Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
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
Dunivant's solid play in title year earns top spot
by Ridge Mahoney, December 13th, 2011 11:24PM

TAGS:  mls


[BEST OF MLS 2011: Left backs] In what is often the bargain basement among MLS positions, Todd Dunivant's consistent performances played a vital role in the Galaxy's Supporters' Shield/MLS Cup-winning season.

SA's Top 10 Left Backs
1. Todd Dunivant (Los Angeles)
2. Jair Benitez (FC Dallas)
3. Chris Wingert (Real Salt Lake)
4 Seth Sinovic (Sporting Kansas City)
5. Gonzalo Segares (Chicago)
6. Ante Jazic (Chivas USA)
7. Drew Moor (Colorado)
8. Corey Ashe (Houston)
9. Josh Gardner (Columbus)
10. Gabriel Farfan (Philadelphia)

As the quality of play in MLS gradually improves, the quality of left backs seems to lag behind. There are many solid players but very few capable of exceptional play.

Since teams rarely spend much money in this position, coaches normally look for a defensively capable player who can shut down the flank, limit service into the goalmouth, and squeeze space. Offensive contributions, for the most part, are a bonus.

Fortunately for the Galaxy, one of their most reliable contributors to a championship season stayed healthy. Dunivant started in all 32 of his appearances and seldom left his corner exposed while also getting forward to set up chances with his crosses and the occasional long throw-in. The last time he helped the Galaxy win a league title, he was traded the following season (2005/2006). His selection to the Best XI in 2011 indicates he’ll probably stick around this time.

Benitez is one of the few outside backs in MLS blessed with searing pace and the bravado to use it in the attack. He’s also a tenacious tracker and tackler but his short fuse tends to cause foolish fouls and careless cautions. Wingert is the reliable, traditional stay-at-home type, yet a good distributor as well. Sinovic, cast off by New England, solidified that corner for SKC as it finished strongly to win the Eastern Conference. Segares started the season poorly before regaining his place among the league’s elite at this demanding position, where one-v-one defending plus strength in the air repelling crosses to the back post are essential.

Jazic is an above-average defender who regularly rings up a fair number of assists (seven in 2011).  Moor, a centerback during the Rapids’ 2010 run to the title, shifted to the outside slot he’d occasionally played in past seasons. Ashe made the transformation from left mid to left back reasonably well while retaining his attacking instincts. Gardner, another converted midfielder, reeled off a string of commendable games in his first season back in MLS (Galaxy 2004-6) after a stints with Seattle and Carolina in the USL. (He went to Montreal in the Expansion Draft.) Farfan locked down the starting job during the second half of the season by defending resolutely and using his touches wisely.

No comments yet.

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



Recent Soccer America Daily
Lloyd and Ellis are nominees for FIFA awards    
Carli Lloyd, whose hat trick led the USA to a 5-2 win over Japan in the ...
Waldrum (still without a contract) returns to T&T women    
When Trinidad & Tobago faces the USA in the first of two friendlies Sunday in Honolulu, ...
What They're Saying: Orlando City owner Flavio Augusto da Silva    
"Five years ago, [MLS] paid to [be on television]. In 2010, it was paid $68 million, ...
New U-17 cycle begins on cautionary note    
In past years, the Nike International Friendlies, the annual year-end tournament for the age group that ...
Report: Miami Beckham United moves on to fourth option    
David Beckham's group seeking a home for an MLS club has its maps of Miami out ...
Close call can't erase Red Bulls' sense of accomplishment    
A year that started in controversy and uproar ended with another playoff setback, but during 2015 ...
What They're Saying: Dax McCarty    
"The first thing I want to do is to apologize to our fans. They've been fantastic ...
Video Pick: Dortmund pals perform synchronized warm-up    
Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Bundesliga's leading scorer, and Marco Reus' balletic warmup (dubbed a "Bromance ...
Video Pick: Barcelona delivers a Messi & Neymar montage    
Barcelona put together a one-minute video featuring the feats of its two FIFA Ballon d'Or 2015 ...
MLS: RSL's Schuler, Gil and Silva are out of contract    
Real Salt Lake re-signed defender Jamison Olave and exercised the 2016 contract options on seven players, ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives