My Pick for 2018 MLS Defensiv
Its award time once again for Major League Soccer and once again one of the most interestingly voted award comes around to the forefront, the MLS Defender of the Year. This award is either an extremely clear winner or there’s 5 guys that can legitimately win it. When I was looking at potential candidates I created a short list of 5 players from the top 3 defenses in the league. That list consisted of Chad Marshall, Kim Kee-Hee, Aaron Long, Michael Parkhurst, and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez. The Red Bulls, Sounders, and Atlatna United are all currently at a point of not allowing more than 40 goals this season (2 games left). But when you make lists, you need to cut down names to make decisions so two guys have to go. Right away I had to cut Kim Kee-Hee and Michael Parkhurst, nothing against the two but here’s why. Kim Kee-Hee played the least amount of games of these five at 26 while also adding nothing offensively. For Parky, he has played a decent amount of games (31) and has been a leader for the Atlanta backline, BUT he has played very similar to Chad Marshall who has added an offensive element to his game. So, now we are down to the top 3: Chad Marshall, Aaron Long, and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez. Lets talk through each of these guys resumes and see where we can go. First, lets start with Marshall, the big homie for Seattle. He has been a staple and a rock on the backline for Seattle now years now. Marshall has once again kicked away father time and has had a stellar season being part of a Seattle backline that has only allowed 33 goals. He has also added 3 goals and 1 assist to his season. His negatives? He has only played 27 games which is a decent hit against him compared to the other two candidates. Next, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez. Pirez is skillfully the best defender on Atlanta as well as being one of the better passers as well. Pirez has played in 30 games this season while being part of a defense that has only allowed 39 goals. Pirez has added a goal and 2 assists on the season which helps his case. His negative? With similar numbers and skill defensively, the offensive numbers and team goals allowed play a factor. Pirez has been on a team that has allowed 6 more goals than both Seattle and NYRB. Pirez also doesn’t have the offensive numbers that compare to the other two. Finally, we have Aaron Long. Long has been a part of a Red Bull team that has only allowed 33 goals this season. Long, has also played in 32 games this season adding a total of 3 goals and 2 assists. His negative? I… can’t find any against him. Long is my pick for the 2018 MLS Defensive Player of the Year and a guy who I think can follow in the path of Matt Miazga in Europe.