Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
MLS Positional Rankings: KC's Besler is top centerback
by Ridge Mahoney, December 5th, 2012 3:54PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential

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
Michael Bradley: USA prepared 'to tilt the bar in our favor' early against Honduras    
As they train in San Jose for a crucial Hexagonal match against Honduras on Friday, the ...
Next move for Real Salt Lake is the most crucial in a decade    
The history of RSL is one of remarkable stability -- just three head coaches since starting ...
U.S. roster announcement: Bruce Arena's return marked by a singleness of purpose    
Multiply the left-back debate with a few more positions each with several candidates and you'll have ...
Quakes encouraged but not giddy after impressive opener    
Four seasons without playoffs has left the fervent fans in San Jose discouraged, but a ray ...
MLS 1-22: Ranking the teams on the eve of a new season    
Eight different teams have played in the last four MLS Cup finals and last year, 2015 ...
Random thoughts as the MLS season draws near    
The 2017 MLS season starts next Friday, March 3, more than a month earlier than the ...
Walker Zimmerman joins the U.S. centerback pool with solid performance    
Two FC Dallas centerbacks were summoned to the first U.S, camp of 2017 and after Matt ...
Rare USA golazo inspires some hope    
One swallow doesn't make a summer, but the USA delivered something impressive with its goal in ...
Greg Garza, soccer wanderer, finds place to start anew, again    
A long voyage to several continents has led U.S. international Greg Garza to the MLS startup ...
With first Arena game out of the way, U.S. players can re-focus on task at hand    
The message going forward for the U.S, team after it opened 2017 by tying Serbia 0-0 ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives