Timbers Bolster Midfield While MLS Battles Supporters

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Portlands newest midfielder, Diego Valeri. Will he lead the Timbers to a trademarked Cascadia Cup?
  • MLS
  • Portland's newest midfielder, Diego Valeri. Will he lead the Timbers to a trademarked Cascadia Cup?

If you manage to get Timbers, Sounders and Whitecaps supporters to agree, you must be doing something right. Or, y'know, something terribly wrong.

On the same day the Timbers announced a major addition to their midfield, a slow-boiling disagreement between Major League Soccer and the folks who created the Cascadia Cup finally runneth over.

Members of Timbers Army, Seattle's Emerald City Supporters and the Vancouver Southsiders—who collectively created the Cup in 2004 to commemorate the top team in the Northwest each year—recently joined forces to buck an attempt by MLS to trademark "Cascadia Cup." As Prost Amerika reported on Sunday, the league attempted to register the term in Canada, raising the ire of fans who'd dreamed up the trophy before their teams' MLS eras even kicked off—when all three clubs played in the United Soccer League.

Today the TA, ECS and Southsiders' new joint entity—the Cascadia Cup Council—announced they'd filed a trademark registration application of their own here in the States.

"The three supporters groups have jointly used the Cascadia Cup mark for many years and have been the rightful owners of the mark," said a CCC press release. "Not only does the Cascadia Cup Council believe they rightfully own the trademark to Cascadia Cup but they also are of the belief they are the appropriate entity to protect the mark from third parties that are unaffiliated with the supporters groups in the Pacific Northwest."

MLS responded, saying it understands supporters' concerns and would meet with them in the near future. They insisted their trademark try was merely meant to put the league "in a position to protect the brand from exploitation by parties unaffiliated with the League and its supporters."

However that all shakes out, the Timbers' Cascadia Cup hopes for 2013 were certainly boosted today by the official addition of playmaking Designated Player Diego Valeri. (Yup, that's my segue) The 26-year-old attacking midfielder comes to Portland on loan from top-flight Argentinian side Club Atletico Lanus, where he's played nine seasons. Valeri has also picked up three Argentinian national team caps and played professionally in Portugal and Spain.

We expect he will be one of the better playmakers in the league," said Timbers coach Caleb Porter. "But more importantly Diego fits our identity and his play should boost production to help the club win games."

In a Q&A posted on the Timbers' web site, Valeri had nice things to say about his new home:

What are your initial impressions of Portland as a city?
DV: Amazing. So beautiful. Today, I had my physical exams and we traveled all around the city. It is amazing. All the forests! It’s beautiful.

More on Valeri after the jump.

From the Timbers:

PORTLAND—The Portland Timbers today announced that the club has acquired Argentine midfielder Diego Valeri as a Designated Player, and he will join Portland on loan from Argentine first-division side Club Atletico Lanus. He will be added to the Timbers’ roster pending the receipt of his P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC). Per league and club policy, terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Valeri, 26, has played nine seasons with LanÚs (2003-09; 2011-12), featuring in 158 matches and recording 25 goals in Argentina’s Primera Division, and recently served as the club’s captain. He helped LanÚs to its first Primera Division title in 2007. Additionally, he spent one season with FC Porto of Portugal in 2009-10 and also had a loan spell with Spain’s UD AlmerÍa during the 2010-11 La Liga campaign. Valeri has three caps with the Argentina National Team.

“Valeri is a tremendous acquisition and his desire to join the Portland Timbers was an integral part in getting him on loan,” said Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson. “At his age and with his ability, we expect to be in a position to purchase this player and make him a permanent fixture in Portland.”

"Diego Valeri is certainly a tremendous addition to the Timbers and will bring quality and creativity to our attack,” said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers.

Since returning to LanÚs from AlmerÍa in 2011, Valeri tallied 13 goals in 62 league games over the last three Primera DivisiÓn seasons and led the club to a second-place finish in the 2011-12 Clausura tournament. He also played in eight games and scored a goal during the 2012 Copa Libertadores, helping the club reach the Round of 16 – its best finish in the tournament.

“I have been responsible for bringing approximately 70 players to the league and without doubt Diego Valeri is one of the best players I have placed in MLS,” said Alejandro Taraciuk, president of FÚtbol One.

A native of LanÚs, Argentina, Valeri made his debut with the Argentina National Team on March 16, 2011, in a 4-1 win over Venezuela, and appeared in two other friendlies for Argentina in 2011.

“I am very happy and this, for me, is a beautiful opportunity,” Valeri said. “I always wanted to play in MLS. I’m grateful that the Portland Timbers have given me this chance.”

Coming up through the development system of LanÚs, Valeri made his professional debut with his hometown club at the age of 18 on Sept. 27, 2003. He had a breakout 2007-08 season, recording eight goals in 26 matches as LanÚs finished the Apertura tournament in first place with a record of 11-3-5 (38pts). With FC Porto during the 2009-10 season, Valeri appeared in 12 Portuguese La Liga matches, contributing to a third-place finish in the league standings. He also played in two 2009-10 UEFA Champions League fixtures as FC Porto reached the tournament’s Round of 16. Valeri played nine matches in Spain’s top flight with AlmerÍa while on loan during the 2010-11 season.

Valeri has competed in prestigious South American club tournaments the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana a combined five times. Twice Valeri has helped LanÚs reach the Round of 16 in the Copa Libertadores (2008, 2012) and aided in a quarterfinal appearance in the 2006 Copa Sudamericana. Valeri will occupy an international slot on the Timbers roster.

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