One Venezuelan pioneer proud of another

As the first Venezuelan to play in MLS, Portland manager Giovanni Savarese said he’s very proud that Atlanta United striker Josef Martinez became the first Venezuelan to be named the league’s MVP.

“First Venezuelan to win MVP is very important,” Savarese said Thursday.

Savarese is trying to figure out how to slow down Martinez ahead of Saturday’s MLS Cup between the two teams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Martinez became not only the single-season scoring leader when he notched 31 goals during the regular season, he has added three more in the playoffs to become the single season combined scoring leader.

Savarese was a scorer when he was selected by New York/New Jersey MetroStars in the ninth round of the inaugural MLS draft in 1996. He scored 41 goals during the regular season, and 44 overall, for the club from 1996-98.