Kendall Waston rebounded from a rough 2016 to remind everyone how good he was the previous two seasons. He hit a career best of four goals and dominated defensively
with 104 headed clearances (tops in the league) and team-best numbers in interceptions (50) and blocks (26).
Veteran Drew Moor anchored the middle of TFC’s basic three-man back line, from which he completed 86.7 percent of his passes. He committed only 15 fouls and picked up just one caution. After losing 2016 MLS Cup, Moor stepped onto the stage at BMO Field wearing a winners’ medal.
Most of the offseason moves made by the Dynamo worked out well and none more so than Adolfo Machado. The Panamanian international missed just one game and played every minute of the other 38, including five playoff matches. His passing (78 percent) wasn’t stellar but he churned out solid averages in tackles (2.1), interceptions (2.5), and clearances (5.6) per game.
Nearly two years ago, the Fire used TAM to sign Johan Kappelhof, who in 2017 matched his games played (33) from 2016 while notching his first four MLS assists. He finished among the league leaders in interceptions (2.9 per game) and racked up a pass-completion percentage of 85.
The rookie class of 2017 included only a few rock-solid starters, and taking his place in that select group was Englishman Jack Elliott. The 77th overall SuperDraft pick, Elliott started 29 of his 30 games and in his first pro season averaged 1.9 tackles, 1.5 interceptions and five clearances per game.
Seattle fell short of repeating its 2016 MLS Cup triumph and the 2017 season also wasn’t quite as good for Ramon Torres, who still ranked among the league leaders with 2.1 aerials won per game. A bad season for Montreal shrouded a decent performance by Victor Cabrera, whose averages of 3.2 tackles and 3.1 interceptions per game were outstanding. He also completed 82 percent of his passes.
At 35, Victor Bernardez can still deal with the demands of MLS. His averages of tackles (2.1), interceptions (2.3) and clearances (4.9) were solid as was a pass-completion percentage of 80.8. One of the coolest and smartest defenders in MLS, Michael Parkhurst brought stability to Atlanta United's fledging season and he also completed 85.8 percent of his passes.