Valeri scored twice and would have set up a couple of other goals but for inconsistent finishing from teammates.
PORTLAND – Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri doesn’t have the build nor the disposition of an assassin.
Portland’s media guide lists him at 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, and both stats are probably generous. The Argentine speaks softly and carefully, kind eyes over a carefully manicured beard. He deflects praise toward his teammates.
“It was a good performance, both individually and collectively,” he said by way of describing his dominant attacking display in Sunday’s 3-1 win over the Sounders.
But there was a ruthlessness to the way he tore Seattle apart on Sunday afternoon at Providence Park, a pleasure in mounding salt upon a wounded rival.
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Valeri scored twice and would have set up a couple of other goals but for missed finishes from teammates. His second strike will be a favorite for MLS Goal of the Week, despite Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei’s contention he was trying to play in a cross, not go for a goal.
“He’s probably going to tell you he meant it, but I’m going to say he didn’t,” Frei said.
Rebutted Valeri: “It was a mix. It was a hard ball for the ‘keeper. I knew that the goalie was there, so (Fanendo) Adi maybe could deflect it. I was a little bit lucky but I wanted to put the ball there.”
Valeri departed to a standing ovation in stoppage time.
“He sees things that other players don’t,” Seattle veteran Brad Evans said afterward. “His vision is unlike a lot of players I’ve seen. … He doesn’t have to look to play the pass. It’s innate. ”
The Sounders didn’t do themselves any favors, leaving the midfield wide open.
“I think we gave them too much space within which to play,” Sounders left back Joevin Jones said.
Added coach Sigi Schmid: “We needed to get tighter to (Valeri). You give him that much time and space, he’ll show you that he’s a good player.”
Morris misses chance
Jordan Morris’ scoring chance in the 17th minute will be the missed chance the Sounders look upon with the most regret.
Not trusting his weaker left foot, Morris let Andreas Ivanschitz’s pass run across his body before poking a shot wide of an open net and the right post.
“I don’t care if he uses his left or the outside of his right,” Schmid said afterward. “Nobody asks (Lionel) Messi to use his right foot, do they? It doesn’t matter to me as long as you put the ball in the back of the net.”
Sounders forward Clint Dempsey was named to the final roster for the MLS All-Star Game for the third consecutive season and sixth time in his career.
Dempsey missed Sunday’s loss to the Timbers because of the red card he picked up in the midweek win over FC Dallas. The MLS All-Stars will face off against Arsenal FC on July 28 at San Jose’s Avaya Stadium.