Portland midfielder Blanco named MLS tourney's top player

Argentine midfielder Sebastian Blanco, who helped the Portland Timbers capture the title, was named on Thursday as the Major League Soccer is Back Player of the Tournament.

The 32-year-old playmaker scored three goals and assisted on five others in the tournament for the Timbers, who defeated Orlando City 2-1 in Tuesday's final.

Blanco won 40.86% of the total voting, 75% from a media panel and 25% from fans ballots, to 37.54% support for Orlando's Nani. Blanco led the media voting while Portugal's Nani topped fan votes. Los Angeles FC's Diego Rossi, the Golden Boot winner from Uruguay with seven goals, was third with Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake of Jamaica fourth.

Blanco scored the game-winning goal in Portland's 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy on July 13, converted a penalty kick in a winning shootout over Cincinnati in a round of 16 knockout match, scored in a 3-1 quarter-final victory over New York City FC and added another match-winner in a 2-1 triumph over Philadelphia in the semi-finals.

In more than three seasons with the Timbers, Blanco has scored 25 goals and set up 33 others.

MLS staged the event, played without spectators in a bubble at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, as a return from a COVID-19 shutdown last March after only two weeks of the regular season.

MLS announced an all-tournament team that included Blanco, striker Jeremy Ebobisse, midfielder Diego Chara and defender Larrys Mabiala from Portland; Blake, defender Mark McKenzie and midfielder Brenden Aaronson from Philadelphia; LAFC striker Rossi and Orlando's Nani and defenders Ruan and Joao Moutinho.

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