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Valeri expecting to be fit for Portland Timbers season opener

Portland Timbers ace Diego Valeri is expecting to be at full fitness in time for the 2014 Major League Soccer season opener next weekend.

The Argentine midfielder underwent a hernia operation two weeks after the Timbers bowed out of the 2013 MLS playoffs but is on his way back to 100% health.

The 2013 MLS Newcomer of the Year got through just over an hour of Portland's final preseason game against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night and is now looking ahead to the March 8 first kick against Philadelphia Union at Providence Park.

"We will see," Valeri said.

"I'm ready to start. I'm good. This week I will work hard to stay in next weekend for 90 minutes if it's possible, but the important thing is win that game."

Timbers head coach Caleb Porter added: "He got a good solid 60 minutes in and he looked good.

"He's just going to keep getting more fit and more sharp. That's a huge positive."

Valeri joined the Timbers permanently from homeland club Lanus in August after an initial loan. He made 38 appearances in all competitions, scoring 13 goals, and landing himself a spot in the MLS Best XI for 2013.

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