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ProSoccerTalk’s MLS awards choices: Defender of the Year

Nov 20, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT

We begin to roll out our choices for the league’s top defender, top goalkeeper, top rookie, MVP and more:

Today we look at ProSoccerTalk’s writer’s picks for Major League Soccer’s Defender of the Year:

  • Steve Davis

source:  Jose Goncalves, New England

I had to go to the stats for this one – to one stat, that is: games played. Sporting Kansas City’s Matt Besler is as smooth as they come, tackling and intercepting without fouling (fewer than once per game on averaged), and he reads the game as carefully as a real estate lawyer reads contracts. But he played just 23 times this year for SKC. That’s not his fault … but if we’re talking about biggest impact to a defense, then its Goncalves, who played in all 34 Revolution matches. If not for the unheralded Portuguese arrival – a darn smooth operator in central defense, himself – now way New England makes it to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.


  • Richard Farley

source: Getty ImagesJose Goncalves, New England

Interesting race this year. Besler missed a lot of time with the national team. The LA Galaxy’s Omar Gonzalez had a prolonged dip. In their wake, I saw this as a race between Goncalves, New York’s Jámison Olave and Kansas City’s Aurélien Collin, and I went with the Portuguese. Olave’s infrequent mistakes were a tiebreaker of sorts, whereas I just felt Goncalves was better than Collin, particularly in one-one-one situations.


  • Joe Prince-Wright

source:  Matt Besler, Sporting Kansas City

Another incredible season for Besler as he marches on with his hometown Sporting Kansas City squad. The American defender has also had a breakout season on the international stage and should be a clear starter for the United States when the first game of the World Cup rolls around this summer. From Notre Dame stud to MLS star and now a USMNT veteran in the making, it’s been an incredible rise for the soft spoken center back. His pace, reading of the game and focus has seen him rise to the top in KC. I suspect the best is still to come.

ProSoccerTalk’s choices for MLS awards

  • Wednesday: Defender of the Year
  • Thursday: Goalkeeper of the Year
  • Friday: Rookie of the Year
  • Monday, Nov. 25: Coach of the Year
  • Tuesday, Nov. 26: MLS Most Valuable Player
  • Wednesday, Nov. 27: MLS Best XI
  1. danielofthedale - Nov 20, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    I agree with Goncalves. He was the rock of that back like and during the early and middle part of the season when the Revs where not scoring many goals that back like keep them in the hunt.

    Second would be Klute from Colorado. Was the best outside back by a wide margin. Dearly got caught out of position and was very good one on one. Plus he was a big factor in the Rapids offensive.

    • mikeevergreen - Nov 21, 2013 at 10:42 AM

      If the USA keeps having problems on the RB – watch for Klute to get called up. Jurgen is quite tired of the current results.

      • danielofthedale - Nov 21, 2013 at 10:49 PM

        I agree with your over all point, but Chris is a LB and will probably be getting a good look at LB after the world Cup if he keeps Fabian Johnson in the Midfield.

      • joeyt360 - Nov 27, 2013 at 4:44 PM

        I thought I heard Klute was a righty who just plays on the left because he can.

  2. bobinkc - Nov 20, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Sorry, guys, but I agree with Joe this time. It really isn’t fair to penalize Besler for being called up for USMNT duty. You have to watch every SKC game to get a real feel for what his presence brings to that back line. He is smooth, easy, graceful, and highly intelligent in his play. He is also the only backliner that can keep Collin under control. Besler is one of the major team leaders for SKC.

  3. greej1938l - Nov 20, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    No love for Will Johnson

    • lunasceiling - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:10 PM

      Will’s a holding mid, greej1938I.

      • lunasceiling - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:12 PM

        Although now I notice that they don’t have separate awards for mids and forwards. Odd…

      • mlsconvert88888 - Nov 20, 2013 at 5:14 PM

        Well really the MVP award is essentially the best forward award. Guys like Alonzo, Will Johnson, Beckerman/Morales, etc. are arguably very valuable to their team, but you almost never hear anyone mention them in the MVP conversation.

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