Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Lots of competition to top defender award
by Ridge Mahoney, July 29th, 2010 8:18PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  colorado rapids, columbus crew, los angeles galaxy, mls

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS] The solid play of Chad Marshall has earned him the MLS Defender of the Year Award the past two seasons; the Crew All-Star has a lot of competition this year with many teams boasting excellent defensive records. Here's Soccer America's midseason look at the top MLS defenders ...

SA's top five defenders:
1. Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake)
2. Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles)
3. Chad Marshall (Columbus)
4. Drew Moor (Colorado)
5. Ugo Ihemelu (FC Dallas)

Unless somebody goes on a goalscoring tear or starts racking up assists, voting for the 2010 MLS Defender of the Year Award should be squeaky close. If that seems contradictory, to use offensive stats to separate defensive contenders, in any case a lot of close scrutiny will be required of each candidate, game by game, in the next three months.

A lot of defenders are playing very well as the defensive records show. Sure, last year’s Rookie of the Year Omar Gonzalez is a key member of the Galaxy that has conceded a microscopic 0.55 goals per game, but is central partner Gregg Berhalter any less responsible? And what of left back Todd Dunivant, the only guy to have played every minute?

Columbus, Real Salt Lake, and FC Dallas are also conceding less than a goal per game, and another, Colorado, is right there with 16 goals allowed in 16 games. The Rapids didn’t do much defending last year, but in 2010, with Marvell Wynne added to the mix, and a strong core of Julien Baudet and Drew Moor, Colorado is not an easy nut to crack.

Marshall, Gonzalez, and RSL’s Jamison Olave were named to the All-Star team, along with Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Wilman Conde (Chicago) and Kevin Alston (New England). The first three are the familiar names attached to the glamour teams – at least in terms of success – yet not deemed All-Star worthy, but anchoring FCD’s defensive improvement are center backs Ugo Ihemelu and George John. Dallas has conceded the fewest shots per game, which is a stat worth noting. And Jair Benitez is one of the league’s best left backs.

The lower goalscoring totals are not just a function of tighter back lines and sharper goalkeeping. More teams are stronger defensively in central midfield, with Joel Lindpere (New York), Jeff Larentowicz (Colorado), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas) and Chris Birchall (Los Angeles) among the guys who are tough to beat. Now that Kyle Beckerman is back in action, RSL might be even tougher to score against.

Of the top candidates, Olave leads the goalscoring totals with three, but that’s only as many scored by Quakes rookie defender Ike Opara. (Might he get some votes?) In the assist race, Pearce leads with five. If a defender can contribute offensively, that’s great, but those back-liners who snuff opportunities and rarely foul are the most important ones.



0 comments
  1. Jeff Gingold
    commented on: July 30, 2010 at 12:42 p.m.
    Leo Gonzalez (Seattle) deserves serious consideration. He's a classic attacking defender. Although he has only one goal, his movement on and off the ball is a key to the Sounders' success (to the extent they have experienced success up until recently), and perhaps more significantly, to keeping them in matches. Gonzalez shuts down opponents on the left side.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: July 30, 2010 at 1:07 p.m.
    Putting Marshall in the best category of defenders is a joke...the guy is physical, but after that, he brings nothing to the table and his cross field passes are 90% off the mark...put a little presuure on him and the deer-in-headlights takes over and he bombs the ball upfield to noman's land.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: July 30, 2010 at 1:19 p.m.
    Buenos dias! Once again, to I w Nowozeniuk, SPOT ON re; Marshall. Wasn't he ALSO one of the defenders responsible in giving up the ball on Man U's first goal and didn't mark tightly on the second? But, here we go again, with Ridge Mahoney's crystal ball which only makes me wonder and ask if he's been watching Marshall in every game he's played? Gee, willikers, he did the same thing with Altidore, and Bradley Jr, during the WC! I'd pick Ugo and Omar one and two, and Marshall at nr. 10!


Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Guardiola: Bayern Munich deserved to win    
[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Wednesday] Off to a relatively quiet start to its league season, German champion ...
Impact edges Red Bulls to take command    
[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Wednesday] In a Concacaf matchup of MLS teams, Montreal went with its stars, ...
Lichaj's Nottingham Forest stays on top    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] Eric Lichaj, one of the few available European-based U.S. internationals not called into the ...
Women take to turf for final qualifying warmup    
[USA-MEXICO] With the threat of U.S. women's national team players to sue FIFA over the issue ...
Soccer America Men's Top 25 Scoreboard    
[ROUNDUP: Midweek] In 2013, North Carolina came up against William & Mary as the No. 1 ...
Soccer America Women's Top 25 Scoreboard    
[ROUNDUP: Midweek] No. 2 Virginia improved to 8-0-0 with a 5-0 victory over Old Dominion. The ...
A neat free-kick goal from Down Under     
[VIDEO PICK: Golazo] Choreographed free kicks usually don't work out better than a simple shot on ...
Charlotte gains Independence as Eagles' successor    
[USL PRO] The Charlotte Independence will take the place of the Charlotte Eagles in USL PRO ...
What They're Saying: Clint Dempsey    
"We talked about trying to win the U.S. Open Cup, Supporters' Shield and MLS Cup. This ...
D.C.'s Espindola shows off stuff, Timbers refuse to wilt    
[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Tuesday] D.C. United all but clinched a berth in the quarterfinals of the ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives