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
MLS Positional Rankings: KC's Besler is top centerback
by Ridge Mahoney, December 5th, 2012 3:54PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  kansas city wizards, mls

MOST COMMENTED

By Ridge Mahoney

The expansion of international slots has encouraged teams to seek out foreign players to play in the back as well as in midfield and up front, but Americans continue to fill out the top tier.

On top in this year’s rankings is Sporting Kansas City fourth-year centerback Matt Besler, who was taken with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2009 SuperDraft and has been a starter just about since day one.

Any coach will tell you the centerback pairing is among a team’s most vital elements, and anchored by Besler and Aurelien Collin most of the time, SKC posted a league-best 27 goals allowed, six fewer than any other team, and 15 shutouts. When Collin was briefly replaced by Lawrence Olum late in the season, SKC and Besler stayed stingy.

In this ranking, Galaxy centerback Omar Gonzalez is downgraded for so few games played (14) during the regular season. The rankings are based on statistics, consistency of play, value for salary, contribution to team performance, and other factors.

SA's Top 15 MLS 2012 Centerbacks
1. Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City)
2. Victor Bernardez (San Jose)
3. Jeff Parke (Seattle)
4. Aurelien Collin (SKC)
5. Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake)
6. Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles)
7. Arne Freidrich (Chicago)
8. Bobby Boswell (Houston)
9. Jay DeMerit (Vancouver)
10. Austin Berry (Chicago)
11. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Seattle)
12. George John (FC Dallas)
13. Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake)
14. Dejan Jakovic (D.C. United)
15. Carlos Valdes (Philadelphia)

Honduran international Victor Bernardez came back from a sprained MCL suffered in April to dominate games with his strength and power; he also scored two goals, with a superb volley and wicked free kick. Jeff Parke played the most minutes of any defender the Sounders finished with the second-fewest goals allowed (33). Collin contributed a strong season despite briefly losing his slot alongside Besler and fouling a lot (57). Nat Borchers needed time to return from offseason surgery yet started all 26 of his appearances and committed just 16 fouls.

Gonzalez returned in July from an ACL tear and accelerated the Galaxy’s revival from bad starter to champion finisher. Arne Freidrich’s poise and vision stabilized the Fire defense though he only played two-thirds of the games. Bobby Boswell picked up his game in the second half of the season as the Dynamo reached its second straight MLS Cup. A very good season for Jay DeMerit deteriorated somewhat in the final weeks. Austin Berry took Rookie of the Year honors via a string of tough yet heady displays.

Injuries and fitness issues limited Jhon Kennedy Hurtado to 22 games, most of which were solid if not excellent. George John was victimized more often than in past seasons yet FCD has retained him on a new contract. Jamison Olave’s inconsistent performances, more frequent than in the past, prompted RSL to trade him. Dejan Jakovic isn’t a very strong tackler yet dealt better this year with the rugged nature of MLS and is above-par on the ball. In a tumultuous Philly season Carlos Valdes took over as team captain and fought through burnout once called up by Colombia.



2 comments
  1. Jeff Mccullough
    commented on: December 5, 2012 at 7:27 p.m.
    No Chad Marshall? No way. Except for Eddie Gaven this series has not had a single Crew player. How did they finish above .500 and just miss the playoffs if they had only 1 player in the top 10 in their position in the league? It sure isn't because we have a good coach(because we don't). I hate this anti-Crew bias.
  1. John Lakers
    commented on: December 6, 2012 at 6:27 a.m.
    Omar Gonzalez is and has been the best CB in MLS for the last 2 seasons. He had a dominating MVP performance in the MLS Cup Final against Houston, he will probably get offers from clubs in the EPL and Bundesliga in the next couple of weeks.

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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
Jozy shows he's still the man up front    
U.S. soccer fans have a love-hate relationship with most of their big stars. For every fan ...
Lee Nguyen on how he parlayed longer offseason into national team success    
Revs attacker Lee Nguyen got his first U.S. start against Iceland last Sunday and turned in ...
Revs' Heaps relishes competition and preaches consistency    
Aside from the apparent departure of Jermaine Jones, not a lot has changed on the New ...
USA-Canada match underscores Olympic issues for Klinsmann    
A games against Canada Friday may be the last opportunity for USA coaches Jurgen Klinsmann and ...
Christian Pulisic, 'the American Jewel,' must be protected    
I can think of 10 reasons we should be excited about Christian Pulisic. Those are each ...
Paths of Miazga and Cropper cross with both at crucial points    
An FA Cup match this weekend between MK Dons and Chelsea is a tussle between a ...
Return of Movsisyan reconnects Real Salt Lake with its rise to success    
After five years in Europe, striker Yura Movsisyan has come back to Real Salt Lake on ...
Coaches-in-training ready to whip LA Galaxy locker room into shape    
With three MLS titles in five seasons with the LA Galaxy and a scoring rate that ...
For once, some healthy signs are coming out of Toronto    
A flurry of offseason moves has strengthened Toronto FC after it conceded as many goals as ...
Clint Dempsey on Jordan Morris, moving abroad and his national team future    
Perhaps no player on the Seattle Sounders knows better what Jordan Morris was facing in deciding ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives