[MLS AWARDS] The Los Angeles Galaxy's Omar Gonzalez became the youngest player to be named MLS Defender of the Year when he won the 2011 award.
Gonzalez appeared in 29 games this season for the Galaxy, anchoring a defense that allowed just 28 goals in 2011, the fewest conceded by an MLS club this season.
The Galaxy’s goals-against average (0.82) was third best in MLS history -- only Real Salt Lake in 2010 (0.67) and Houston Dynamo in 2007 (0.77) were better. The club’s 17 regular-season shutouts tied the MLS record set by Kansas City in 2000.
Gonzalez, who turned 23 last month, edged out previous winners Eddie Pope, Carlos Bocanegra, Bobby Boswell and Michael Parkhurst as the youngest player to win the award.
He beat out Jamison Olave, the 2010 winner, and Olave's Real Salt Lake teammate, Nat Borchers, for the award. First-year Colombian Carlos Valdes (Philadelphia) was fourth in the voting, and Todd Dunivant, the Galaxy left back, was fifth.
MLS Defender of the Year Winners:
2011: Omar Gonzalez – Los Angeles Galaxy
2010: Jamison Olave – Real Salt Lake
2009: Chad Marshall – Columbus Crew
2008: Chad Marshall – Columbus Crew
2007: Michael Parkhurst – New England Revolution
2006: Bobby Boswell – D.C. United
2005: Jimmy Conrad – Kansas City Wizards
2004: Robin Fraser – Columbus Crew
2003: Carlos Bocanegra – Chicago Fire
2002: Carlos Bocanegra – Chicago Fire
2001: Jeff Agoos – San Jose Earthquakes
2000: Peter Vermes – Kansas City Wizards
1999: Robin Fraser – Los Angeles Galaxy
1998: Lubos Kubik – Chicago Fire
1997: Eddie Pope – D.C. United
1996: John Doyle – San Jose Earthquakes