Diego Valeri is on a tear, with goals in six straight games for the Portland Timbers.
That’s the longest scoring streak in Major League Soccer this season, and one short of the league record. And it’s helped propel the Timbers up the standings in the West.
Valeri also has 53 career goals for Portland, a team record across all eras.
Always humble, the Argentine playmaker known as El Maestro credits his team with his latest success.
“It’s a team effort all the time, it’s a team sport,” he said. “If you individually get success, it’s about the team, it’s about the teamwork.”
In his fifth season in Portland, Valeri has endeared himself to soccer fans and non-fans alike. The Timbers’ accessible star is active in the community, known to pop in on rec league games to cheer — and not just for his daughter’s team. He and his family helped paint meeting rooms for foster kids in Beaverton, Oregon, earlier this summer.
“When you come from other places of the world, you always need people to help you adapt and make you feel good,” he said. “Most everybody did that. The whole organization and the club, and the city, helped me and helped my family to adapt. And I will be always very thankful for that.”
Valeri is having arguably his best season with the Timbers, with 16 goals to tie him for the single-season franchise record. Teammate Fanendo Adi reached 16 in the past two seasons.
His 16 goals also tie him with Chicago’s Nemanja Nikolic for second in the league behind NYCFC’s David Villa, who currently has 19.
Valeri, 31, is the 18th player in MLS history — and first for the Timbers — to reach 50 goals and 50 assists.
“It’s an honor. To me, most importantly, the numbers reflect that we have a (good) team. That’s the most important for me,” Valeri said. “And it’s the most important part of the year, so I’m thinking more about that, to be honest, than thinking about numbers. And it made me feel good.”
Valeri scored his latest goal in a 1-1 draw with the rival Sounders on Sunday night for the Timbers’ first point in Seattle since 2013. Portland (11-9-8) has lost just once in its past seven MLS games,…