel the Timbers to their second MLS Cup appearance in four seasons, with the midfielder delivering a dipping, long-range effort from the far left wing into the top, right corner of the goal in the 52nd minute.
Defender of the Year – Diego Chara
In his eighth season with the club, midfielder Diego Chara was named the team’s Defender of the Year for a third consecutive season. In 2018, Chara appeared in 27 matches (26 starts), tallying two goals. On June 6, Chara made his 215th regular-season appearance in MLS to become the club’s all-time career leader in matches played across all eras (since 1975). In the MLS Cup Playoffs, Chara started and played in all six matches, recording one assist. During his career with Portland, Chara has appeared in 232 matches (230 starts), recording nine goals and 17 assists.
Up-and-Coming Player of the Year – Jeremy Ebobisse
Forward Jeremy Ebobisse was named Timbers Up-and-Coming Player of the Year for a second consecutive season. In his second season with Portland, Ebobisse appeared in nine matches (5 starts) during the regular season, tallying two goals and two assists. In the postseason, Ebobisse started and played in all six matches for the Timbers, recording his first career MLS playoff goal in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals against Seattle Sounders FC on Nov. 4 and logging an assist in the Knockout Round against FC Dallas on Oct. 31.
Community MVP – Zarek Valentin
Becoming the first player to receive this honor for a second time, defender Zarek Valentin was named as the team’s Community MVP for his contributions off the field in 2018. Valentin brought laughter to pediatric patients at local children’s hospitals and took an active role in embracing a young boy from Iraq who had received treatment in Oregon 10 years ago after losing his left leg, on his return to Portland. Valentin helped fix up new homes with Willamette West Habitat for Humanity during Stand Together Week and participated in the annual Rose City Road Trip with Providence Health & Services. In addition, he spearheaded the #RibbonZ campaign to support the New Avenues for Youth Sexual & Gender Minority Youth Resource Center.
Timbers Academy Player of the Year (2017-18) – Carlos Anguiano
Thorns FC Academy Player of the Year (2017-18) – Hailey Coll
Timbers ODP Boys Coach of the Year – Pete Peterson
Timbers ODP Boys Player of the Year – Joshua Hamlett
Thorns FC ODP Girls Coach of the Year – Michael Reggiani
Thorns FC ODP Girls Player of the Year – Sahve Beller
Timbers/Thorns FC Camp Coaches of the Year – Max von Rabenau, Andrea Hodge